Taking financial responsibility is the law in California

2020-09-02T05:48:49+00:00April 30th, 2015|

Every day, Orange County residents get in their cars and SUVs and drive to work or to wherever it is they need to go at any given time. People rely on their automobiles, to the point where they are more of a necessity than a luxury. Despite the significant role that automobiles play in many people’s lives, it is easy to forget about the responsibilities that go along with owning and driving a car.

Insurance, for example, is one topic that some Orange County car owners may not know much about. Under California law, every vehicle owner and driver must carry written proof that they have financial responsibility for property damage or bodily injury that they may cause in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Drivers can abide by this law by posting $35,000 in cash or a surety bond at the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, the vast majority of drivers do not go this route; they instead carry an insurance policy.

Assuming that the driver chooses to accept financial responsibility by getting an insurance policy, the person must make sure that their policy meets certain minimum requirements. In California, $15,000 is the minimum amount of liability coverage that the driver must have for death or injury to a single person in case of an accident. Likewise, $30,000 is the minimum coverage for injury or death to more than one person in a single accident.

In addition to the minimum coverage for death or injury, a driver’s insurance policy must also include at least $5,000 in property damage coverage.

While all drivers must carry at least the minimum coverage, those minimum amounts may not be near enough to take care of the expenses related to a car accident. If a driver’s negligence leads to an accident, that driver will be legally responsible for the damages to other people. Medical expenses alone could easily eclipse the $15,000 or $30,000 insurance threshold. Moreover, even a minor accident can result in more than $5,000 in property damage.

California law requires all drivers to take financial responsibility for their actions while on the roadways. Every driver should consider whether they have adequate coverage to meet these responsibilities if an accident were to occur.

Source: The State Bar of California, “What Should I Do If I Have an Auto Accident?,” Accessed on April 21, 2015

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