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California Car Insurance Quotes

Driving on the Golden Gate Bridge
California's history stretches back to the Gold Rush Days of the 1840s. The state includes mountain ranges, deserts and beaches all within a day's drive. The entertainment industry is one of the largest draws for the southern areas of California, while the north is home to some of the most forward thinking technology business in the United States.

California is the eighth-largest economy on earth and it attracts thousands of hopefuls looking for the California dream. If you're moving to California, you'll need to get some necessities sorted out before you settle in and begin to live your dream, such as your car insurance.

Car insurance rates in California vary widely depending on what area of the state you reside. Rates vary by company too. Never pay more than you have to when it's so easy to check quotes and compare car insurance companies. Start by knowing your state minimum insurance requirements, outlined below. Then look at your insurance options with several insurance companies and balance your choice based on customer service and the best car insurance rates.

Mandatory Insurance coverage in California

- Bodily Injury Insurance Minimums

  • $15,000 per person injured in any one accident
  • $30,000 for all persons injured in any one accident

- Property Damage Insurance Minimums

  • $5,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident

Optional Insurance Coverage

- Uninsured Motorist (UM) / Underinsured Motorist (UIM)

  • UM and UIM must be purchased together. Insurance companies do not have to provide coverage that exceeds $30,000 per person, or $60,000 overall. The coverage must be equal to or more than the state required bodily injury coverage.

To find out how much your California car insurance will cost, simply enter your zip code into the box.

Enter Your Zip Code To Compare Rates:

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Getting Your California Driver's License

If you plan to stay, you will need to get your driver's license. You have ten days to get your California driver's license once you become a resident. That means voting, paying resident college tuition, filing a homeowner's property tax exemption or any other benefit only offered to California residents.

California law gives you a wide window of opportunity for keeping your out of state license. As long as you are just visiting, California will let you keep driving under your out-of-state license as long as it is still valid. This is one of the most generous licensing laws in the country.

To get your California license, it is best to call ahead for an appointment. You'll get faster service and have a chance to confirm ahead of time what documents you need to bring. You will need to:

- Fill out and submit a complete (original) form DL 44 application
- Give your thumbprint
- Have your picture taken
- Give your social security number.
- Present additional identification if your name differs from your birth certificate
- Pass a vision exam
- Pass a traffic laws and sign test.
- Pay the application fee

For those who have had a name change, you can provide a marriage certificate, dissolution of marriage, certificate of adoption or other name change document to prove your current name.

The written test has 36 questions. You can take several practice tests at, along with a Driving Knowledge Tutorial. Passing your written test should be easy. You can even ask a DMV employee to show you which page the correct answer is on if you miss a question. If you already have an out of state driver's license, the driving portion of the test is usually waived.

Registering Your Car in California

The time limits that apply to getting a California registration are a different from licensing. While the law gives you a little more time to register your car, 20 days from establishing residency, the residency requirements are a little stricter than with licensing. They include the same residency rules that apply to licensing, plus accepting a job in California, renting or leasing a residence in California, or any action that suggests you intend to settle there permanently such as getting a California driver's license, registering to vote or enrolling your kids in a California school.

California requires you to get a duplicate title from your prior state if it was lost, stolen or destroyed. You should still apply for your California registration even while you wait for the duplicate to arrive from your previous state. Otherwise, you might incur late registration penalties.

Registration fees vary from county to county and can depend on the vehicle you are registering. The easiest way to estimate the expense is to visit the online Vehicle Registration Fee Calculator at

California Emissions Standards

You need not worry if your car does not meet California's strict emissions standards, as long as you can prove your vehicle was properly registered in your prior state of residence. California calls cars that do not meet its environmental standards, "49-State" vehicles.

When you replace the vehicle, you will need to purchase a vehicle that does meet California emissions laws, unless the car was obtained in a divorce, legal separation or inheritance. You may also replace your car with a 49-State vehicle if you bought it to replace your California registered vehicle that was stolen, destroyed or otherwise made inoperable while you were using the car out of state.

Insurance Required in California

Like many states, California has financial responsibility laws that require you carry insurance on your car. California insurance companies report electronically to the DMV when you make changes to your car insurance. If the company from which you buy insurance does not report electronically, you must submit paper evidence of insurance within 30 days of registering your car.

The thirty-day period lets you go to the DMV and get your registration first, and then go to the insurance agent for a policy. Or you can go online and buy a policy there. Just be sure to get three quotes so you get the best price. You can check insurance prices in your area quickly and easily by entering your zip code in the box at the top of this page. Just be sure you are driving a fully insured car all the while!

The California financial responsibility laws require you carry Liability coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. You must also carry $5,000 Property Damage coverage. The state assists some individuals who cannot afford Liability insurance through the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program.

Registration, Insurance and Registration Suspension

If your policy is cancelled and you do not replace the policy within 45 days, the department will automatically suspend your vehicle registration. The department will also suspend the registration if you do not show proof of insurance within 30 days of the initial registration or transfer of ownership. This does not mean you have a grace period. If you are caught driving without insurance, you'll have to get insurance and then appear in court to present proof. You'll also be charged a fine.

California drivers must have evidence of insurance in the car at all times and show it when a law enforcement or peace officer requests it. You must also show proof of insurance when you renew the car's registration or when the car is in an accident. You can prove you have insurance by showing the insurance card provided by your agent or insurance company. Sometimes, you will have to submit additional information to the DMV about your insurance policy.

Car Insurance in California

Anaheim Car Insurance
Fresno Car Insurance
Long Beach Car Insurance
Los Angeles Car Insurance
Oakland Car Insurance
Sacramento Car Insurance
San Diego Car Insurance
San Francisco Insurance
San Jose Car Insurance
Santa Ana Car Insurance