Insurance Requirements for Vehicle Registration - California DMV (2024)

Do I Need Financial Responsibility?

Financial responsibility (commonly known as insurance) is required on all vehicles operated or parked on California roadways.

You must carry evidence of financial responsibility in your vehicle at all times and it must be provided as specified below when:

  • Requested by law enforcement.
  • Renewing vehicle registration.
  • The vehicle is involved in a traffic collision.

Insurance companies in California are required by law (California Vehicle Code [CVC] §16058) to electronically report private-use vehicle information and as of January 1, 2023, Commercial and Fleet vehicle insurance information.

Electronic reporting of insurance information and programming changes that took effect in 2006 and 2023, allow DMV to monitor insurance coverage and take appropriate actions through vehicle suspension as required by law.

Law enforcement and court personnel have electronic access to insurance status on DMV records.

What Are the Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements for Private Passenger Vehicles (California Insurance Code§11580.1b)?

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

Effective January 1, 2025, the minimum liability insurance requirements for private passenger vehicles will increase as follows:

  • $30,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $60,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $15,000 for damage to property.

Liability insurance compensates a person other than the policy holder for personal injury or property damage.

Comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements.

Does not include any additional Insurance requirements for Commercial and/or Fleet Vehicles deemed necessary by any Federal, State or Local Agency.

What Are the Types of Financial Responsibility?

  • Motor vehicle liability insurance policy.
  • Cash deposit of $35,000 with DMV.*
  • DMV-issued self-insurance certificate.
  • Surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.*

*Effective January 1, 2025, the minimum amount requirements will increase to $75,000.

For information regarding cash deposits or self-insurance, contact the DMV Financial Responsibility Unit at (916) 657-6677 option #2.

To locate a company that issues surety bonds, contact the Department of Insurance by calling 1-800-927-4357.

Is Low Cost Insurance Available?

If you cannot afford liability insurance, you may be eligible for the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program. Additional information is available atmylowcostauto.comor by calling 1-866-602-8861.

Will I Be Asked to Provide Evidence of Financial Responsibility?

You may be requested to submit additional insurance information to DMV, such as:

  • A document or identification card from your insurance company.
  • A DMV authorization letter, if you are a cash depositor or are self-insured.
  • California Proof of Insurance Certificate (SR 22) form for broad coverage or owner’s policy.
  • Evidence that the vehicle is owned or leased by a public entity defined in California Government Code §811.2.
  • AStatement of Facts (REG 256)form certifying the motor carrier has evidence of insurance on file with the Public Utilities Commission or DMV pursuant to CVC §34630.

Must I Notify DMV Before I Cancel My Insurance?

Yes. To prevent a vehicle registration suspension, you must notify DMV before you cancel your insurance. If you are not operating your currently registered vehicle, and it is not parked on a California roadway, you may submit an Affidavit of Non-Use (ANU) (REG 5090) form to DMV online at, by calling the automated voice system at 1-800-777-0133, or by mail to one of the addresses at the end of this brochure.

You may remove theANU during the same registration year online, by calling 1-800-777-0133, or by mailing evidence of insurance to the DMV-VIP Unit at the address at the end of this brochure.

After filing theANU, the vehicle’s insurance may be cancelled. However, if the vehicle is still not in use when registration renewal fees are due, you must pay renewal fees or request the vehicle be placed on planned nonoperation (PNO) status. You are not eligible to file anANU once the registration expires. You can obtain additional PNO information

When Is My Vehicle Registration Subject to Suspension (CVC §4000.38)?

Vehicle registration is suspended when:

  • DMV is notified that an insurance policy has been cancelled and a replacement policy is not submitted within45 days.
  • Insurance information is not submitted to DMV within30 daysof issuance of a registration card upon initial registration or transfer of ownership.
  • The registration is obtained by providing false evidence of insurance.

What Do I Do If My Vehicle Registration Is Suspended?

If you have received a letter from DMV stating your vehicle registration will be suspended in the near future or has already been suspended, submit your insurance information and/or reinstatement fee:

  • Online or without a notification letter). TheVehicle Registration Suspensions and Insurance Program pagesprovide up-to-date vehicle registration insurance suspension status and options to submit a reinstatement fee payment electronically, submit insurance information, submit/remove anAffidavit of Non-Use (ANU), andfrequently asked questions (FAQ).
  • At aDMV NOW Kioskwith your renewal notice, registration card, or letter from the Vehicle Insurance Program with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) located at the top middle portion of the document.
  • By mail with your notification letter. Mail the detachable stub from your notification letter, proof of liability insurance, and/or a reinstatement fee payment to:

    PO Box 997405
    Sacramento, CA 95899-7405

  • By mail without a notification letter. Mail proof of liability insurance and/or a reinstatement fee payment to:

    DMV-VIP Unit
    PO Box 997408 MS N305
    Sacramento, CA 95899-7408

  • By telephone on the automated voice system at 1-800-777-0133. You may also verify your registration insurance suspension status, submit a reinstatement fee payment, submit proof of liability insurance, and submit/remove an ANU.

DMV field office and call center personnelcannotprocess paperwork to clear vehicle registration insurance suspensions. You will be referred to one of the service options listed previously.

What Are the Consequences of Driving a Vehicle With Suspended Registration?

In addition to the vehicle registration suspension, you may:

  • Be cited.
  • Have your vehicle impounded.
  • Be personally liable for damages, if you are involved in a collision.
Insurance Requirements for Vehicle Registration - California DMV (1)
Insurance Requirements for Vehicle Registration - California DMV (2024)


Do you need insurance to get registration in California? ›

*California allows you to register a car without insurance, but you must provide proof of insurance within 30 days of registration.

What is CA auto insurance requirements? ›

Here are the minimum liability insurance requirements (per California Insurance Code §11580.1b): $15,000 for injury/death to one person. $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person. $5,000 for damage to property.

Can you renew tags without insurance in California? ›

You can renew your registration online if:

You have insurance for your vehicle OR you are registering a vehicle that does not need insurance (like a trailer). DMV has electronic smog certification information for your vehicle on file.

Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name in California? ›

In many cases, no. Whether you want to buy insurance for a family member or are looking for car insurance coverage that applies to you if you borrow a friend's vehicle, there are plenty of situations where registration and insurance for a car could be under different names.

Does CA DMV accept electronic proof of insurance? ›

Yes, you can provide a picture of your vehicle's insurance information. California Vehicle Code 16028 states, “The evidence of financial responsibility may be provided using a mobile electronic device.”

Does California suspend registration for no insurance? ›

The Vehicle Registration Financial Responsibility Program is required to suspend a vehicle's registration when: Insurance information is not submitted to DMV within 30 days of being issued a registration card.

What happens if I don't insure my car in California? ›

California drivers must at least meet the liability auto insurance coverage requirements of 15/30/5 to drive legally. You can be fined up to $500 out of pocket if you are convicted of driving without insurance in California, depending on whether it's your first or subsequent offense.

How long do you have to insure a car in California? ›

No, you cannot drive a car in California without a car insurance policy in place or providing proof of financial responsibility to the state DMV. California does allow for a 30-day grace period after purchasing a vehicle, which is how long you have to purchase an insurance policy for your new car.

How long do you have to get insurance after buying a used car in California? ›

California allows a new car insurance grace period of 30 days, which is how long you have after purchasing a vehicle to buy insurance for that car and provide proof of active insurance coverage to the California DMV.

What do I need to renew my car registration in CA? ›

You'll need your:
  1. Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  2. Proof of car insurance on file.
  3. Proof of smog certification on file.
  4. Payment for the renewal fee.

How long can you drive with expired tags in California? ›

Serious problems could develop from a violation of the expired registration California laws. Sometimes there are valid reasons for not making the registration on time, but if your tags are more than six months past the renewal date, your vehicle can be towed away and impounded.

Can I insure a car not registered to me in California? ›

This means that you must have a financial stake in the vehicle you insure. If the vehicle is not registered to you, you have no insurable interest in it. Therefore, you cannot insure it.

What happens if I don't have insurance on my car California? ›

If you're caught driving without insurance, you can be fined, your vehicle could be impounded, and your license and registration could be suspended. For the first offense, you could pay a fee of $100 to $200. For the second offense, that's between $200 to $500, according to Kelly Blue Book.

What happens if you don t have car insurance in the state of California? ›

First-Time Offense: If you are caught driving without insurance in California for the first time, you can expect a fine ranging from $100 to $200. Additionally, penalty assessments may increase this amount, potentially totaling around $450 after extra fees and assessments. Vehicle impoundment is also a possibility.

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