California Minimum Liability Requirements Among Lowest in the U.S.

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California Minimum Liability Requirements Among Lowest in the U.S.

Car crash minimum liability insurance requirements across the country are scattershot.  Some states require certain types of insurance that others do not.  Some states require much higher policy limits than some others.  Two states, New Hampshire and Virginia, do not even require car insurance, though at-fault drivers are still considered financially responsible for the damages caused.  For a state as big and populous as California, it may surprise people to learn that we have one of the weakest minimum liability insurance policy requirements in the country.  Low requirements for minimum coverage put drivers at risk.

California requires drivers to carry an insurance policy that cover $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 property damage.  It does not require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  For minimum coverage limits, this places California almost dead last in the country.  See the chart below for required coverage comparisons in 2020:

State Per Person Per Accident Property Damage UM/UIM Coverage
Alabama 25000 50000 25000
Alaska 50000 100000 25000
Arizona 15000 30000 10000
Arkansas 25000 50000 25000
California 15000 30000 5000
Colorado 25000 50000 15000
Connecticut 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000
Delaware 25000 50000 10000
Florida* 10000
Georgia 25000 50000 25000
Hawaii 20000 40000 10000
Idaho 25000 50000 15000
Illinois 25000 50000 20000 25000/50000
Indiana 25000 50000 25000
Iowa 20000 40000 15000
Kansas 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000
Kentucky 25000 50000 25000
Louisiana 15000 30000 25000
Maine 50000 100000 25000 50000/100000
Maryland 30000 60000 15000 30000/60000/15000
Mass. 20000 40000 5000 20000/40000
Michigan 20000 40000 10000
Minnesota 30000 60000 10000 25000/50000
Mississippi 25000 50000 25000
Missouri 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000
Montana 25000 50000 20000
Nebraska 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000
Nevada 25000 50000 20000
New Hampshire** 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000/25000
New Jersey* 5000
New Mexico 25000 50000 10000
New York 25000 50000 10000 25000/50000
North Carolina 30000 60000 25000 30000/60000/25000
North Dakota 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000
Ohio 25000 50000 25000
Oklahoma 25000 50000 25000
Oregon 25000 50000 20000 25000/50000
Pennsylvania 15000 30000 5000
Rhode Island 25000 50000 25000
South Carolina 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000/25000
South Dakota 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000
Tennessee 25000 50000 15000
Texas 30000 60000 25000
Utah 25000 65000 15000
Vermont 25000 50000 10000
Virginia** 25000 50000 20000 25000/50000/20000
Washington 25000 50000 10000
Washington, D.C. 25000 50000 10000 25000/50000/5000
West Virginia 25000 50000 25000 25000/50000/25000
Wisconsin 25000 50000 10000 25000/50000
Wyoming 25000 50000 20000

*Florida and New Jersey are no-fault states that require a different type of car insurance called personal injury protection often required in no-fault insurance states.
**New Hampshire and Virginia do not require car insurance, but for insurance that is offered, these are the minimum requirements.  Drivers are still financially responsible for any damages they cause.

As the chart shows, California and Pennsylvania are the only states with red across the board, but Pennsylvania is a no-fault state that also requires personal injury protection coverage.  Of the states that take into consideration the fault of the driver, California ranks at the bottom for all categories.  Put simply, minimum insurance levels may not cover all the medical bills and other costs associated with even a moderate crash.  Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance could help offset some of those costs but is not required in California.

The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth strongly recommends that California drivers obtain UM/UIM insurance to protect themselves from other drivers who only maintain minimum liability coverages or have no insurance at all.  UM/UIM is generally quite affordable and can make a huge difference.  Our auto accident attorneys have encountered too many clients who were badly injured in a crash but could not receive fair compensation because they did not have UM/UIM insurance.

If you have been injured in an auto accident in California, call our offices today at 888-517-9888 to speak with an injury expert about your case.  All initial consultations are free of charge.  We guarantee that if we do not win your case we will not charge you for our services.

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