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What's the penalty for driving without car insurance in California?

According to research by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the penalty in California for driving without insurance is a $100 to $200 fine for the first offense, and a $200 to $500 fine for each subsequent offense within three years. The judge must impose greater fines if you fail to provide proof of insurance in court.

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More information about auto insurance in California from Insure.com.

All states except New Hampshire require drivers to carry liability car insurance. The minimum liability limits vary from state-to-state, but they all tend to be low. California requires $15,000 for bodily injury to one person; $30,000 for injuries to more than one person per accident and $5,000 for damage to property.

Insurance experts advise carrying more than the state-required liability coverage, particularly if you own assets, such as a home. Injured parties could come after you if the damage and injuries you caused resulted in medical expenses and repair bills that exceeded the liability limits on your policy.

Penalties for driving without insurance vary widely among states. Most, like California, impose fines, but others could suspend your license, require community service or even sentence you to jail.

For more, see the penalties for driving uninsured--and why they may be meaningless.

Last updated: Apr. 1, 2011
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