California Uninsured Motorist Laws


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Uninsured motorist laws vary from state-to-state, so it is a good idea to be knowledgeable about your state's requirements. California has a broad requirement that all drivers carry at least some insurance coverage to protect other drivers in the event of an accident. Accidents happen, and insurance is meant to take care of the parties to an accident. If everyone has coverage, then ideally inconvenience is the worst outcome of an accident.

How Does California Enforce Uninsured Motorist Laws?

California law requires that individuals show proof of insurance when registering a vehicle, an annual requirement. This helps to enforce the broad requirement that all drivers carry automobile liability insurance. Also, if you are pulled over for a traffic violation, you will be asked to show proof of license, registration and insurance. This additionally assists in enforcing California's auto insurance requirement.

One problem is when people allow uninsured motorists to drive their vehicles. Even though they carry insurance, the uninsured driver may not be covered by their policy. Many insurance policies have limitations as to coverage for other drivers. This will depend on the age, driving history and other information relating to the driver. If you review your insurance policy, you should be able to find specific language as to how other drivers will be treated by your insurer.

Penalties for Lack of Insurance

If an individual does not provide proof of insurance, it can cause denial of an application for registration, they may receive a citation, and suspension of vehicle registration may be issued. An uninsured driver who is involved in an accident may have her driving privileges suspended or restricted depending on individual circumstances and the determination of the court.

Personal property owned by the uninsured motorist can be confiscated or attached if the uninsured party is sued by an injured party for damages. Insurance is meant to protect assets. Often, an uninsured motorist does not have extensive personal assets and thus suing them is not helpful, but there are cases where an individual's insurance lapses and they do have assets that will be at stake in any litigation.

Getting Legal Advice

If you were involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist, an attorney can assist you in handling any claim whether with your insurance or whether you seek to sue other parties to the accident. Auto accident insurance law is complicated, and an attorney is in a good position to help you with your questions and assist you with any legal actions.

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