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The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program

As with most states, California Law requires drivers to maintain basic liability insurance when driving or parking on a public road. Despite these regulations, the State continues to see record uninsured driver rates; some figures as high as 20%. Recent increases to auto insurance rates, combined with high unemployment, have created an environment where many drivers simply cannot afford to pay their insurance premiums.

The State has long been aware of these issues and in 2001 began to pilot the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program. While California law requires drivers to maintain basic liability limits for bodily injury ($15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident) and property damage of $5,000, the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program offers reduced limits with bodily injury at ($10,000 per person / $20,000 per accident) and property damage at $3,000.

The basic policy is available statewide, to qualified drivers, for under $400 a year and drivers are able to add uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage ($10,000 per person / $20,000 per accident) and medical payments ($1,000) for an additional premium.

The program seeks to help low-income and unemployed drivers get coverage and has the following requirements to qualify:

  • Driver’s gross annual income needs to be less than 250% of the federal poverty level; currently $27,075 for individuals and $55,125 for a family of four (see full list at CaliforniaLowCost.com),
  • Drivers may cannot be a college student claimed as a dependent on some else’s State or Federal tax return,
  • All drivers on the policy need to have a good driving record and cannot have more than 1 at fault property damage claim or moving violation during the last 3 years,
  • Applicants must be at least 19 years old and have been driving for the last 3 consecutive years,
  • Male applicants who are unmarried and under the age of 25 will see a 25% surcharge on premium,
  • Only one vehicle per policy and no more than two vehicles per person,
  • Vehicle cannot be worth more than $20,000, and
  • Drivers cannot have other liability insurance covering the insured vehicle or other vehicles they own.

The program is not right for everyone, but can be a great solution for those needing a little help through these tough economic times. For more information on the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program, or to apply for coverage, visit CaliforniaLowCost.com or call (866) 514-2830.



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