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Can I insure multiple vehicles through California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program?

Yes. Family members in eligible households may get separate policies to insure up to two vehicles per person. However, households are not eligible if any of its members hold auto policies not through California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program.

I’m still paying off my car loan. Can I get insurance through this program?

This program is designed to insure vehicles that do not have current liens against them. Your lienholder may require that you carry higher limits of liability for the duration of your loan term. Please check with your lender to determine if the coverage limits will meet the requirements of your loan.

What happens if I miss a payment?

After you begin a new insurance policy through the program, it is important not to miss a single payment or renewal offer. Missing payment deadlines or renewal offers will result in a policy cancellation, which requires that a new policy be issued. The process starts ALL over. If you can afford to pay your annual premium in one lump sum rather than in installments, you will benefit from having fewer payments to keep track of—and you will also save money by not having to pay the $4 per payment installment fee.

What are ways I can make my payment?

In addition to sending in a check or money order, you can also use your debit or credit card over the phone or online. Once your policy has been issued by the insurance company, you may be able to make payments through your bank’s automatic bill payments system, which is useful to avoid missing payment deadlines.

Can I get insurance that covers damage or theft of my own vehicle?

At this time, California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program does not offer assistance for policies that cover damage or theft of policyholder vehicles. However, if you use the program to obtain basic liability insurance, your agent can help you obtain non-program policies that provide such protection.

I drive a clunker that’s practically worthless. Do I really need to insure it?

DMV requires proof of insurance to register a car, and if you are stopped by the police you will have to provide proof of insurance. This is primarily what is offered through California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program. You can purchase additional protection for your own medical costs through the CLCA program.

Do I have to prove my income to apply?

Yes. The program will accept any one of 17 different documents as proof of household income. They include:

  • a copy of your federal or state income tax return for the last year
  • a 1099 form
  • a W-2 form
  • a payroll stub
  • a Medi-Cal card
  • an employer verification letter
  • a Social Security or pension letter
  • a utility company Lifeline verification.
  • Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card
  • Notifications from California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
  • State of California Employment Development Department (EDD Debit Card or benefit letters)
  • Bank Statements as proof of deposits of Social Security payments.
  • CalFresh (food stamps)
  • CalWorks (welfare)
  • Medi-Cal (Medicaid)
  • SSI (aged, blind, disabled)
  • LIHEAP (low income home energy assistance)

Again, you only need one of these to apply.

What are the penalties for not having insurance?

If you drive without insurance, you could:

  • Have your vehicle registration suspended
  • Have your license suspended
  • Have your car impounded
  • Be fined
  • If you are cited for not having insurance at the time of an accident, the DMV penalty is a 1-year mandatory driver license suspension followed by 3 additional years of maintaining proof of financial responsibility on file with DMV.
  • If you are cited for not having insurance at the time of a traffic stop, you will face $800 in total fines and court fees.

By comparison, less than $338 a year for auto insurance is cheap!