Moving to California Car Insurance and Vehicle Registration Laws
Car Insurance and Vehicle Registration and Laws for New California Residents
California is known for its hub of business and beautiful landscapes, which is some of many reasons why it has been a desirable place to live in. According to the American Community Survey (ACS), from 2007 to 2016, an estimate of 5 million people moved to California from other states. California has a high population with many residents being drivers, public transit commuters, and bikers. The state has established a strict set of guidelines to regulate commuter and pedestrian safety.
If you’re moving to Los Angeles and plan on bringing your car, you may have questions about how you can legally operate your vehicle on the road. For all inquiries about car law and registration, feel free to reach out to the experienced attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers.
As a visitor, you do not need a California driver’s license to drive in the Golden State. All that is required is a valid license from your home state. When you become a California resident, the law mandates that you must acquire a California driver’s license within 10 days after receiving your residency. To become a California state resident, you must visit a DMV office in person and present proof of residency along with necessary identification.
To obtain a California driver’s license, you need to:
- Visit a DMV Office and file the necessary paperwork.
- Present a valid social security number and identification document that displays your full legal name.
- Produce proof of residency, which can be any of the following:
- Rental / lease agreement
- Mortgage bill
- Home utility bill
- School I.D.
- Medical document
- Employment document
- Change of address confirmation
- Pay the nonrefundable application fee
- File a fingerprint scan
- Take a vision test
- Take a photograph
- Pass the California Driver License Knowledge Test
New Vehicle Registration
You must also register your vehicle within 20 days after attaining your residency and California Driver’s License. To register the vehicle you must complete the next steps:
- File an application for Title or Registration
- Provide the most recent registration certificate or renewal notice
- Undergo a vehicle inspection
- Smog certification, if necessary
- Weight certification, if necessary
Do I Need Car Insurance?
Los Angeles is known for its busy traffic. More than 54,000 crashes took place in 2019, which contributed to a 32 percent increase in fatal crashes within the last five years. With the risks that come with driving a vehicle, it is mandatory for drivers to own car insurance to financially protect themselves in case of an accident. California law requires all vehicles on the road, including parked cars, to have at least the minimum car insurance. Proof of car insurance or “financial responsibility” is expected in the vehicle at all times. Insurance companies also provide electronic reports to the DMV, which can verify your current insurance policies. Those who commit insurance violations will have their insurance rate increase up to 36 percent.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements are:
- $15,000 for injury or death of a single person
- $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
Types of Car Insurance/Financial Responsibility
- Your choice of motor vehicle liability insurance
- $30,500 cash security paid to the DMV
- DMV-issued self-insurance certificate
- $30,500 surety bond from a licensed California business
Penalties for Unregistered or Suspended Registrations
If you drive an unregistered vehicle or vehicle with a suspended registration, you are subject to:
- A citation / subpoena
- Vehicle impoundment
- Personal liability damages
Compensatory damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for their losses after a personal injury case. In order to be entitled to damages, a plaintiff must prove they were harmed or injured. If an individual did not sustain any injuries, there will typically be no need for any damages.
Broadly speaking, compensatory damages can be divided in either of the two following categories:
- Economic – this includes tangible losses such as property damage
- Non-Economic– this includes intangible losses, such as emotional distress
There are also punitive damages, which are separate from compensatory damages. Punitive damages may be awarded on top of the normal compensatory damages an aggrieved individual may be entitled to and are intended to punish a wrongdoer for their negligent or malicious behavior.
Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
West Coast Trial Lawyers will not charge you for a consultation. Our clients are represented on a contingency fee basis. If we do not win, you owe us nothing. There is no financial risk to prevent you from reaching out. Our qualified personal injury lawyers are highly-trained and have extensive experience with cases that are similar to yours. We are committed to helping you resolve your legal issues as quickly as possible while receiving the best results. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, reach out to our legal team 24 hours a day by calling us at (213) 927-3700 or emailing us at [email protected].
Read More About Car Accidents
Our excellent team of car accident attorneys have created several resources for you to read through. Feel free to browse these topics and read the ones you would like to learn about more.
- 7 Crucial Steps To Take After a Car Accident
- Car Accident Victim Compensation
- Uninsured Car Accidents
- How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
- Accidents and Injuries by Aggressive Drivers
- Accidents and Injuries by Distracted Drivers
- Accidents and Injuries by Drowsy Driving
- Accidents and Injuries by Impaired Drivers
- Accidents and Injuries by Drunk Drivers
- Accidents and Injuries by Inexperienced Drivers
- Accidents and Injuries From Speeding
- Head on Collision Considerations
- Multi Car Collision Considerations
- Rear End Collision Considerations
- Side Impact Collisions
- Car Accident Injury Types
- What to Do After a Hit and Run Collision
- Comparative Negligence – Seat Belt Law in California
- Common Types of Car Accident Injuries
- DUI in California
- Multi-Car Collision
- How to Determine Fault in a Car Accident
- 50/50 at Fault Car Accident
- Car Accident – No Police, No Insurance
- How Can I Stop My Insurance From Increasing
- Whether to File an Auto Insurance Claim or Not
- Compensation for Lost Wage From a Car Accident
- Car Accident Recovery Tips
- No Fault Car Accident
- Legal Guide to Own a Classic or Custom Car in California
- Poor Road Maintenance – Can I sue the City for My Car Accident?
- Los Angeles Traffic, Accidents, and Safety Tips
- Car Accidents While Driving a Rental Car
- Who Pays Medical Bills After a Car Accident
- Car Accident Property Damage Settlement Guide
- Loss of Consortium
- Car Insurance Law for New California Residents
- Med Pay Auto Insurance
- Filing a Car Insurance Claim in CA
- California Sees Speeding Double Due to Coronavirus: It’s Impact on Insurance
- Can I Change My Car Accident Lawyer?
- Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
- Why Do I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
- Single Vehicle Collisions
- Most Common Types of Serious Auto Accidents
- California Car Accident Statistics
- Rollover Accidents
- Drag Races in California Road During Coronavirus
- Weather Conditions and Car Accidents
- What Happens If I’m Injured in an Accident While Visiting California?
- Psychological Injuries After a Car Accident