Orange County, CA Car Insurance Laws

The following article is intended to be a fairly comprehensive review of car insurance laws in California. California is a bit unique in the United States as they follow a unique fault system for automobiles. The laws included in this system determine the insurance coverage each driver is required to have by law. No matter what type of insurance you have if you’ve been injured consider calling a good Orange County car accident lawyer. As you’ll see below there are exemptions to certain portions of California car insurance laws.

What is ‘Choice No Fault’ Car Insurance

There are 12 states in the U.S. that follow a fault car insurance system and California is one of them. A no-fault system requires each driver’s insurance to pay for injuries sustained to their insured driver, no matter who was at fault for the accident. There are exemptions to this and situations where a person can pursue a claim against the other driver if certain conditions are met. We’ll look at that more in-depth later in this article.

The no-fault system of car insurance was developed to help prevent insurance fraud. Because each person’s insurance policy pays for their own injuries, no matter who is at fault, there are fewer lawsuits brought to courts because there is no need to dispute the fault of the accident. This not only helps clear the court system of frivolous or false claims, but it also speeds up payment from the insurance companies. The deterrent in this case is that the person who is deemed to be at fault for the accident will see their insurance premiums increase dramatically as they will be considered an at-risk driver by the insurance company. While pain-and-suffering claims are limited by the no-fault system, there are cases where a driver covered by a no-fault policy can claim damages for pain-and-suffering, though this doesn’t apply to wage loss and medical damages.

California is part of an even smaller group of states because their no-fault insurance system is a choice at-fault system. This means that a driver can opt-out of the no-fault system and purchase traditional tort insurance if they wish. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are the only other states which have car insurance laws enabling insurance companies to offer choice no-fault car insurance.


A driver who chooses to opt-out of the no-fault system is free to pursue a personal injury lawsuit or liability claim against the driver who was at fault in an accident. The downside is that once you opt out of the no-fault system you are also at risk of being the defendant in a lawsuit yourself. These no-fault rules apply only to personal injury and liability claims. A driver is still free to pursue claims for vehicle damage.

When a driver does have no-fault insurance coverage there are still exemptions where they are considered exempt from the no-fault Louisville car insurance laws and able to pursue a lawsuit. The thresholds that need to be met are as follows:

• Medical expenses of $1,000 or more as a result of the accident; or
• Any permanent injury, loss of a bodily function, permanent disfigurement, weight-bearing bone fractured; fracture of any bone that is compound, compressed, displaced or comminuted.

California Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

There are legal requirements in California for the liability insurance that each person must maintain on their vehicle. The current limits are $10,000 per occurrence for property damage, $25,000 per person in any accident, and $50,000 total for any accident. Remember that these are just the minimum amounts required by car insurance laws. It is possible to carry more coverage than this and many people do because the limits are quite low. Under law if your liability for an accident is greater than your and the other person’s insurance coverage you will become personally responsible to make up the difference.


Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage

There is no requirementfor uninsured or underinsured coverage. There is an option to purchase such coverage on your own insurance policy, and this will provide coverage if your injuries are caused by a driver with no insurance, or if their insurance is insufficient to cover your medical bills and rehabilitative costs.