California requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance coverage on their vehicles not only for themselves but also for other road users. That’s why when a person gets into an accident they are advised to exchange insurance information to sort out the expenses that will arise from that crash. But, if you don’t have any coverage and happen to get into an accident, the circumstances can be pretty tricky to handle.
Driving without insurance in California
If you are caught driving without insurance in California, the base fine you’ll be asked to pay is $100 and a penalty assessment fee of approximately $260. If it is the second time you are ticketed for driving without insurance within three years, the penalty will increase to $500, and the penalty assessment fee can rise to $1,300. Your license may also be suspended for up to four months, and the court could impound your vehicle.
When you get into an accident
California is an at-fault state when it comes to car accidents, so typically, the court will look for the person responsible for the accident and determine who should pay for the damages.
If you caused the accident and didn’t have any insurance to cover the expenses, things can get really expensive. You will be personally liable for all the damages done, including hospital bills, property damage, vehicle repairs and lost wages. If it was the other driver’s fault and they don’t have insurance either, you will be in the same predicament.
If you caused the accident and can’t afford to pay for all the damages, another option that you may have would be to file for bankruptcy. This might protect your assets from being seized by creditors, but it will also stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, making it difficult for you to take out loans or open new lines of credit.