October 21, 2009

About California’s Low-cost Auto Program

Sometimes driving in the state of California can be a challenge with its many freeways, smog and traffic congestion in greatly populated cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. Yet, some still say that having a car is the best way to get around and see all that California has to offer. While sightseeing on a sunny afternoon can be fun, having trouble behind the wheel is not. In California, it is mandatory that all running autos have liability insurance. Even in routine traffic stops, all drivers must show current proof of liability insurance. Failure to do so may result in vehicle impounding or being arrested on the spot by law enforcement.

Many California residents would complain that the only way they can afford to have a decent lifestyle is to have the ability to drive to work. While paying for liability insurance may have been financially inconvenient for some in the past, for some workers it was impossible. As a result, these drivers chose to do so uninsured. As the years passed, millions of dollars were lost in property damage, lawsuits, lost wages, unpaid bills and time spent in the jail system due to uninsured drivers on the roads. So, for drivers who cannot afford auto insurance, the California Automobile Assigned Risk Program (CAARP) started the California Low Cost Automobile (CLCA) Insurance program in 2000. This is a basic liability (Bodily Injury and Property Damage) policy for low-income drivers who are legal California residents. Options such as medical or Uninsured Motorists coverage can be added to policy for an additional charge.

Eligibility for this auto program is determined by several factors. For example, a driver must be at least 19; they must have a clean driving history with no license suspensions, misdemeanors or felonies in the past three years; and the current monetary value of driven vehicle must be $20,000 or less. The rates on this auto insurance policy are budget-friendly as there are no broker fees, and there are five payment options available. The policyholder also agrees to have the CLCA as their sole auto insurance carrier with no more than two vehicles on the policy per household. In the beginning stages, the auto program covered only Los Angeles and San Francisco counties, but as of 2007, more than 50 counties have been added.

To find out more about this program’s auto insurance rates or how to get an auto insurance quote, go to www.insurance.ca.gov and click on