CA State Motorcycle Insurance Laws

The state of California requires that motorcycle riders in CA show proof that they can cover property damage or personal injuries they cause in an accident.

You can buy motorcycle insurance to comply with California and financial responsibility law, but you may also:

  1. Go to the CA DMV and make a cash deposit of $35,000.  For more information, contact the state agency by calling (916) 657-6520.
  2. Go to the CA DMV and obtain a self-insurance certificate.
  3. Get a $35,000 surety bond from a company licensed to do so in the state.
  4. Get a liability insurance policy.

The minimum liability coverage limits required in California State:

$15,000  for injury/death to one person
$30,000  for injury/death to more than one person
$5,000   for damage to property

You may want to purchase more than state minimum requirements to protect your assets.

Once you purchase a policy, keep your proof of insurance with you whenever you are on your motorcycle.

California State requires all operators and their passengers to wear an approved safety helmet at all times, regardless of whether you ride a motorcycle, a motor-driven cycle, a motorized bicycle or a motorized scooter.

Once you have signed up for coverage, your motorcycle insurance provider will electronically report the information on your liability policy to the CA DMV. This will happen automatically, so that if coverage lapses, the state will suspend your registration for failure to maintain financial responsibility.  In some cases the CA DMV may require you to also:

  • Provide a document or ID card from your insurance company that says you have adequate coverage.  The state agency will not return any documents you submit.
  • Provide the DMV with an authorized letter if you made a cash deposit or if you are self-insured.
  • Provide the DMV with a California Proof of Insurance Certificate (SR22) for either broad coverage or an owner’s policy. If the state has already determined that you need to provide it with an SR22, simply submitting proof of an operator’s policy alone will not suffice.

Penalties for Motorcycle Insurance Violations:

Your vehicle registration could be subject to suspension for the following reasons:

-You do not replace your liability insurance policy within 45 days once it has been canceled.

-Your insurance agent does not electronically provide evidence of insurance within 30 days after   the state issued you a registration card on a vehicle that has never been registered in CA.

-You submit false evidence of insurance.

If you get pulled over and cannot provide evidence of financial responsibility, you could receive a traffic ticket and you could be fined and have your vehicle impounded.