All About the California Low Cost Car Insurance Program

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California low cost car insurance program: 2 people shaking hands

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 16.6% of California drivers are uninsured. To combat the number of uninsured drivers on the roads, the California Department of Insurance sponsors the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance (CLCA) program, which helps low-income families find affordable auto insurance.

This guide will answer questions on how the CLCA program works, what it covers, and its income eligibility requirements.

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What is the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program?

Established by California’s State Legislature in 1999, California’s Low Cost Automobile Insurance program, or CLCA, is a state-sponsored program that helps income-eligible California residents at the federal poverty level pay for state minimum liability insurance for as little as $244 a year. It is open to any California driver meeting several program eligibility requirements, including but not limited to state residency, a good driving record, and a vehicle worth a maximum of $25,000.

Who Administers the CLCA?

The CLCA is sponsored by the California Department of Insurance and managed by the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP), a state program that matches program participants to a participating insurance company.

Who Qualifies for a California Low Cost Car Insurance Program?

California low cost car insurance program: family happily driving around

To see if you qualify for financial assistance, the California Department of Insurance has a free website with an eligibility questionnaire that asks the following questions:

  • Are you a California resident?
  • Do you have a valid California driver’s license?
  • Is your vehicle worth a maximum of $25,000?
  • Is your car only used for personal use and commuting?
  • Will all cars in your household be under the low-cost California insurance program?
  • For a two-adult household, is your household income less than $43,550?
  • Can you provide proof of your household income?
  • Are you at least 16 years of age?
  • Are you not a college student being claimed on your parents’ tax return?
  • Can you confirm you have no misdemeanors or felonies on your driving record?
  • In the past three years, can you confirm you have not had a car accident where you were at least 51% at fault and someone was killed or injured?
  • Do you have one point or less on your driving record?

Based on your answers to these questions, you may or may not qualify for the California low cost car insurance program.

What Are the CLCA Driving Record and Income Requirements?

In the CLCA‘s eyes, a good driving record means no more than one at-fault incident or moving violation within the last three years, as well as no felonies and no misdemeanor convictions.

As for income, every household that earns equal to or less than the income threshold below qualifies:

  • One person: $32,200
  • Two people: $43,550
  • Three people: $54,900
  • Four people: $66,250

What Coverage Does the CLCA Insurance Program Offer?

Woman talking on the phone

CLCA offers a basic liability coverage plan that covers the cost of damages to other people, their vehicles, and other property.

Here are its liability limits:

  • $10,000 in bodily injury liability per person
  • $20,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
  • $3,000 in property damage liability per incident

It also offers two optional coverages: uninsured motorist (bodily injury) and medical payments. Uninsured motorists covers up to $10,000 per person or $20,000 per accident, and medical payments up to $1,000 per injured person.

Remember that this California low-cost car insurance program only offers a liability policy only and does not provide coverage for injuries or damages to your vehicle. However, all California drivers can ensure better first-party protection with full coverage, including comprehensive coverage and collision insurance.

How Much Does a CLCA Policy Cost?

CLCA costs range from $244 to $966 for an annual, state minimum liability policy. How much you pay depends on the county you live in. With a good driving record, you may qualify for additional discounts.

To learn pricing based on age, number of years continually licensed, and the California county you live in, visit mylowcostauto.com.

How Do I Apply For The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program?

There are two ways to apply for CLCA: through the website or via a local agent, all at no cost.

One of our favorite site features is its rate calculator, which allows you to find the annual premiums in your county based on your driving record, age, and marital status. For example, a quick calculation for a Los Angeles-based, unmarried 24-year-old revealed a $628 annual premium — not a bad deal!

What Are Other Ways Low-Income California Drivers Can Save On Auto Insurance?

There are many ways low-income drivers can save on their auto insurance policy.

Policy Adjustments. Consider lowering coverage limits to your state’s minimum coverage. Increasing your deductible will lower your premiums. For example, increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 could drop your premiums by as much as 30%. Remember, minimum coverage only pays for damages to other vehicles and passengers.

Other ways to lower your insurance premiums include opting out of gap insurance and applying for multi-line or multi-policy discounts. For example, bundling two or more policies from the same insurer could result in savings for each. Think of it as a loyalty discount.

Proactive Measures. Insurers reward drivers with a lower risk profile. A lower risk profile means driving less than 7,500 miles a year, enrolling in defensive driving courses, maintaining a high credit score, and installing anti-theft devices. Some insurers run usage-based programs using telematics, which are in-vehicle devices or GPS-enabled apps that track your driving behavior.

Good Driving Record. One of the best ways to save on auto insurance is to maintain a clean driving record free of accidents, claims, or moving violations for the last three to five years. Some insurers awarded good driver discounts closer to the three-year mark, while others prefer closer to the five-year mark.

Shop Around for the Best Car Insurance Rates

If you are a candidate for California’s Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program and looking for cheap car insurance, rely on Compare.com. Our online platform allows you to view real-time quotes from hundreds of affordable insurance providers in one place. And it only takes a few minutes.

To get started, enter your ZIP code below:


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