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Are you obligated to have insurance in California?

Car insurance sounds like something that should be your own personal choice, like life insurance. If you want to take the risk and drive without it, knowing you'll have to cover the costs if you get into an accident, shouldn't you be able to do that?

It is important to note that this is not how lawmakers see it at all. You have a legal obligation to carry insurance. It's one of the main things that a police officer will ask you for after an accident or even if you get pulled over. You need to prove that you have valid coverage while showing that you have a license and that the car is properly registered in your name.

So, what if you decide to ignore this law and drive without insurance?

When you get caught, even for nothing more than a first offense, you'll face stiff fines. They started between $100 and $200, but that doesn't tell the whole story. You also need to pay a penalty assessment on top of that. For every $10 that you get fined, that assessment costs you another $26. Therefore, if you got a $100 fine, you'd also have to pay $260 in assessment fees, for a total of $360. You could end up paying as much as $720. If they want to, the court may also have the power to take your vehicle away and have it impounded.

As you can see, this is not something to take lightly. If you find yourself facing fines and fees, you need to know about all of the defense options you have.

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