People that own and drive a vehicle in California are required by law to carry liability insurance to compensate for injury or damage to another party or another party’s property that was a result of their own negligence. The law does not require you to protect yourself from either personal injury or property damage to your own vehicle.
California auto insurance minimum liability coverage is required whether you own your car outright or you are making payments to a finance company. If you have a high mileage car that is paid off, you do not have to carry comprehensive coverage, but you still are required to carry the state minimum liability coverage of 15/30/5.
A minimum 15/30/5 California car insurance policy will pay up to $15,000 to a single injured party or up to $30,000 for all occupants injured as a result of an accident you were found to have caused. It will also pay up to $5,000 in compensation for any property damage you may have caused as a result of the accident.
Comprehensive insurance coverage pays out if your car is stolen, damaged by vandalism, flying road debris, acts of nature or any other incidents that are not the result of a collision. Whether you should carry this type of coverage depends largely on the book value of your vehicle.
If you have a 20-year-old car worth $1,000 and it gets stolen, the best you could hope for is a check for $1,000 from the insurance company. If it costs you $200 extra to carry this coverage, you may decide it is better to assume the risk than pay the extra premium. Others, who are very risk averse may choose to pay the extra premium and have some more peace of mind.