Low-Cost Auto Improvements

The Department of Insurance announced important improvements to the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) this past week.

Beginning December 12, a new temporary proof of insurance card can now be printed at the offices of participating insurance agents, thus eliminating the two-week wait for mailed proof of insurance cards needed to register a car with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“Consumers complained that a two-week wait for identification cards made this program less desirable,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Waiting two weeks for cards to show up in the mail meant that people either drove without proof of insurance, or they signed up for higher-cost insurance so they could get the identification cards and go to DMV.”

The program also launched a text message outreach option.  When consumers text “low cost” to 653-74, they are prompted to provide their zip code, they are then matched to a pre-screened insurance agent in their area who will call the consumer with a formal quote and assist them in signing up for the CLCA.

Advertisements with the text message information are slated for places where people are sitting still with their mobile phones: inside buses, on gas station pumps and inside laundromats.

The program provides liability-only insurance for less than $400 a year, and the amount could be much less, depending on the county where the consumer lives.

Drivers may qualify if they:

  • Have a good driving record;
  • Are at least 19 years old;
  • Have been continuously licensed to drive for three years;
  • Own a vehicle valued at $20,000 or less;
  • Meet the income eligibility requirements ($27,225 for one person, $36,775 for two people, up to $55,875 for a family of four).

“More than 4 million cars, or 15 percent of the cars on the road, don’t have insurance,” Commissioner Jones said.  “If financial difficulties have you thinking about cancelling your car insurance, you should check out California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance Program instead.  Remember, driving without auto insurance is illegal.  Celebrate this holiday season with the gift of insurance and accompanying peace of mind you’ll enjoy in the upcoming year.”

The CLCA was established by the Legislature in 1999 as a program designed to provide income eligible persons with liability insurance protection at affordable rates as a way to meet California's financial responsibility laws.