What Is Prop 213 and How Does it Affect California Drivers?

What Is Prop 213? 

Prop 213 for uninsured drivers
Despite the fact that car insurance is mandatory in nearly all states, more than 12% of drivers in the U.S. drive without insurance. In California, that percentage sits at 16%. The Golden State has one of the highest numbers of uninsured drivers in the country. As insurance rates rise, auto insurance becomes unaffordable for many people.

One way California deters drivers from forgoing insurance is Prop 213. Passed in 1996, this law limits the rights of uninsured drivers from recovering damages after a car accident that was not their fault. The law is intended to discourage driving without insurance and to reduce the cost of auto insurance for responsible drivers. 

If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact The Law Offices of Daniel Kim. We can help you file a claim with your own insurance policy or pursue a lawsuit against the liable party. Our experienced car accident lawyers will fight for your rights and interests and seek the maximum compensation you deserve. 


Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage in California

You must have the minimum amount of insurance coverage to follow the law in California:

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

These numbers have been in effect since 1967. Beginning Jan. 1, 2025, the minimum insurance coverage will increase by double or more.

  • $15,000 for property damage
  • $30,000 for injury or death to one person
  • $60,000 for injury or death to more than one person

If you are caught driving without insurance, you could face fines, vehicle impoundment, license suspension, and other penalties. If you get into a car accident without car insurance, your license will be suspended for up to four years, even if you are not at fault.


Prop 213 Explained

Prop 213 Explained
California is a “no pay, no play” state, which means that uninsured motorists not at fault cannot recover noneconomic damages from insured drivers. Also known as Proposition 213, the law limits uninsured drivers, felons, and drunk drivers from seeking full compensation after a car accident. Non-economic damages are subjective, non-monetary losses that include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Uninsured motorists are still able to recover economic damages, which reflect the actual financial losses in a claim. They include medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.  


Exceptions to Prop 213

There are some exceptions to Prop 213: 

  • Your employer’s vehicle: If you were driving an employer’s uninsured vehicle and got into an accident.
  • Private property: Prop 213 does not apply if the accident occurred on private property. 
  • A friend’s car: If you were driving a borrowed uninsured car, like a friend’s car, but you carry insurance, Prop 213 would not apply. 
  • DUI: The driver who hit you was convicted of a DUI. 


Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Coverage in California

Uninsured motorist coverage
Uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage is very important if you are hit by a driver who has no automobile insurance, not enough insurance, or if you’re a victim of a hit-and-run accident. If you have this coverage, you will be covered for your medical expenses and vehicle damage, up to your policy limits. 

If you choose to not carry UM/UIM coverage, you have to sign a waiver saying you are declining coverage. The minimum coverage is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident (30/60). However, most insurance companies recommend having more than the minimum. 


What To Do If You’re in a California Car Accident 

If you sustain injuries in a car accident in California, you must take certain steps to protect your well-being and legal rights. By law, you must call 911 and report the accident if it resulted in an injury or property damage exceeding $1,000.

Here is what to do after a car accident:

  1. Seek medical attention: Even if you feel fine, see a doctor right away. Some injuries may not show symptoms right away. Keep all records and receipts of your medical expenses, treatment, and medications. 
  2. Exchange information: Get the other party’s name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance information. Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident.
  3. Take photos and videos of the scene: Document the vehicle damage and any injuries. Collect the names and contact details of any witnesses. 
  4. Notify your insurance company: However, do not give any recorded statements or sign any insurance documents without consulting a lawyer.
  5. Contact a reputable car accident lawyer: A lawyer can help you prove fault, negotiate with the insurance company, and recover damages for your losses.


Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in California

Proposition 213 case
The thought of getting into a car accident with an uninsured driver scares most drivers. Undoubtedly so, as you will be on the hook for any damage to your vehicle and your injuries. Yet, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident with an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run, do not lose hope.

The Law Offices of Daniel Kim is one of California’s premier personal injury accident law firms with over $300 million recovered for injured clients. We help clients recover economic and non-economic damages such as lost wages, medical costs, emotional distress, and more. 

We offer a free consultation to all potential clients. Call our car accident lawyer at (800) 719-9779 for legal advice regarding your case.