Is the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program (CLCA) Legit?

Last Updated on October 2, 2020

The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program (CLCA) is an insurance system that could help you save money.

By taking advantage of the CLCA, you could get good car insurance at an affordable price. Today, thousands of drivers across California rely on the CLCA to maintain affordable car insurance.

Is the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program legit? Or should you stick with a better-known insurance company? Today, we’re explaining what the CLCA is and how it works.

About the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program

California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program (CLCA)California, like most states, requires drivers to show financial responsibility to legally drive. Most drivers show financial responsibility with car insurance. If you are pulled over by a police officer, you must show proof of financial responsibility (like insurance documents).

However, car insurance can be expensive. Some drivers can’t afford to buy car insurance, but they still need a vehicle. That’s why 15% of drivers in California drive without insurance.

To counter this issue, the state launched the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) in 1999. This program provides certain individuals with liability insurance at an affordable rate. You can buy CLCA insurance to meet the minimum car insurance requirements in California.

California continues to expand the CLCA, making it a better option for more drivers. In 2015, California expanded CLCA eligibility requirements. The system now covers vehicles worth up to $25,000, for example. It’s also available to permanent residents (i.e. green card holders), undocumented immigrants, and young drivers (aged 16 to 24).

The CLCA is operated by the California Department of Insurance, and the organization is run by the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP).

If you are struggling to afford car insurance in California, or if you are a low-income individual in California, then you could qualify for cheap car insurance through the California Low Cost Auto program.

CLCA Requirements

Only certain drivers qualify for CLCA car insurance. If you are a low-income driver in California, then you could purchase car insurance through the CLCA.

To qualify for the program, you must:

  • Have a valid California driver’s license
  • Meet income eligibility guidelines
  • Own a vehicle valued at $25,000 or less
  • Be at least 16-years-old
  • Have a good driving record

How to Get CLCA Car Insurance

You can get CLCA car insurance through MyLowCostAuto.com. This is the official CLCA website. The website helps determine if you are eligible for CLCA car insurance (using the household income calculator). It also allows you to apply for car insurance.

It’s easy to apply for CLCA car insurance. To start the application process, you need:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • Current vehicle registration
  • The initial deposit for payment
  • A document proving you have the low-income status

Income Eligibility for the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program

You must meet income eligibility guidelines to qualify for the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program. If you make less than a certain amount of money per year, then you can apply for car insurance through the CLCA.

Income requirements vary based on the size of your household, ranging from 1 to 19 people.

Here are the CLCA income eligibility guidelines as of 2020 based on household size:

Household SizeMaximum Income
1$31,900
2$43,100
3$54,300
4$54,300
5$76,700
6$87,900
7$99,100
8$110,300
9$121,500
10$132,700

Documents Proving Low Income Status

To receive car insurance through the CLCA, you must also provide a document proving you have low-income status.

Acceptable documents for proving low-income status include (provide one):

  • CalFresh (food stamps) electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card
  • CalWorks (welfare) notification letter
  • LIHEAP (low-income home energy assistance) documentation
  • Medi-Cal/Medicaid card
  • State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) debit card or benefit letters
  • SSI (aged, blind, or disabled) documentation
  • Social Security or pension letter
  • Income level documentation (like federal or state income tax returns, a W-2 form, a 1099 form, or a payroll stub)

You must only provide one of the above documents to qualify for CLCA car insurance.

How Much Does CLCA Car Insurance Cost?

The MyLowCostAuto.com website has a rate calculator to calculate your annual premium. Identify your county and how long you’ve had a license, then get an instant car insurance quote.

As of 2020, a 25+-year-old driver in Los Angeles County would pay $483 for car insurance through CLCA, assuming the person has been continuously licensed for 3+ years.

A similar driver in San Francisco County, meanwhile, would pay just $317 for car insurance.

In other counties, drivers pay as little as $250 per year for car insurance.

Even young drivers pay low rates for car insurance through the CLCA. A 16 or 17-year old driver in San Diego with fewer than 3 years of driving experience, for example, would pay just $526 for car insurance through the CLCA.

Overall, CLCA car insurance is significantly cheaper than competing car insurance quotes. The average liability insurance in California is approximately $600 to $900 per year. High-risk drivers could pay $2,000 or more for car insurance through the private system. With the CLCA, you can save hundreds per year on car insurance. The organization provides significantly cheaper car insurance than private insurance companies.

What’s the Catch?

There’s no real ‘catch’ with the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program. With the CLCA, you get legitimate car insurance at an affordable price.

The main drawback is that you’re buying just liability insurance – not full coverage car insurance. Liability insurance in California includes:

With CLCA car insurance, you get the minimum amount of car insurance required in California. The state requires you to have a certain minimum amount of car insurance to legally drive on public roads. With CLCA car insurance, you meet these minimum car insurance requirements.

California requires $15,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $30,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident, $5,000 of property damage liability coverage, $15,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person, and $30,000 of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per accident.

Coverage TypeMinimum Amount Required
Bodily injury liability coverage (BIL)$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
Property damage liability coverage (PDL)$5,000
Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI)$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
Uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD)$3,500
Collision CoverageNot required
Comprehensive CoverageNot required
Medical Payments CoverageNot required

With liability insurance, your insurance does not cover your own vehicle. You will not receive compensation for repairing your vehicle after an at-fault accident, for example. You will not receive an insurance payout if your car is stolen. This is basic liability car insurance that lets you legally drive – but comes with little other coverage.

The other drawback is that you cannot increase car insurance limits. If you want more coverage, then you must buy private insurance. If you cause $50,000 worth of medical bills in a car accident, for example, then your CLCA car insurance will cover the first $30,000 (the minimum legal limit in California), but you will need to pay the remaining $20,000 out of pocket.

Final Word – The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program

The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program is a low-cost car insurance program for low-income individuals. If you have low-income status in California, then you could qualify for cheap car insurance through the CLCA.

The CLCA is a legitimate car insurance program. It’s run by the government of California, and the government continues to expand the program to cater to more low-income individuals.

To learn more about the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program and how it works, visit the official website at MyLowCostAuto.com. You can apply online, find an insurance agent, calculate rates, and take an eligibility questionnaire to ensure you qualify for the California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program (CLCA).

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