State-Run Low-Cost Auto Insurance Available to Low-Income Residents

The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program provides low-cost liability insurance for those who are uninsured, which is estimated to be between 2 million to 3 million California motorists, according to a state insurance officer.

“The word isn’t getting out about these programs,” said Peter Meza, an associate insurance compliance officer with the state of California. “(We) invite you to have (us) present to other meetings with organizations. Help us by putting this information on your social media sites.”

Meza went before the El Centro City Council on Tuesday night, April 20 to deliver the news.

The program was established in 1999 to decrease the number of uninsured drivers on the road, Meza said. For those who want to apply, they need a valid driver’s license, a vehicle that is valued less than $25,000, be at least 16 years old, and have a good driving record in the last three years, he said. Applicants also have to meet the income guidelines.

For less than $275 a year, Meza said that program plan will provide the basic minimum for liability coverage to drive. Applicants can take the eligibility questionnaire, fill out the application online, and an insurance agent will call them back, Meza said.

“The 20 largest companies in the state of California are required to sell this insurance,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons you don’t hear about it, but there’s limitations on what they can charge.”

El Centro Mayor Cheryl Viegas-Walker asked what kind of advertising was being done to reach out to the population that could benefit.

“We do a lot of advertisements through the DMV,” Meza added. “We put this insert into anyone whose license or registration is being suspended because of not having insurance, which is probably why you’ve never seen it.”

The council committed to share information on its Facebook page and to get the word out for local residents. Those who are interested in the program can apply at

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