Council hears about California’s low cost auto insurance | News

Richie Sayavong from the California Department of Insurance started with a lighthearted comment.

“By no means am I here to sell you any type of insurance,” Sayavong said before launching into an informational presentation to the Ridgecrest City Council Feb. 1.

Sayavong was on hand to educate people about the fact that California offers low cost auto insurance in a state-sponsored program.

The California Low Cost Auto Insurance program is a state program established in 1999. It provides affordable low cost liability insurance with the goal of decreasing the number of uninsured drivers in the state, according to Sayavong’s presentation.

“This isn’t to replace your comprehensive type of insurance,” he said.

He added that the program is available to all Californians regardless of immigration status.

CLCA is a state program but no tax dollars go into funding it, according to Sayavong.

To qualify you must have a valid California driver’s license, including AB60 licenses for individuals unable to provide proof of legal residency in the U.S., but who meet California residency and DMV requirements. You must also own a vehicle valued at $25,000 or less and not financed through a loan; you must have a good driving record for the past three years, be at least 16 years old and meet household income guidelines.

“Most important, you must have a good driving record so no accidents with bodily injury or more than one point on your record,” he added.

People receiving any of the following benefits may be eligible for low-cost auto insurance: CalFresh — Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card; CalWorks — notification letter; Medi-Cal/Medicaid: Medi-Cal card; State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) — debit card or benefit letter or Social Security or Pension — SS or pension letter.

Kern County falls under tier two for determining costs, which means a base rate of $263 a year for a driver with 3+ years of good driving who qualifies under income guidelines.

To apply, applicants need a valid driver’s license/AB60; valid registration; proof of income and a down payment of 20 percent of the annual premium.

The seven-question application is online. Once it is completed an agent will reach out and gather more information as needed, Sayavong said.

Proof of income can include a paycheck stub, W-2, 1099, SSI statement, etc. A complete list is available online at

The eligibility questionnaire is also available on Chat is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m and website and chat are available in English and Spanish. For more information call 866-602-8861.

Sayavong closed by giving “a little bit [of information] about the California Department of Insurance.

“We are here to protect you the Californians from fraud and abuse from your insurance companies,” he said. The department regulates various types of insurance including fire, life, home and auto.

“We are trying to get pet insurance in there,” he said.

The department does not regulate health insurance.

Anyone with questions or issues about insurance can call the California Department of Insurance at 800-927-4357 or go online to

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