How much does shipping your Vehicle cost?
Free Instant Online Calculator based on quotes from Trusted Auto Shipping Companies
Customer Images
7790 people shipped using A-1 Auto Transport last week

Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

Joe brought me peace of mind. I can’t thank you enough for being so reliable and trustworthy

+2 million
of customers
recommend us

What Documents Do I Need to Keep My Car in California?

What's in this article?
  1. Documents You Should Keep In The Car
  2. Drivers License
  3. Proof Of Registration
  4. Car Insurance Documents
  5. Documents You Can Keep At Home
  6. Maintenance Records
  7. Sale Documents
  8. Other Convenient Items To Keep In Your Car
  9. To Finish
What Documents Do I Need to Keep My Car in California?

Golden Gate Bridge. Hollywood sign. Sandy beaches and surfing waves. These are things California is famous for.

Unfortunately, the state is also famous for its laws and regulations regarding car ownership.

California vehicle owners have an obligation to possess specific documentation for their automobiles. This regulation keeps their car legal and prevents them from heavy fines.

Not a California resident? Then reviewing the necessary documents you must keep in your car is a good idea. Compliance with regulations and legal operation of the vehicle in the state can only enhance your Californian experience.

And if you live and own a car in California? You must also be ready to provide the required documents.

Documents You Should Keep in the Car

Storing important documents in your car may be risky. If there's an accident or theft, you may lose them. However, some records must be kept close by, and it's better for you to have them ready in the car.

Storing crucial documentation in easily accessible places can be beneficial—in the glovebox, center console, or pockets in the seat-backs of your vehicle.

Let's learn what these documents are and why they are necessary for you in the car.

Drivers license

A top priority must-have document for all drivers is the driver's license. Driving a motor vehicle without one is illegal.

Having it but not carrying it puts you at risk with law enforcement. You may be charged with a criminal record should the cops catch you driving without a valid license.

Furthermore, a California fine will put a dent in your wallet. The fine is up to $250.

A driver's license is often the first step in verifying your compliance with laws regarding vehicle operation.


You should always keep it close by, whether traveling short distances between home and work or going on longer trips out of town.

Besides carrying the physical copy, ensure that your state-issued license information is updated regularly with any new address changes, name changes, and other related personal data as necessary.

Have you also brushed up on important driving laws? If not, taking a refresher course or tests can be beneficial. Knowing the basics of safe driving is always worthwhile and keeps you out of trouble.

Proof of registration

Keeping your car's registration current and all necessary paperwork accessible is vital. It can be handy in case the police ask you to prove that you have a valid commercial vehicle registration.

If you haven't properly registered your vehicle or renewed its registration, you could be looking at some fines. There are penalties if you fail to maintain your current registration status.

However, it's possible to avoid any unpleasant situations when pulled over. One easy way to prevent any complications is by keeping everything organized in the glove compartment of your vehicle.

This way, you won't have to search for necessary documents during a roadside stop—everything will be easily accessible so that you can quickly provide proof of your car's legal registration status without any hassle.

Car insurance documents

Proof of insurance is a consequential requirement if you drive a car. This type of insurance helps to protect both you and the other driver from fault in the case of fender benders or any other automobile accidents.

Your insurance provider usually supplies you with paperwork detailing the amount of coverage you have and its expiration date.

It's wise to always keep this document in your wallet or car to have it available if necessary, such as when exchanging information with another driver or motorist after a crash.

California requires a specific minimum coverage for car insurance to be considered legally valid. It is advisable to keep a current version of your policy accessible at all times, especially in case proof of financial responsibility is required.

Documents You Can Keep at Home

Other documents you don't need urgently or immediately to comply with traffic laws are best stored at home.

These documents will be crucial for you and your vehicle if you ever sell it. Documents such as a certificate of origin, original title, and inspection reports prove that you are the actual owner and the automobile is in good driving condition.

The best way to keep track of sale paperwork is to keep copies of documents, divide them, and store digital versions somewhere secure. If any appear lost or misplaced, you can easily replace it with a backup.

We've listed a few of the most important documents you should have at home for your auto vehicle.


Maintenance records

Maintenance records are important for car owners to keep their vehicles running safely and efficiently.

Storing a car's maintenance records at home is a great way to ensure its owner gets all the essential updates or repairs needed for its health. Keeping these documents organized and in an accessible place can be beneficial for multiple reasons.

Aside from understanding when a car may need an oil change or tune-up, maintenance records can come in handy if you have misplaced the necessary paperwork for the ownership requirements of the vehicle.

You should store it somewhere out of plain sight due to security purposes. Another great resource is using blogs and other informational websites that can advise you on where to find top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, and affordable car washes near you.

Sale documents

Keeping sale documents at home is crucial for the security of your vehicle. Your bill of sale, transfer of ownership, and inspection form are all highly important documents. They are the proof needed to verify that you truly own the vehicle. They also make sure you can legally drive the vehicle on the road.

You don't need these documents to drive. But you do need them to prove you are the vehicle's rightful owner in any incident. Therefore, storing them securely away from your car is ideal.

It is best practice to make copies, divide them up, and maintain digital versions of all your documents just in case a physical copy ceases to exist.

Keep your purchase agreement when you sell your vehicle so you can present it in the case of private sales.

Once again, keeping such critical sale documents at home is very important. Showing proof of ownership and safety verifications will make any validation process smoother.

Other Convenient Items to Keep in Your Car

Other than documents, it's common sense to keep some necessary items in the car. You won't be completely helpless in emergencies if you have them with you. Here are some convenient things to have the car:

  1. First aid kit
  2. A tire gauge
  3. Jumper cables

Another essential item for any glove box is a flashlight. Having an accessible, powerful light source can help you to find items dropped under the passenger seat or improve visibility when it gets dark.

In addition to a flashlight, keeping handy items like napkins, travel wipes, tissues, and hand sanitizer can be very useful. These all come in very handy if you unexpectedly get messier than expected after eating or spilling something inside your car.

Although unnecessary, keeping high-energy snacks like granola bars is another great idea in your glove box. They will help you maintain energy levels during long road trips or traffic jams. But ensure you clean your car after eating in it to avoid attracting unwanted pests.

Having these essential items easily accessible from inside the glove box can make all the difference when you suddenly go on an unexpected journey.


To Finish

Keeping track of your car documents in California may seem overwhelming, but it's crucial for staying compliant with state laws and avoiding any unnecessary fines or penalties.

Moving your car to and from California is easier than you think. As A-1 Auto Transport is familiar with Californian transport laws, we can conveniently transport your cherished automobile using different methods.

Browse our services to find the most appropriate for you and get an immediate shipping quote today.

Share this content on social media
for a chance to get up to 15% off your next shipment.
Copy link

Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

Email Me

Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

Visit our social, and see what our clients are saying about us

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an instant free Quote Now

Or Call Us Today and Speak Directly to Our Sales Team:

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
Copyright © 1988-2023, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.