California Motor Vehicle Exemption & Other Personal Property Exemptions

California Motor Vehicle Exemption & Other Personal Property Exemptions

How much equity in your car or truck can you protect if you file for bankruptcy in California?
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California Homestead Exemption
 
California Tools of Trade Exemptions

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Last Reviewed: Wed, Dec 30, 2020

California Personal Property Exemptions — State System

Personal Property Exemptions Under California Law

CAR:

Motor vehicles to $3,825, or $3,825 in auto insurance for loss or damages (husband and wife may not double)

California Exemption System 1

California Exemption System 2

Federal Non-Bankruptcy Personal Property Exemptions
(available only if using State System)

Personal Property Exemptions — Federal System § 522(d)

Can California debtors use the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions instead of California exemptions?

No. Federal exemptions not available. Instead, California has two systems of exemptions, one of which closely mirrors the federal scheme. Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 703.130 

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions under 11 U.S.C. § 522(d) are available to you if

  • you haven't lived in any state longer than 180 days for a while,
  • or
  • if your state allows the Federal exemptions as a choice.

 

Jurisdictional relevance: There are versions of this article for each State.
Selected State: California
California Homestead Exemption
 
California Tools of Trade Exemptions
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You may also be interested in:

  • California Homestead Exemption

    How much of your home equity is protected if you file for bankruptcy in California?

  • California Tools of Trade Exemptions

    Most states allow an exemption for "tools of trade or profession"... this can include tools, books, even vehicles. Sometimes can be an alternative to the motor vehicle exemption.

  • California WildCard Exemption

    Almost every state has an exemption for "any property" which is sometimes called the "wildcard" or "grubsteak" exemption. Generally this exemption is useful because it can be combined with other exemptions to fully protect equity that might otherwise go unprotected.

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