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Securing a cheap car Assurance premium is a top priority for many California drivers. So, to help you find the best rates available, follow these tips for finding the cheapest rates in California.

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Related: Compare auto insurance rates with EverQuote

California Auto Insurance Requirements

When operating a private vehicle in the state of California, you must meet established liability insurance requirements. When you are legally responsible for injury or property damage caused to someone else, liability insurance can compensate that person. Conversely, if you are the victim of a collision, you can file a claim against the other driver.

As a California driver, you must meet minimum liability requirements, including:

  • $ 5,000 for property damage per person

  • $ 15,000 for injury or death per person

  • $ 30,000 for injuries or death of more than one person

When do I need to provide proof of insurance?

You must show proof of coverage when:

In the state of California, you are permitted to provide proof of coverage via a cell phone or hard copy that you keep in your vehicle.

Penalties for driving without auto insurance in California

Failure to meet California auto insurance requirements has consequences. For example, if you are caught driving a vehicle without adequate coverage, you could face the following penalties:

What other auto coverage should I buy?

For starters, the state’s automobile liability requirements are usually lower than what you need. In addition, lawsuits can be costly and even financially devastating. So if you don’t have adequate liability coverage to protect all of your assets (investments, savings accounts, etc.), you could be putting your financial well-being at risk. Therefore, increasing your liability limits might be a smart move.

If your coverage needs exceed the limits of your auto and home liability limits, a framework insurance policy is an affordable way to get adequate liability protection. So, if you are responsible for a catastrophic collision, umbrella coverage can protect your financial resources from a heavy lawsuit.

Here are a few other covers you might want to consider:

  • Collision and multi-risk insurance. Buying liability insurance leaves your car vulnerable to property damage. Collision and Comprehensive Coverage pays to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged, destroyed, or stolen. Collision coverage protects your car against damage resulting from another vehicle, and Comprehensive coverage covers your car against damage not related to an accident.

  • Medical Payments or Injury Protection (PIP). If you are the victim of an accident, this coverage may cover the cost of treatment if you or a passenger is injured. Additionally, coverage may include compensation for medical payments, lost wages, or even funeral expenses.

  • Coverage of underinsured or uninsured motorists (UM). If you’re hit by another vehicle and injured yourself, this type of coverage can cover your medical bills if the driver at fault doesn’t have enough coverage or doesn’t have liability insurance at all. Like PIP, it can also cover your lost wages or the pain and suffering resulting from the collision. With 15 percent of California drivers uninsured, according to the Insurance Research Council, coverage for uninsured motorists is worth considering.

Related: Compare auto insurance rates with EverQuote

California Auto Insurance Pricing Factors

Auto insurance pricing varies widely from insurer to insurer, as each company typically uses a variety of factors to determine rates. Certain factors may include your claim history, driving record, make and model of your vehicle, and your level of driving experience.

California auto insurers may also use other factors, including:

  • Age

  • Civil status

  • Occupation

  • Education

  • Postal code

It’s important to note that California insurers cannot use your credit or gender to determine your auto rates.

Can my auto insurance in California be canceled?

Yes, like in other states, California law says your auto insurance can be canceled for a variety of reasons, including:

  • You are behind on the premium payments.

  • You, members of your household or anyone who drives your car on a regular basis have had your driver’s license suspended or revoked during the period of insurance. Or if the policy is a renewal, during the term of the policy or the 180 days immediately preceding the effective date of the policy.

  • You have made a fraudulent auto insurance claim.

  • You have misrepresented information about you, members of your household or anyone who regularly drives your car, including driving records; annual miles traveled in previous years; number of years of driving experience; past auto insurance claims; or any other factor deemed by the California Insurance Commissioner to result in a substantial risk of loss.

Auto insurance companies must give you at least 10 days’ notice if they choose to cancel your policy due to missed payments. If the contract is terminated for reasons other than non-payment, insurers must send 20 days notice. Any notices will be mailed to you, your lender (if you have financed a car) and any interested parties.

When is a vehicle considered totaled in California

Auto insurance companies may decide to total your car if it is beyond repair after a collision. California law defines a total car as an “uneconomical to repair” car.

If you do not purchase Collision and Comprehensive Coverage, your insurer will not reimburse you for the damaged or destroyed car. Therefore, if you want reimbursement for a totaled car, be sure to purchase this type of insurance.

What if I have a complaint against my insurance company?

Do you have a complaint against your current insurance company? If this is the case, the California Department of Insurance may be there to help, as this organization is responsible for handling insurance-related complaints. For help with your problem, visit get the help page.

California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program

To prevent drivers from forgoing auto insurance because of affordability, California has a program that makes auto insurance accessible to low-income individuals and families. Visit MyLowCostAuto.com to confirm if your income level qualifies.

Other qualification requirements include:

  • You must be 16 years of age or older

  • You can provide proof of a valid California driver’s license

  • Your vehicle is worth $ 25,000 or less

  • You have a good driving record

Related: Compare auto insurance rates with EverQuote

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