Auto Insurance

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What is Car Insurance?

Operating a motor vehicle comes with certain inherent risks, for even the safest drivers in California will likely be in an accident one day. Car insurance won’t prevent an accident from eventually occurring, but the insurance may provide financial assistance in the event of a covered claim. The costs of an accident can be devastating if this assistance isn’t in place.

Car insurance policies are common but also specialized. Most of these policies are package policies that have multiple coverages in them, and those coverages can typically be adjusted to suit a particular driver’s needs.

Who in California Should Have Auto Insurance?

California generally requires drivers to carry minimum amounts of liability insurance: including:

  • $15,000 of personal injury liability coverage for one person
  • $30,000 of personal injury liability coverage for multiple people
  • $5,000 of property damage liability coverage

These minimum requirements can be met by making a cash deposit ($35,000) with the DMV, obtaining a self-insurance certificate from the DMV, obtaining a surety bond ($35,000) or purchasing auto insurance. Purchasing an auto insurance policy is the most common way to meet these requirements, and it’s the easiest the vast majority of the time.

Additionally, many drivers choose to purchase more protection than is required by state law. While extra coverage might not be legally required, only getting the minimum-required protections can leave drivers exposed to substantial risk. A single major accident could have long-lasting consequences if no extra protections are in place.

What Coverages Can Drivers Get Through Auto Insurance?

In addition to the state-mandated coverages, drivers can get a variety of other protections for injuries, damage to their vehicle and damage to others’ property. Some of the more commonly offered coverages are:

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage:

Usually covers injuries to people outside the insured vehicle

Personal Injury Protection (PIP):

Usually covers injuries to drivers and passengers in the insured vehicle

Medical Payments Coverage:

Usually covers medical costs resulting from injuries to drivers and passengers

Collision Coverage:

Usually covers damage to vehicle that occurs during a multi-vehicle accident

Comprehensive Coverage:

Usually covers damage to vehicle that occurs in a non-accident incident

Property Damage Liability Coverage:

Usually covers damage to others’ property

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage:

Usually covers accidents involving improperly insured drivers

Along with these, drivers may also want/need gap coverage or rental car reimbursement coverage. The former normally covers the difference between a vehicle’s fair market value and what’s still owed on the vehicle. The latter normally helps pay for a rental vehicle if the insured vehicle is rendered inoperable by a covered incident.

An insurance agent who specializes in auto insurance coverages can help drivers explore all of their coverage options and choose the protections that make sense.

How Can Drivers Save on Their Auto Policies’ Premiums?

Auto policy premiums vary from one insurer to the next, and each insurer determines what discounts they offer. In most cases, drivers might qualify for lower premiums if they do any of the following:

  • Maintain an auto policy with the same insurer for multiple years
  • Remain accident-free for multiple years
  • Install a car alarm or other security measures
  • Bundle policies (e.g. homeowners and auto policies)

Additionally, drivers can make sure they’re paying the lowest premiums for the coverages they need by exploring policy options with an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents are free to request and compare quotes from multiple insurance companies.

How Can California Drivers Get Car Insurance?

For help finding car insurance in California, contact the independent insurance agents of Crusberg Decker Financial. Our agents have the expertise necessary to help you find the best available auto policy, and we can recommend the best one from among many insurers’ offerings.