Compare Auto Insurance in California
California state law requires auto insurance policies to provide a certain minimum amount of protection, but that doesn't mean the protection will cover all types of losses or that it will pay for all damages. Before running a California car insurance comparison, shoppers need to know how much liability coverage they want and whether they should get additional protections.
Compare Different Levels of Auto Insurance Coverage
California's liability minimums look relatively low when compared with those in other parts of the country. Only two states have bodily injury minimums lower than California's, and no states have property damage minimums that are lower than the Golden State's.
For a single accident, Californians with the minimum amount of coverage required by law have $35,000 worth of protection total. That breaks down to $30,000 total to pay for others' bodily injuries caused by the policyholder and $5,000 to pay for others' property damage caused by the policyholder. Those minimums can easily be surpassed in a serious accident.
And beefing up a policy's liability protection may not raise prices as much as shoppers would expect, especially if they compare prices between a number of companies.
An analysis of online auto insurance quotes from seven insurers in California showed that doubling the total amount of liability coverage from the state-set minimums would increase premiums by between 6 percent and 13 percent, depending on the company. If that coverage were to be doubled again-to about $120,000 total in liability coverage-premiums would go up by another 2.6 percent to 7 percent. These amounts will vary depending on the driver and the company.
When comparing coverages, the minimum levels will be abbreviated as 15/30/5. The 15 represents the $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person in an accident; the 30 represents the $30,000 of bodily injury liability total per accident; the 5 represents the $5,000 of property damage liability per accident.
Consider Including Optional Coverages in a ComparisonBut liability insurance only pays for other parties' damages that are caused by the policyholder. It does not pay for any of the policyholder's own damages. If motorists want to insure against their own losses, they will need to know the types of protection they desire before generating car insurance comparisons in California, since adding protections brings a corresponding premium increase.
Consumers can compare and buy California car insurance for the following optional coverages:
- Collision - pays for damages to the policyholder's car as the result of a collision, regardless of fault
- Comprehensive - pays for damages to the policyholder's car from incidents other than a collision (such as theft, weather damage, etc.)
- Medical payments - pays for a specified amount of the policyholder's injury damages, regardless of fault
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist - pays for the policyholder's damages when the at-fault driver is either uninsured, is a hit-and-run driver or does not have enough coverage to pay for all the damages that he or she has caused.