California Car Insurance Laws, Rates, and Minimums
Locate Cheap Auto Insurance in California
Since no two insurers price policies the same way, shoppers searching for the cheapest car insurance in California will need to compare personalized rate quotes from a variety of companies. And shoppers can do this in the most efficient manner by completing the following quote-comparison form. Simply input a ZIP code below, which will bring up a short form requesting only non-sensitive information necessary to generate multiple quotes. After completing the form, rates are provided from a handful of reputable California auto insurance companies.
Compare CA Car Insurance Quotes to Find Cheap Rates
There are 19 different factors-such as driving history, marital status and a car's make and model-that insurers in the state are allowed to take into account when setting rates. No two insurers weigh those factors identically, so conducting a CA auto insurance comparison showing prices for multiple companies is the only way to get a full picture of a driver's coverage options and to find the cheapest rates.
CA Coverage Requirements
California car insurance laws require drivers to have the following liability coverages:
$15,000 Bodily Injury Liability (coverage per person)
$30,000 Bodily Injury Liability (coverage per accident)
$5,000 Property Damage Liability (coverage per accident)
But this coverage-commonly abbreviated as 15/30/5-is only the minimum amount of protection that policies in the state must provide.
Choosing the Best Car Insurance in California
Drivers may want to buy protection that exceeds the minimum limits, since in serious accidents medical costs per person can easily exceed $15,000 and property damage costs can easily total more than $5,000. The best CA auto insurance is one that adequately protects the insured from liabilities for significant damage that is worse than average. The Insurance Information Institute says that, in 2009, the average bodily injury claim was about $13,500, and the average property damage claim was about $2,900.
Note that liability policies pay only for other parties' damages that are caused by the policyholder. They will not provide compensation for the policyholder's own damages. Drivers may want to factor in comprehensive, collision, medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when getting California car insurance quotes to find out how much it would cost to insure against their own losses.
Why Purchase California Car Insurance?
There are around 450,000 to 500,000 accidents reported annually in the Golden State, according to the Highway Patrol. Approximately 60 percent of those are property-damage only, while the remaining 40 percent result in injuries and, in some cases, fatalities.
At that rate, licensed drivers in the state have greater than a 1-in-25 chance of getting into an accident over the course of a year, a fact that-along with the state's financial responsibility laws-makes choosing to buy auto insurance in California a sensible financial decision.
There are also legal penalties for not having a policy. Motorists who are found to be uninsured may be fined hundreds of dollars, according to the state vehicle code. Vehicles may also be impounded if they turn out to be uninsured. And, of course, uninsured drivers who cause accidents may have to pay out of pocket for the damages they cause.