The State of California, like most other states in the U.S., require you to maintain at least a minimum level of auto insurance coverage whether you drive a beat up old transportation special or a brand new vehicle. The problem is that most people do not know what their insurance options are, and usually end up spending too much money for coverage they do not need, or not enough money for coverage that would benefit them. If you need to get insurance in the State of California, here are a few things to consider before you sign your name on the check for the premium.
As with any purchase you will be paying for long-term, you want to be sure that you are getting the best rate. Rates not only vary based on the vehicle you drive and whether you own it, finance it or lease it, they also look at your driving record, marital status and credit rating. While this may take some effort, the only way to get a true cost for an insurance policy is to provide your information to a few different insurance companies, whether you choose to do it online or over the phone. A good insurance company will not only be able to give you a price on a premium fairly quickly based on your needs, but if there are circumstances that cause your premium to be higher, suggest an alternative. Things such as poor credit can be a prompt for them in most cases to suggest a subsidiary of their company, or even another company that will give you a better rate.
As mentioned above insurance rates vary for many reasons, even just going from one company to another. When you get a quote on a policy, you want to make sure that you are comfortable with the coverage as well as the dollar amount of the premium. If one company quotes you a certain amount for a $1000 deductible and another company is just slightly more for a $500 deductible, the obvious choice is to go with the lower deductible and pay a slightly higher premium. The deductible is the out of pocket expense that you are responsible for if you cause an accident or are in an accident where insurance for the other party is questionable. Rule of thumb is, if you do not have the amount of the deductible in your bank account or on a credit card the day you sign you policy, adjust it to fit an amount you can afford.
Know Your Driving Habits
Older people or people that work from home are unaware that they can get a great discount on their policy for limiting the miles they drive. If you do not drive your vehicle daily or within a few miles of your home at all times, you can receive a discount on your policy for being a part-time driver. If your vehicle is paid for, in some cases it can actually cut your 6-month premium in half. The less you drive the less apt you are to be involved in an accident, and this is the insurance company’s way of thanking you.
Agreed Value Policies
Depending on the insurance company you choose, if you have a vehicle that may be worth much more than what the book value is, you may want to inquire into something called “agreed value” insurance. What this means is that you and your insurance company come to an agreement on the value of your vehicle and base your insurance rates on that. If you have an older vehicle with low mileage, or a collector vehicle that you drive more than just on weekends, this may be a money saving way to protect yourself in case you are involved in an accident with that vehicle.
While these are only a few of the thing to consider when getting vehicle insurance, the most important point is that you have insurance. In the State of California if you are caught driving without insurance, you can not only lose your license and have your vehicle impounded, but you will be forced to pay for two policies instead of one to make sure that you are covered. Getting insurance is as easy as taking the time to sit down in front of the computer and search insurance companies. Most companies provide a page to apply for a quote online with no obligation. Make sure you compare these rates, as well as the coverage to make sure that you are getting what you need when you may need it the most. While it may be a bit time consuming to get an insurance policy, the amount of time it will save you in court fees and riding the bus if you are in an accident without insurance is well worth it.