California Car Insurance
Shopping around for the best price for California car insurance can be well worth the effort for most drivers in California. In 2006 the average expenditure in California for auto insurance was $843 and this average has steadily increased since then. In that California car insurance is a legal requirement, doing price comparison between California car insurance companies can save the consumer a lot of money over time. Luckily, price comparison websites offer an easy, and usually free, way of getting multiple car insurance quotes quickly.
California is like most states in that having some minimum level of California car insurance is required by law. In California these minimum levels are $15,000 for the death or injury of any one person in a single accident; $30,000 for all people in any single accident; and $5,000 for property damage in a single accident. These are the absolute minimum standards for car insurance in California although many people purchase larger car insurance plans that cover other things and provide more liability protection than the minimum requirements.
There are alternatives to buying car insurance allowed by California law, but most of these involve a large initial outlay of money. For example, you can get a certificate saying you are covered if you make a $35,000 cash deposit with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Other alternatives to traditional California car insurance are designed for businesses, such as receiving a certification of self-insurance from the DMV for companies operating fleets of twenty-five or more vehicles. For the individual, the only options are depositing the $35,000 lump sum with the DMV or buying normal California car insurance.
Assuming you opt for traditional California car insurance, getting multiple quotes is the next step. The California car insurance industry is extremely competitive in California and this means there are many companies out there vying for your business. Beyond the large national or statewide companies, there are many that focus on particular niche markets as well. These may include an emphasis on the type of driver (elderly, women, minority, etc.), the type of vehicle (luxury cars, all-terrain, motorcycles, etc.) or on the geographic area (state, metropolitan area, city, etc.). The number of companies offering California car insurance in any particular locality can be overwhelming.
The highly competitive nature of the car insurance industry in California also means that most companies go out of their way to make getting a general quote fairly quick and easy. The advent of the Internet has really promoted this process and with the exception of a few specialized niche insurers, most companies offer a general quote option on their website. These are almost always free and usually take a few minutes to obtain.
Many of the general quotes found online ask for enough personal information to determine your location, to get the driver's vital statistics, and to know what kind of car is to be insured. This is enough information to provide a California automobile insurance quote. Additional factors that may be used by potential insurers include your credit rating, your driving history, how you use your car, and many others.
Like any well developed industry, the auto insurance industry in California uses an array of complex formulas to determine your risk factors (the likelihood that you will make claims), and this determines your premium. The higher the risk factors, the higher the premium will be. The information provided to get a free quote online is only part of this process of assessing risk. Many people consider this extremely detailed risk analysis unfair since California car insurance is legally mandated, but as it is provided by private industry, they are the ones who govern the process.
The location information you must provide to receive a free automobile insurance quote is used in several different ways. Where you live provides the answers to several different questions. Using the general statistical data of the area, usually a zip code zone or county, the car insurance company can get a sense of your financial means. Living in Beverly Hills (zip code 90210) suggests that you are much better off than someone living in Compton (zip code 90220). The general crime rate and specific rates for particular crimes, such as auto theft, in an area also helps determine your risk. Living in Fresno, Berkeley or Sacramento - cities that are at the top of California's crime rate rankings - obviously implies greater risk than living in Thousand Oaks or Simi Valley, cities with the lowest crime rates in the state of California.
The vital statistics data requested for a free California car insurance quote is used in a detailed risk analysis process based on the average characteristics of people who make car insurance claims. Your age, gender, and marital status help a car insurance company determine your risk based upon the behavior of other people sautharing your characteristics. A lot of effort has been put into creating this risk metric and today it is standard in the auto insurance industry. The highest risk group is single male drivers that are under twenty-five years old. The lowest risk group is made up of married, middle-aged women. Other characteristics are also added by some companies, such as your ethnic background and particular habits, like smoking. Each of your personal characteristics is assigned a given value and the sum of these values determines your risk category and thus impacts your premiums.
The vehicle information you provide when getting a free quote online also tells the car insurance company about your likely driving habits and the risk involved. This process is based on the rate of prior claims for particular types of vehicles, as well as specific makes and models. Even color and other peripheral details have been taken into consideration by some companies. Usually cars with higher levels of claims are assigned higher premiums; these include sport utility vehicles, luxury and sports cars. Cars with lower claim rates and cars that are less expensive to repair usually receive lower premiums; these are often the lower-priced sedans.
Using online price comparison techniques can certainly help you find the right car insurance company to meet your needs. The general quote can give you an idea of which companies are more likely to meet your requirements and which ones to spend time exploring in more detail. Careful comparison shopping can save you thousands each year and is well worth the effort.
So what are you waiting for? Compare cost and coverage car insurance details from the Northern and Southern California cities of: Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno, Bakersfield, Monterey Bay Area, Santa Barbara, Chico, Redding, El Centro, Eureka, Palm Springs, Anaheim, Arcata, Arden-Arcade, Roseville, Berkeley, Bishop, Burbank, Carlsbad, Cedar Ridge, Chula Vista, Clearlake, Concord, Corcoran, Corona, Costa Mesa, Crescent City North, Daly City, Downey, El Monte, Escondido, Fairfield, Fontana, Fortuna, Fremont, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Glendale, Goleta, Grass Valley, Hanford, Hayward, Oakland, Oceanside, Ontario, Orange, Oxnard, Palmdale, Pasadena, Paso Robles, Petaluma, Phoenix Lake, Pomona, Porterville, Rancho Cucamonga, Red Bluff, Redwood City, Riverside, Salinas, San Bernardino, San Buenaventura, Ventura and more.