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The California car insurance market has almost 140 licensed car insurance companies but finding cheap car insurance in California takes more than just calling around to see who has the lowest rates. The key to finding cheap car insurance is understanding the details of auto insurance and performing a well organized car insurance comparison search.
Almost all the national brands have a presence in California including Geico, Progressive, 21st Century, Allstate and more but California also has a much large number of regional providers who offer both affordable coverage and a stellar reputation in the CA marketplace.
How do I find Cheap California Car Insurance?
As with the purchase of any product or service its natural to want the cheapest cost item however the wrong car insurance policy can expose you to great personal liability (unlike buying the wrong dishwasher which you can return). Auto insurance coverage provides financial protection in the event of an accident and there are things you need to know in order to make a good decision about what coverage to buy. For example:
California only requires Liability Insurance
All vehicles registered in California are required to have auto insurance but the minimum levels of coverage are very low. Drivers only need to purchase a policy with 15/30/5 coverage to stay in compliance with CA law is. This means:
- $15,000 liability insurance for injuries to an accident with one person
- $30,000 combined liability insurance per accident (all persons)
- $5,000 of liability insurance for property damage
Even though California ranks in the top 5 of all states when it comes to cost of car insurance premiums you still need to find a balance between sufficient coverage and cost. California minimum car insurance requirements have many problems.
First, they provide very limited coverage. ANY damage exceeding these minimum limits a driver can be held personally responsible for.
Secondly, California car insurance laws operate under the tort system so you have no protection from an injured person filing a lawsuit. With only $15,000 in coverage you can bet an attorney will seek to sue you personally for damages over and above your policy limits and $15,000 is less than the cost of a night in an ER some places.
Thirdly, Liability insurance only provides protection for damage to other people. You have no coverage for damages to your vehicle if the accident was your fault.
What kind of California car insurance should I purchase?
This is where understanding auto insurance coverage plays a big factor in finding the best cheap car insurance quotes. If you simply want to comply with CA state law you and purchase the cheapest policy around then odds are you just have the bare minimum coverage which provides little protection. All California drivers should consider at least the following types of auto insurance:
- Comprehensive Coverage
- Collision Coverage
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
- GAP Insurance (especially for new car owners)
- Liability Insurance
You also want to make sure you have sufficient levels of coverage. Many CA drivers opt for $100,000 or more in liability and collision coverage which can be purchased for a nominal increase.
While cheap car insurance is a very respectable goal try to understand how much car insurance your particular profile requires and then compare California car insurance companies equally asking for policy quotes using these terms. You also want to apply as many car insurance discounts as you can but the first step will always be to calculate how much insurance you need.
Cheap car insurance is certainly possible as drivers have a wealth of auto insurers to choose from but the key to finding the best rates will always be to start with understanding what product you are looking for. You would not visit an electronics store asking for the cheapest TV but look for the Cheapest TV with HD, surround sound and other features. Same with auto insurance – know the policy coverage you need then shop around for the lowest rates.
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