CSAA Car Insurance Review

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The American Automobile Association (AAA) has been helping its members for decades when it comes to anything and everything automotive. The organization serves members across the nation and is made up of regional clubs that serve members locally. The northern California branch of AAA provides auto insurance to its members with members-only low rates and special discounts.

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History of the California State Automobile Association

The California State Automobile Association, or the CSAA, is one of the largest automobile clubs in AAA’s National Federation. The motor club has since been renamed and now goes by AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah (AAA NCNU.) The name was changed in 2008 for marketing reasons, although AAA continues to have legal rights to the California State Automobile Association name. The CSAA history goes back to a meeting in 1900 of a group of car buffs that took place at the Cliff House in San Francisco. Back then, the car buffs agreed that local roads needed improvements, better signage and improved traffic laws. They eventually formed the Automobile Association of California. In 1905, laws were passed to provide a uniform set of regulations for cars driving on California’s highways. In 1913, CSAA started offering car insurance to its members.

Products Offered

CSAA offers car insurance to go along with all of its other automobile offerings, such as maps, travel assistance and towing services. In addition, the company also offers the following products:

  • Motorcycle and ATV insurance
  • Watercraft insurance
  • Personal umbrella insurance
  • Mexico auto insurance
  • Life insurance

CSAA’s Services

CSAA has always provided many services to drivers since its beginning. The organization provides members with free trip tiks, guides and road conditions from its website. Additionally, some DMV services such as car registration renewal or ownership transfer are available on the CSAA website or in any of the walk-in offices. CSAA offers its well-known emergency road service, coming to the rescue of stranded motorists and reimbursing members for locksmith services, windshield repairs, towing and other services. CSAA provides resources for car maintenance such as battery service and inspection services, along with CSAA-approved auto repair shops and discounts on parts and services.

CSAA Membership

The services provided by CSAA are only available to members. Joining the organization is easy and it is open to anyone. The annual cost is nominal, and members receive emergency road service and all of CSAA’s other services immediately upon becoming a member. CSAA’s emergency roadside assistance helps stranded motorists by arriving at least 15 minutes sooner than other providers, and covers the member no matter what car he is driving. The coverage takes care of every member 24/7, from coast to coast.

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CSAA offers an auto buying service and even has an AAA Visa card that gives reward points. The auto buying service allows members to shop for cars with no haggling, gives superior customer service throughout the whole transaction, and provides prearranged prices for cars, whether new, certified pre-owned or used vehicles.

CSAA’s Financial Strength

CSAA maintains solid financial strength by serving its members well and providing exactly what its members need. The company received an A+ rating from A.M. Best, the financial rating agency. The rating agency evaluates CSAA’s insurance group capitalization, market presence and operating performance. CSAA has also received an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.

How much is car insuance from CSAA?

In order to benchmark CSAA’s insurance premiums against those of other providers, the Department of Insurance in California has conducted a survey of insurance rates for many of the major auto insurers. For a hypothetical example, take a 40-year-old male driving a Honda accord with a clean driving record and 10,000 miles logged each year. CSAA’s estimated annual insurance premium for this hypothetical driver was $1,409. This is slightly better than the national average insurance rate, estimated for standard insurance coverage across all insurance companies, of $1,439 for 2011.

Available Discounts

CSAA offers drivers reduced insurance rates for driving a hybrid car or a vehicle that uses alternative fuel. Additionally, drivers can save up to 10% if they combine auto insurance with a homeowners or renters insurance policy, and CSAA offers even bigger discounts for adding a life insurance policy.

In addition to discounts on auto insurance and other insurance products, CSAA provides discounts on many travel-related items such as car rental and hotels, and provides other discounts on entertainment, personal services, shopping and restaurants, and home and business servuces. The CSAA website has a search function to look for discounts, and includes a listing by category. The discounts name the vendor, describe the offer and discount percentage, and have a search box to find the nearest store locations for each offer.

CSAA Customer Service Review

CSAA members enjoy top notch customer service and top quality products. CSAA puts its members first, and makes it easy for them to contact customer service through e-mail, phone, regular mail or an in-person visit. The organization goes out of its way to provide high- quality service to its members, and agents are available to consult with members and assist in making the right car insurance decision.

How to find the Best Car Insurance Rates

Car insurance can be expensive, although it doesn’t have to be. One of the easiest ways to get cheaper car insurance is to shop around. Compare rates online first, and check for local insurance providers. Knowing exactly what you want and need in terms of the type of coverage and coverage limits helps a lot too. Many insurance companies offer information on the different types of car insurance on their websites, making the research part easy. In fact, some insurers even have calculators that can estimate premiums and show the new rate after discounts have been applied. Review all of the available discounts, and be prepared to ask an agent for any other discounts. For shoppers buying full-coverage car insurance, choosing a high deductible can significantly lower the premiums.

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