How to find the best car insurance in California
While price is important to many people, you might also want to consider other factors when choosing an auto insurance company. The best car insurance policy looks different for everyone and will depend on your needs, lifestyle and financial responsibilities. To see which car insurance company might provide the best fit and options for you, here are some steps you can take.
Consider minimum insurance requirements in California
California requires drivers to carry at least minimum levels of liability insurance coverage on their vehicles to drive legally in the state. This includes the required minimum amounts of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, all California motorists must carry at least:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $5,000 in property damage liability per accident
California also requires that insurance companies offer you uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, along with uninsured motorist property damage, but you can decline in writing if you do not want to have them. Understanding California’s car insurance laws can help you understand if you need additional coverage or higher limits.
Consider lender requirements
If you finance or lease your vehicle, you may need to purchase a car insurance policy that complies with your financial institution’s requirements. For example, collision and comprehensive insurance are typically optional coverage types, but if your car is financed, most lenders will require you to purchase them. This is commonly known as a “full coverage” policy. Your financial institution may also require you to purchase higher liability limits, especially if you lease your vehicle. You might also want to consider gap insurance, which is designed to pay the difference between your vehicle’s actual cash value and the loan or lease amount if your car is totaled or stolen. According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), it is typically cheaper to purchase gap insurance from your insurer instead of from an auto dealer.
Consider your individual needs
Every driver has a different set of auto insurance considerations. You might live in an area where traffic and tourism are heavy, like Los Angeles or San Francisco, have a teen driver to insure or maybe have a few accidents or moving violations on your driving record. Based on your unique needs, it could make sense to have collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, uninsured motorist coverage or towing and rental reimbursement. Understanding your individual coverage needs might help you narrow down the companies you request quotes from. Households with teen drivers might look for companies with specialized young driver discounts, for example.