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What is Car Insurance?
Operating motor vehicles comes with associated risks. While drivers assume these risks every day, the risks are also something that should be mitigated whenever possible. One way that California drivers may financially protect themselves is by purchasing car insurance.
Car insurance policies are quite common, but they also can be tailored to a particular diver’s needs. Most policies package together individual coverages that can be customized for a specific situation.
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Who in California needs Auto Insurance?
Most drivers in California need to carry auto insurance, for the state generally mandates minimum coverage levels:
- $30,000 of personal injury liability that applies to multiple people’s injuries
- $15,000 of personal injury liability that applies to a single person’s injuries
- $5,000 of property damage liability that applies to others’ vehicles and property
While drivers can meet these requirements by purchasing a surety bond or making a DMV deposit in the amount of $35,000, the vast majority of drivers purchase a traditional auto insurance policy instead.
In many cases, drivers choose to include coverages beyond what the state requires their auto policy to have. Having more protection is generally recommended because the state-mandated coverages might not provide enough protection if there’s an accident.
What coverages are available through Auto Insurance Policies?
Most auto insurance policies make the following coverages available:
- Liability Coverage: Might cover injuries caused to other drivers
- Medical Payments Coverage: Might cover medical costs of people inside the vehicle
- Collision Coverage: Might cover accident damage to the vehicle
- Comprehensive Coverage: Might cover other causes of damage to the vehicle
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Might cover injuries to people in other vehicles and pedestrians
- Property Damage Liability Coverage: Might cover damage to other vehicles and property
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Might cover accidents with underinsured drivers
Some drivers also purchase gap coverage, rental car reimbursement and/or emergency roadside assistance.
What is Gap Coverage in an Auto Policy?
Gap coverage is normally purchased when a vehicle is financed or leased. Because vehicles frequently depreciate faster than payments are made, there is often a gap between what a vehicle is worth and what’s owed on it. Gap coverage may fill in this gap and provide important protection if the vehicle is totaled.
Most vehicle loans and leases state that the driver must maintain gap coverage if there’s a difference between what a vehicle is worth and what’s owed. An insurance broker who specializes in auto policies can help drivers who finance or lease find any necessary gap coverage.
Is California a No-Fault State?
California is not a no-fault state. In no-fault states, drivers can usually only sue other drivers over an accident if certain conditions are met. When an accident occurs in California, drivers can generally sue other drivers without meeting specific requirements.
What savings do Insurance Companies offer on Auto Policies?
Most insurance companies offer a variety of potential auto policy discounts. Some of the more common ones are:
- Multi-policy discounts
- Bundled policies discounts
- Loyalty discounts
- Security system discounts
Along with pursuing all available discounts, drivers can often also save by shopping policy options with an independent broker. Independent brokers are free to compare policies from multiple insurers, which makes finding the lowest rate for a given set of coverages easy.
How can drivers get Car Insurance?
For help insuring a California-registered vehicle, contact the independent insurance brokers at Heffernan Walton Insurance. Our brokers will help you choose coverages, deductibles and limits, and then we’ll show you the best available car insurance policies that meet those stipulations. With our assistance, you can be confident that you’re well-protected when on the road.