The Consequences of Not Having California Car Insurance

There are several consequences to not having California car insurance. It is important to follow the laws, not only because you could get into legal trouble, but also because of the financial strain not being covered by insurance can cause you and your family.

When you don’t have insurance are in an accident, you could end up having your license suspended. You will also be responsible for any costs, including damages to other people’s property, medical bills for drivers and passengers in the other vehicle and in your own vehicle as well. Many times you will also get a ticket for not having insurance which can cost as much as $500, or the same cost of paying for an entire 6-month auto insurance policy. Rather than paying double, it is important that you pay for and keep your auto insurance policy current.

If you go in to purchase a new car from a car salesman, it is required that you have California insurance prior to driving the car off the lot. If you are pulled over and don’t have your insurance card with you or you are uninsured, you will be given a ticket and you will have to go to court to either prove you had insurance at the time or that you purchase a policy after you were ticketed. It will then be up to the judge whether or not you still have to pay the fine.

You can avoid this all by purchasing a California automobile insurance policy and keeping it current and paid at all times when you are driving a vehicle. It will save you a lot of stress and money in the long run.

Getting Medical Insurance Coverage in Your Auto Insurance Policy

If you have a vehicle, you probably have an auto insurance policy. Does that policy have medical coverage? Many people don’t know the answer to that question even if they’ve had their policy for many years. For people who aren’t sure about their coverage, the time to check is right now before an accident happens. If you’re involved in a vehicle accident and you don’t have medical insurance as part of your auto policy, you may be stuck with high medical bills that you aren’t sure how to pay. Of course, many people have other insurance that will cover them, but with the large number of uninsured Americans, that’s not always the case.

Read your vehicle policy carefully and see what kind of coverage you actually have. If you’re still unsure, call or email your agent and ask what your coverage limits mean. If you don’t have medical coverage as part of your auto insurance plan, it’s time to change that. That way, you’ll have peace of mind any time you drive. No one wants to get into an accident, but you’ll want to be financially protected if something does happen, especially if you are involved in a collision where the other person doesn’t have insurance and was found to be at fault in the accident.

Even if you have coverage for bodily injury and medical bills, take the time to go over your limits and see what you really have for the price you’re paying. If you aren’t getting much coverage, you may want to talk to your agent about raising your limits. You may also want to consider changing insurance companies to get a better deal so you can have higher limits on your policy and not pay too much for your safety and security.

Price versus Coverage When Buying an Auto Insurance Policy

When you’re spending money for auto insurance, you want to strike a good balance between price and coverage. It’s not a good idea to buy the cheapest thing you can find, but it’s also not necessary to always choose the option with the highest cost. There are many options that can help you find some middle ground. Of course, you’ll want to err on the side of caution when it comes to your coverage because you can’t afford not to do so. Find out what your current insurance policy offers you, and break down your coverage for each auto if you have more than one vehicle. Then, take a look at the price (total and for each car) that you’re paying so you can get a realistic picture of your insurer’s charges.

To strike a balance that you can be happy with and that will still keep you well-protected, it’s a good idea to go over your policy every year and make sure that it still meets your needs. If you change vehicles, you should also consider what policy adjustments you might need to make (such as adding collision coverage if the vehicle is financed) so that you can keep yourself and your vehicles properly protected.

When it comes to making a decision about your insurance policy, talk with your agent and consider shopping around with other companies to see what they are offering. Avoid companies that have poor reputations and companies whose names you don’t recognize. These companies will often have lower prices than their larger competitors, but they may not have a good balance of price and quality. In order to provide the best protection for your auto, shop carefully and make sure you’re comfortable with your policy and company choice before you sign on the dotted line.

How to Overcome High Prices if You’re a High-Risk Driver

You’re a high risk driver. Maybe you drive your car hundreds of miles every week to get to your job. Maybe you’ve had several accidents in your past. Maybe the police have stopped you for speeding far too many times. Whatever the reason, you make your insurance company nervous. And, because of this, every insurer out there wants to charge you high prices when it comes to auto insurance.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When you’re a high risk driver — for whatever the reason — you’re more likely to suffer expensive accidents. This costs insurance companies money. To protect themselves, they’ll charge you higher rates. It’s the way the insurance business works.

But, there is hope for drivers with checkered records or high-mileage jobs. Even if you’re a high risk driver, you can reduce the amount of money you’ll pay for insurance. You just have to take other measures to overcome those high prices that insurers want to charge you.

You can consider, for instance, taking out a homeowners or life insurance policy from the company with which you already have an auto insurance policy. There’s a good reason for this, too. Many insurers offer discounts to customers who take out more than one type of policy with them. This is good business as it encourages customers to take out extra policies with a single insurer. But, it can also leave you with lower overall prices on your auto insurance policy.

Of course, the easiest way to lower the prices you pay for auto insurance is to establish a clean driving record from now on. If you can prove to your insurer that you’re not at a high risk of getting into an accident, you just might find your policy prices falling.

What You Need to Know About Property Damage Liability Insurance

Liability insurance for property damage is a mandatory policy for auto owners in most states. While it can refer to other items, such as a building, it is most often used to refer to a primary part of an auto insurance policy. Note that many states require at least $5,000 of property damage liability insurance.

This type of insurance should not be overlooked, however. It is a good idea to obtain a sizable amount of insurance. For instance, if you were to get into a serious accident, the minimum would not likely cover the potential costs that you would face. As a result, you could face litigation that would entail out-of-pocket expenses. These figures can be quite large.

Liability insurance for property damage can be purchased either as a single limit or split limit policy:

  • Single limit policy allows you to use the entire amount purchased for bodily injury and property damage liability. The amount can be divided in any combination, making it a more versatile option.
  • Split limit policy involves three numbers, with the third being the amount for property damage liability for each accident. The latter number refers to your property damage liability – the other two numbers refer to bodily injury per person and the amount per accident.

As you can imagine the potential scenarios can be quite costly. For instance, if you swerve and cause damage to an expensive parked car, this is where your property damage liability insurance would come into play. Many experts purchasing at least $50,000 in insurance for every vehicle, at a minimum. A higher amount is often recommended, due to the potential costs that could face an owner.

It is a good idea to go over liability insurance for property damage with your insurance agent. The agent will be able to describe how it plays a role in your overall auto insurance policy, along with any questions that you may have.

Liability for property damage is a core area of any auto policy. Discuss it with your agent to find out what policy limits are appropriate for your insurance needs and budget.

How to Determine if you Need Mexican Auto Insurance Coverage

Your auto insurance policy covers you while you are driving in the United States. Not all policies provided coverage if you cross the border into Mexico. In addition, the coverage that is provided is less than you have for driving in the U.S. You also need to be aware of the requirements for insurance set by the Mexican government.

Liability coverage

While your auto policy may protect you and your vehicle while driving in Mexico, you must have additional liability coverage. If you are found to be at fault, you will be liable for any injuries or property damages. The Mexican government has strict requirements for liability insurance and failure to have adequate protection can result in legal action.

It is also important to note that some portions of the country do not require Mexican drivers to have liability coverage. This means that in the event of an accident, the other driver could be at fault but not have any liability insurance. Without your own coverage, you will not be compensated for damages or injuries.

Limited distances

Your policy may provide you with coverage for a limited amount of travel into Mexico. This protection may only apply for driving a few miles across the U.S. border. If you travel further south, even by only a few miles, you will no longer be covered. This can present a significant risk if you become lost or loose track of how far you have traveled.

Leased and rented vehicles

If you lease your vehicle, you are required to obtain a permit from the lender before traveling into Mexico. The lender will require proof of sufficient Mexican auto insurance. Rental vehicles may offer collision coverage but any liability protection does not extend into Mexico.

You should carefully review your auto insurance policy with your insurance agent before traveling across any country borders. You can face serious financial risks and legal consequences if you do not have the sufficient amount of insurance required. In addition, you should inquire about the availability of legal assistance in the event of an accident.

The Basic Types of Auto Insurance Coverage Options Explained

When you’re purchasing an auto insurance policy, it’s helpful to first understand what basic types of coverage are available to you. Once they have been explained to you, you will be better able to pick the most helpful options, while saving money by foregoing options you don’t need. Here is a basic explanation of the major parts of an auto insurance policy.

Liability Coverage

The main type of auto insurance required in most states is liability coverage. This never pays for damages to you or your vehicle, but instead is designed to pay for any damages to other people and property for which you are deemed liable. It is broken down into property damage liability and bodily injury liability. Your insurance company will pay claims up to the maximum amount of coverage you purchased, after which point the other party could come after you for additional money if the damages have still not been fully paid for. Because injuries can be so costly, you should typically get more than the minimum required liability insurance unless you have absolutely no assets to protect.

Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

This type of coverage is designed to pay for repairs to your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage is for damages not related to a collision, like theft or a tree falling on your car. Collision coverage is for accidents, whether you were hit in a parking lot, you ran into a pole, or you collided with another vehicle. With both of these types, you have to pay the deductible you selected before your auto insurance company steps in to pay for the rest of the repairs.

Other Coverage Options

Some states require that you purchase PIP (personal injury protection) or medical payments coverage, which pays for medical and related costs of you and your passengers, regardless of which driver is at fault. You also may purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that will apply if the other driver is at fault but does not have adequate insurance to pay your claims. You can also choose optional types of coverage like rental car insurance and gap insurance.

What should I look for when purchasing umbrella insurance?

All of us have heard the term "policy limits" when buying auto insurance or homeowners insurance, but most likely never gave it much thought. Simply put policy limits are when your insurance stops paying and you are liable for losses past the policy limits.

Say you have an auto insurance policy with $100 thousand liability insurance per person and $300,000 per accident. This means that if you injure an individual in an auto wreck and are sued successfully for $250 thousand you are on the hook for additional $150 thousand dollars.

The way to gain protection above your policy limits is to purchase an excess liability policy. These policies are often called "umbrella policies."

Buying Umbrella Insurance

Before you go purchasing an umbrella policy you must check on your auto policy and homeowners/renters/condo insurance policy. When you buy an umbrella policy you must have certain minimum liability coverage in those basic policies. Usually for auto insurance it is $100/$300 thousand.

Generally the least amount of coverage you can buy when purchasing an umbrella policy is $1 million, but many folks opt to extend their liability coverage for personal damage and injury to as high as $5 million. They do this because the additional coverage is very affordable.

Things to Do When Purchasing an Umbrella Policy

  • Make sure the policy covers the cost of legal defense or negotiations in the event you are sued
  • Exposure to slander and liable claims is greater in the age of the Internet, make sure this is a covered risk
  • Before you buy get a sample policy and look over all the issues that are covered, even better, get two or three sample policies in order to compare coverage.
  • Once you have decided on all the coverage you want get quotes from three insurance companies, you can do this online or through your broker if you have one.

Umbrella policies are not for the rich only. An accident or incident can endanger all your assets, including your home, your savings and if you are a business owner even your business. Coverage expense is very affordable and the peace of mind you have knowing you have protected yourself is well worth the cost.

How are Auto Insurance Rates in a Particular Areas Determined?

There are many factors that go into determining the cost of an auto insurance policy. The total amount a consumer pays is based on the potential amount of risk seen by the insurance company. The total risk takes into consideration the driver, the vehicle and the geographic area where the vehicle is registered and driven. Understanding the geographic risks may help consumers locate the best insurance for their needs.

Claim frequency of a defined group:

Groups can be defined by driver’s age, experience, marital status and the particular area of residence. The location factor will take into consideration the number of claims for the area and the dollar value of the claims. Location is normally referred to as territory and the territory group looks at a few specific factors.

Number of vehicles on the road:

Residents in larger cities may find higher auto insurance rates than those in rural locations. As the number of vehicles on the road increases, the potential for accidents increases. Insurers will look at the number of vehicles per square mile. While a consumer may not be able to control the location, a discount may be available for drivers that carpool. If the vehicle is not used on a daily basis, the insurance rate may be reduced.

Value and repair costs for vehicles:

The overall value of vehicles in some territories may be a factor in that group’s rate. Certain locations have a larger number of high-end vehicles on the road. Repair costs may also be higher for particular areas. These factors might not make a large difference in how the insurance rate is determined but can be a consideration.

Theft rates:

Certain locations have higher rates for auto theft. These particular areas are usually urban. Even if a vehicle is not being insured against theft, the potential for damages may increase the costs. This is one factor that a consumer may be able to influence if the vehicle is equipped with reliable anti-theft devices.

Fraud:

Unfortunately, a particular area may have a higher rate of insurance fraud. Areas that are experiencing a heavy economic downturn can be seen as riskier to an insurer.

To fully understand the factors that affect how auto insurance rates are determined, speak with an agent. A professional will be able to find the best auto rate for a particular area and the other factors combined to quote the insurance cost.

Who Needs Short Term Car Insurance?

The typical driver purchases an auto insurance policy that lasts for six months at a time between renewals. However, there are times when a driver may need to buy insurance for a shorter time, usually anywhere from a day to a month. In these situations, it’s much better to purchase short term car insurance, which adjusts the cost of the policy to make it more affordable to keep for just a short time. You should get quotes on a short term auto insurance policy if you fall into any of these categories.

Borrowing a Vehicle: If you’re borrowing the vehicle of someone who does not live in the same household as you, that person’s insurance policy may not extend to cover you. In this situation, you should purchase your own short term insurance on that car. This insurance will not only keep you from the awkward situation of crashing your friend’s vehicle and not having money to pay for repairs, but it also protects you from financially liability for the injuries of others and damage to personal property of other parties in the accident.

Renting a Car: Purchasing a rental car policy from the agency is notoriously expensive, so it’s best to come to the rental desk with your own policy already in effect. If you have a policy on your personal vehicle, that same coverage usually extends to a rental as well. However, if you don’t carry comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle, this means that you won’t have this coverage on the rental car. In this situation, buying a short term policy with comprehensive and collision can protect you from being financially liable for damage to the rental car.

Driving Seasonally: Auto collectors often have vehicles they don’t spend much time actually driving. In this situation, you may have a basic policy you keep on the car for the year to meet the minimum requirements in your state, but you want to get a more extensive policy during the season when your vehicle is actually on the road. Therefore, if you’re planning to use a vehicle that has minimal insurance coverage, a short term policy can cover it for that short time. The policy is perfect for when you’re driving a special car to an auto show, taking it on a road trip, or another similar situation.