California – Factors that Affect Auto Insurance Rates


There are so many factors that affect car insurance rates all across the country. Some are universal and yet some are specific for California residents. Becoming familiar with these factors will help you make better decisions when purchasing your car insurance or when shopping around for a better rate.

First up is verifying how your insurance company determines the value of your car if it is beyond repair and agents have signed off on it as totaled? The value is confirmed through computerized quotes from automobile vendors, general market research and the trusty Blue Book. The good news is they will be able to come to a fair and reasonable price for your vehicle. The problem lies only if they cannot find a comparable replacement from a nearby outlet. The further away they must travel to replace the vehicle, the more it may cost you.

Auto insurance companies in California are not required to pay the sales tax and registration fees for your replacement vehicle although 29 other states are. But you can still try to get them to cover those fees as insurance policies are required to at least put you back into the same position you were in before the accident.

Try not to submit claims for smaller fender benders that can be handled directly. Submitting claims will raise your rates faster than anything, and sometimes the cost of the repair is just about what you would have to pay for your deductible anyway. You could see an increase of around 40 percent when you submit a claim.

Some insurance companies have a forgiveness policy where they will overlook the first accident if you have had a good driving record in the past.

It is permissible in the State of California to use your credit history in evaluating your insurance premiums. Try to improve your credit score if you can as simple adjustments within a short amount of time will be reflected in lower rates for you and your family.

Make sure you take the appropriate steps when switching your insurance to another carrier. You must notify your current company and let them know in writing that you are canceling your insurance. If you just let it go thinking that you just start over with the new company, your insurance history is going to show a lapse in coverage, which will show you as a risk and increase your rates.

Adding a teenage driver to your insurance policy is not required until they get their drivers license. If you forget to add them to your policy and they have an accident, your insurance company will cover you but you may be charged for all of the premiums that you didn’t pay through the time your teenager received their license.

California has put a program into effect that will help everyone get car insurance even if they cannot afford it. The Low Cost Auto Insurance program provides lower cost insurance premiums to California drivers with good driving records, who have an annual income that is 250% or less that the poverty level established by the government, and live in a county that participates in this program. There are other restrictions and qualifications that must be met but it is definitely a start in helping everyone protect their families as well as their property and assets.