It's no secret that Californians take pride in walking to the beat of a different drummer. Fortunately for those who call California home, California insurance providers are no exception. Despite the fact that California leads the pack in a number of ominous statistical categories where highway safety and vehicular crime are concerned, a recent study of national auto insurance premiums by the Insurance Information Institute found that the average Californian pays just $800 per year in auto insurance premiums, right in line with the national average of $795. To put that into perspective, Floridians pay $1,043 per year, while New Yorkers shell out almost $1,047 per annum, both states that share similar demographics and highway safety statistics with The Golden State. Favorable California auto insurance quotes aside, however, it's important that you don't get lazy if you're in need of auto insurance in California. Thanks to a number of factors, it's vital that you understand what you need to protect yourself against if you want to get the best value, not just the best rates, in California.
Protecting Yourself with California Auto Insurance
As mentioned before, not everything is sunny in California, and highway safety and vehicular related crimes are two not so shining examples. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, California ranks number one in the nation for traffic fatalities, with 3,434 deaths reported in 2008, while the Insurance Research Council ranks California 3rd in the nation for uninsured motorists with a staggering uninsured motorist rate of 25%. As for crime statistics, property theft from motor vehicles accounted for 50% of all property theft in the state in 2006, costing Californians $1,453,144 in losses according to the State of California's Office of the Attorney General. Add to that the 242,692 vehicles that were stolen outright in California in the same year, and it should be obvious why carrying adequate auto insurance is no joke in the Golden State.
Evaluating Your Real California Auto Insurance Needs
What amounts to adequate auto insurance in California? For starters, every resident of The Golden State needs to know that the state of California requires by law that every motorist on the road carry minimum auto insurance coverages of $15,000/$30,000 for bodily liability (i.e. medical expenses), and $5,000 for property damage liability (i.e. damage to other vehicles and/or property). Considering the safety and crime statistics noted above, and the fact that you're financially responsible for all costs above and beyond the required coverage amounts, you might want to think hard about raising the stakes. Below is an outline for a more comprehensive policy if you're soliciting California home insurance quotes, one more concerned with protecting you and your finances than meeting the state minimum:
- $100,000/$300,000 in Bodily Liability Coverage -- Taking into account the high rate of motor vehicle accidents on California roads, as well as the exorbitant cost of health care, insuring yourself against medical expenses up to $300,000 (as opposed to $30,000) is a smart move.
- $100,000 in Property Damage Liability Coverage -- $5,000 in property damage coverage isn't going to do you much good if you run into a Mercedes from Pacific Palisades. In California, $50,000 or $100,000 is a little more realistic.
- $100,000/$300,000 in Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage -- Since one in four drivers in California don't carry any insurance at all, this addition is worth every penny in the event that one of them runs into you.
- Comprehensive Coverage w/$250 Deductible -- While you'll want to weigh this option against the vehicle you drive (as a rule of thumb, if the annual cost of comprehensive insurance adds up to more than 10% of your vehicle's blue book value, forget about it), Californians might want to reconsider. Comprehensive is the only coverage that will reimburse you for a stolen vehicle, or the contents within if you're a victim of a smash and grab job. In light of the crime statistics mentioned earlier, this additional coverage deserves a second look in the Golden State.
Good California Auto Insurance Doesn't Have to Be Expensive
If you were thinking along the lines of the state minimum when you began researching California auto insurance quotes, we didn't mean to bust your bubble. The truth, however, is that state minimums are rarely sufficient to cover much more than a minor auto accident, and don't provide any protection against other potential risks. The good news is that the sample policy above doesn't have to leave you in the poorhouse. The key lies in knowing where to turn if you want to get the best coverage at the best rates, and soliciting auto insurance quotes online through an insurance quote provider like NetQuote.com can tip the scales in your favor. Convenient and free of charge, an online quote provider will get you a host of quotes at the click of a mouse, allowing you to compare providers, rates, coverages, and service, on the way to getting the best rates, and the best value, for all of your California auto insurance needs.