Why buy insurance?
What is auto insurance and how does it work?
Auto insurance protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It’s a contract where you pay a rate — commonly
referred to as the ‘premium’ — and the insurance company covers losses listed in your policy.
Do I have to have auto insurance?
In California, if you own or drive a vehicle, you must have Liability insurance coverage. If you lease a car or have a car loan, you’ll
probably also need Comprehensive and Collision coverage as required by your loan agreement. Your independent agent or broker
can tell you what is required.
Besides legal or loan requirements, why should I buy auto insurance?
Without insurance you are personally liable for every penny of damage you cause. By purchasing insurance, you can rest easy
knowing that any damage you cause will be paid for by your insurer, subject to your policy’s deductibles and limits of liability.
Your insurance company can also be a big help in getting your vehicle repaired.
Can I get insurance without a U.S. driver’s license?
Some companies will insure you without it, some won’t.
Where to buy
Why buy auto insurance from a local independent agent or broker?
A local independent agent or broker is a member of your community who understands your insurance needs and has the
ability to find you the best rate by quoting rates from multiple insurance companies. Your independent agent or broker is your
neighborhood resource who can customize a policy to fit your current insurance needs and help you manage your policy as your
insurance needs change over time.
What should I consider when shopping for insurance?
A few things to think about:
Which company offers the lowest rate for the coverages you want?
› Payment options:
Does the company have payment plans that meet your needs?
Does the company offer self-service options that allow you to manage your policy at your own convenience?
Does the company have responsive claims service that can save you time and stress if there’s an accident?
› Financial strength:
Is the company stable, with a proven track record?
What to buy
How much coverage do I need?
Coverage is based on your individual situation.
- Pick a deductible you can afford to pay out-of-pocket in case of an accident.
If you make payments or lease a car, you may need Comprehensive and Collision along with Liability coverage.
How much in personal assets do you need to protect? You may need liability limits higher than the minimum your state requires.
- Do any drivers live in your house but never drive your vehicles? In many cases, you can exclude them from coverage on your policy to lower your rate.
What is a deductible?
- It’s the amount of money you agree to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays. For example, if you have Comprehensive coverage with a $250 deductible and your car is stolen, the insurance company pays for the value of your car minus that $250. Going with a higher deductible lowers your premium, but increases what you owe out-of-pocket.
Rate and billing questions
What could affect my rate?
Some examples of what can impact your rate are: your driving and violation history, the number of years you’ve been driving, your gender and marital status, your car’s age and model type, where you live, how much coverage you buy, and how many miles you drive annually.
If I have an accident, will my rate go up? Will I lose my insurance?
That depends on the insurer and who is at fault. Some insurers won’t renew drivers with accidents and tickets.
How can I lower my insurance rate?
Here are some simple ways:
›Clean driving:Avoid accidents and traffic violations.
Avoid accidents and traffic violations.› Increase your deductibles: The higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
› Check your discounts:
Make sure you’re getting all the discounts you qualify for.› Buy only the coverage you need.
Does my policy cover members of my household?
Any member of your household listed on your policy will be covered by the policy. If you do not want a member of your household to be covered on your policy, ask your independent agent or broker for further information.
Am I covered by my auto policy while driving in Mexico?
Consult with your local independent agent or broker to determine if your current policy includes any Mexico coverage, or to determine if you need a separate policy.
Does my insurance cover me when I’m driving as part of my job?
It depends on the kind of job you have as well as the type of vehicle. It is possible that you will need a commercial auto policy instead of a personal auto policy. Your independent agent or broker will be happy to advise you.
For more information, contact your local independent agent or broker.