Getting car insurance in California is an important decision. With California’s mandatory insurance laws, there are a number of low cost insurance options for drivers. However, the cheapest option may not always be the best for you.
California requires all drivers maintain a minimum coverage of
Bodily Injury Liability: $15,000 for death or injury of any one person,
any one accident and $30,000 for all persons in any one accident. While Property Damage Liability requirement $5,000 for any one accident.
Insurers and regulators often call this minimal coverage 15/30/5.
However, getting the cheapest, minimum insurance shouldn’t be the only way you choose coverage. You should determine how much coverage you need based on your assets and budget. This is because being underinsured when you have an accident can be as bad as not being insured at all.
For instance, suppose you are in an injury accident with three people. Your coverage will only cover up to $30,000 in medical expenses for up two of them! You pay everything for the third victim and anything over $30,000 for the other two. With California’s spiraling costs of emergency medical care, $30,000 is quickly used up, leaving you responsible for the rest of the charges, including any long term care, physical therapy and other costs. With medical bills often hitting hundreds of thousands of dollars you may find having an accident can be putting all of your assets at risk.
That is why “How much is this going to cost me?” should not be the only question in deciding how much insurance you need. Since you may be personally responsible for damages above the policy limits, you should consider purchasing liability insurance with higher limits than the minimum required by law. With the increased cost of hospital stays, medical care, and car repair, it is well worth considering the extra premium to purchase higher limits of coverage.
The good news is that most insurance for higher coverage normally isn’t that much more expensive than legal minimum coverage, especially if you are a good driver, free of a history of accidents or a number of tickets.
It is important to get quotes from different companies. Fortunately you can get instant online auto insurance quotes on the different types of coverage available, and that can even compare quotes from multiple leading insurers with a few mouse clicks to find the lowest rates for the coverage you need.