It doesn't matter who you are or where you live, saving money is a universally desired end-goal.
If you happen to be a resident of San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles or anywhere else in the great Golden State, saying that saving money makes you "excited" might be an understatement. That's because the state of CA, unfortunately, boasts car insurance rates that are among the highest in the nation.
The good news is that getting the right California auto insurance at the best price is possible, as long as you know what to do and how to do it.
Here are 3 proven ways to find the cheapest car insurance in California.
First, What Car Insurance Is Required in California?
Part of finding the right car insurance means knowing what the car insurance requirements are for your state.
These are the liability minimums for California drivers:
- $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $5,000 property damage liability per accident
The jargon used in the insurance industry can often be a little foreign, that isn't the case with term "liability insurance." Just as it sounds, liability coverage is what your car insurance will cover when you are deemed responsible or at fault for the accident.
If you noticed, the minimum insurance requirements above were broken into different sections, bodily and property. These two sections, bodily and property, specifies the type of obligation and coverage that helps pay for other injured parties and property damage as a result of an accident.
Virtually every insurance agent will strongly suggest getting a coverage plan that exceeds the state minimums.
Getting more coverage isn't an arbitrary suggestion or angle used to charge drivers more. The reasoning for suggesting drivers get more coverage than the state minimum is actually designed to save you money.
So, how does paying more than the California state minimum save you money?
The more car insurance coverage, the less out-of-pocket expense for drivers. Of course, you don't plan on having an accident, but if you ever do, the comfort of knowing your bank account won't be depleted will be worth that little extra monthly cost.
The chances are good that if you carry the California minimum of $5,000 for property damage and have an accident, there will be a considerable balance remaining. The person who may be held liable for the remainder of reparations could be you.
Next, let's walk through some ways to find the right car insurance rate.
Types of Car Insurance Discounts and Money Saving Ideas
Finding the cheapest car insurance rate in California is much easier when you go through independent insurance agents. What may initially look like a ridiculously high policy rate, may end up being cheaper once your car insurance agent applies the discounts. Many insurance companies display their discounts proudly. Esurance's website, for example, shares information on their multi-policy discount and for members who pay in full.
Let's take a look at some of the more common car insurance discounts you may discover:
- Safe driver discounts.
Perhaps the most logical and one of the most popular discounts being offered today is the "safe driver" discounts. This rewards drivers for good driving - smart right? Drivers can purchase insurance at better rates due to a good record or reduce premiums by maintaining a strong driving record.
- Low-risk car insurance.
Before purchasing a new car, investigate to see what cars have lower premiums attached. If you're going to purchase a new car, researching this is one of the best ways to save money on car insurance. The U.S. News & World Report shared their list of Top 10 Least Expensive Cars to Insure Vehicles featuring the Jeep Cherokee, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and more. The vehicles that the least expensive to insure are at a lower risk of being stolen. Maybe this isn't a crucial point in determining the best vehicle for you, but if you are torn between this or that car - checking these facts should prove beneficial.
- Insurance companies reward anti-theft safeguards.
The discounts offered and available through each insurance agency will differ, and no two insurance companies are the same. Another possible discount that may be less frequently offered is the anti-theft discounts. Still, many companies do reward drivers for having anti-theft devices, and it is a question worth asking. For example, MetLife offers car insurance discounts for if your vehicle manufacturer included an anti-theft safeguard at the time of production.
- Package and multi-vehicle discounts.
All the rave now is about "bundling" your insurance plans. Bundling your car insurance is an attractive option because of the simplicity and savings. It's a win-win for both the insurance company and their members. Having more than one car insured by the same agency, or combining a home policy with a car insurance policy leads to bulk discounts.
- Higher deductibles and lower premiums.
An easy way to save money on your car insurance is by choosing a plan with a higher deductible. Of course, that means that you should be in a position to monetarily handle such an expense in the event of an accident, but if you are then this policy option deserves serious consideration.
- Saving locally.
Many insurance companies specialize in a particular state. When you work with an insurance company that specializes in your state, you not only get better coverage for better prices, but you'll get a trusted insurance agent that tailors your plan to your needs. Akin to the anti-theft discounts, these types of discounts may not be quite as familiar, but you won't know unless you ask.
- Saving through coverage considerations.
Evaluating your policy quarterly will help you locate and recognize what aspects of your insurance coverage is and isn't necessary. Dropping a coverage feature and adjusting your plan accordingly can translate into both, a better policy and a better rate. This win-win is all about you.
- Annual policies are always money savers.
Much like those who can afford higher premiums, if you can afford to pay your insurance as an annual policy it is smart to do so. Annual policies will save you money, and unlike monthly payment plans, these policies can't be changed until renewal.
- Online policy discounts.
Online policy discounts is another hit or miss, but every penny counts! Checking for online premium payment discounts could end up reducing your insurance bill.
- Driving school discounts.
Parents will be happy to hear that their young drivers could earn discounts if they take driver education classes or attend a driving school.
If you're not sure if you qualify for any car insurance discounts in California, talk to an independent insurance agent so they can see what options are out there for you and put together some quotes.
3 Tips to Find Cheap Car Insurance in California
Whew! That was a long list of car insurance discount options, but that list isn't exhaustive. Many other factors impact your car insurance premiums that are outside of your control, such as age, location, etc.
There are, however, some things California residents can control.
Here are 3 tips to find cheap car insurance in California:
1. Ask Questions
Don't feel like a nuisance when you ask questions to your car insurance agent. Your talking about your insurance and your money, so it's important to know all the available information. Ask about good driving discounts, ask about multi-car policies and even veteran discounts. You honestly can't ask too many questions, but asking too few could be costly.
2. Consider Usage Plan Options
Many of the major California cities have excellent transportation options, from buses to trains and subways, and many people take advantage of these cost-effective and simple transportation alternatives. If this is an option you use or have available, some insurance companies have usage plan discounts that can save you even more.
3. Know Your Policy
Knowing the full scope of your car insurance policy seems basic enough, but life moves fast, and changes happen. What once was a perfect plan, may no longer be as applicable for you today. That new car you insured eight years ago may no longer need comprehensive coverage. Or that new job change now gives you the option to commute using the BART (Bay Area Public Transportation), subways or even biking. The point is, stay on top of what you need and, equally as important, what you don't need.
Focusing on the little details can deliver big savings in the end.
Let's Start Saving on Car Insurance
Compare quotes, shop around, ask questions, drive carefully and use every idea and discount that works for your current life situation today.Take your time and be thorough. Your patience, research, and efforts will be a significant factor in finding the best car insurance policy at the best price.
If you'd rather fast track the actual quote gathering process, it pays to talk to state-licensed independent agents like our team here at Kanopy Insurance. We'll tap into our network of the top insurance companies and present you with the cheapest rates available.