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When you start looking for new car insurance in California, you want to find the best price. However, there’s more to coverage than the bi-annual premium. You also need to know that you have the protection you need and that you’re working with a reputable company.

Be sure to always compare auto insurance quotes before choosing a company. Simply enter your ZIP code into the FREE at the top of this page to get started!

In addition to asking the company questions about price, here are a few other things you should watch for.

Encouragement for Competition

The Insurance Diversity Initiative was designed to promote the development of women, minority and disabled-veteran owned enterprises.

An annual survey provides diverse businesses with vital information on searching for new opportunities in order to help them succeed. The result has been greater diversity in companies submitting bids, and costs have decreased for companies while improving quality and innovation.

As more companies become licensed in the state, it expands the pool of available insurers and promotes healthy competition.

This can work in the consumer’s best interest as it helps keep rates low throughout the state.

Finding Contact Information

Perform any basic search online and you’ll be rewarded with thousands of results to sift through. This is a time-consuming process that most people would rather avoid. A better option is to visit the state website of auto insurer toll-free numbers.

With this easy list of contact information, you can easily start reaching out to companies to get insurance quotes. However, this is also a lengthy process as you’ll wind up repeating your information for every agent. The best option is to make use of the Internet and comparison sites. When you utilize this type of tool, you only have to enter the information one time.

Different companies will then reach out to you with customized quotes. This makes the process faster, and companies will be more likely to provide you with their best possible rates since they know that their competition will also be reaching out to you.

Choose a Licensed Company

It’s vital that you get insurance with a company that’s fully licensed in the state. Companies that are licensed to do business understand the requirements and expectations associated with doing business in the state. They understand that they’re required to report insurance information to the state.

A licensed company has their information on file with the state, and they’re required by law to place their license number on business cards, premium quotes and any printed ads. You can also check directly with the state to ensure that their license is still valid.

Apples to Apples Comparisons

When you apply for quotes through a niche website, you should receive information regarding the type of coverage you want.

You can set the levels for liability and personal property damage, and you’re encouraged to go above and beyond the state minimums to better protect yourself against lawsuits.

You may choose to invest in underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage, collision and comprehensive plans and little extras like glass breakage. As you look at different premium quotes, read the fine print to ensure that you’re comparing comparable policies.

In addition to the set price per month and limits, make sure that the following information is also compatible:

  • Length of term - It can be one month, six months or an annual policy.
  • Installment plans – These sometimes come with service fees that effectively raise the premium if you’re paying over time.
  • Available Discounts – Has the company already given you a break for having multiple cars, more than one policy or being a safe driver for more than five years?
  • Issuance Fees –These are non-refundable if you cancel the policy within a certain period of time. If they’re part of the policy, you’ll be required to pay for them up front.
  • Deductible Levels – Lower deductibles lead to higher rates. If you choose a higher deductible, however, you should ensure that you have that amount in a savings account in case you have to file a claim.
  • Broker’s Fees – You should agree on this in advance, and they must be in writing. These fees are also non-refundable with most policies. You can generally avoid or minimize them by doing your own research with online comparison tools.
  • Guest Drivers – If you sometimes loan out your car or have family members who borrow it, you need to know if they’ll be covered under your policy.

Be Prepared with the Right Information

When you apply for a policy, you’ll be asked for some personal information. This includes your contact information, marital status, age, sex, driving record and information about your car.

It’s important to be honest in the application because your company can cancel the policy if they discover that you’ve given them false information.

You should also be prepared to share information about any licensed drivers in the household, including their license numbers. You’ll also need to have the registration numbers for any cars in the household.

Consumers are encouraged to take the time to read all documents before signing any agreements. You also have the right to receive copies of documents before you leave an insurer’s office. Take the time to read and review the policy carefully so you understand the coverages and any limitations.

Insurance for High Risk Drivers

Companies base rates on several factors, including risk level. If you have a few tickets, you can expect to pay a little more than someone who has never had a ticket at all. At some point, you may find that standard insurance companies won’t provide you with a policy at all. In this case, there is help available through the state.

The California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan provides drivers with the basic coverage they need to meet the states minimum insurance requirements. With this program, your application is assigned directly to an insurance provider.

Installment options are available for the rates. After three years without any moving violations, consumers can start applying with standard providers again to bring their rates down.

Avoiding Fraud

Fraud can be a problem in the insurance industry, but there are ways to protect yourself. The most common incidents are actually in the repair industry after you’ve had an accident, but there are some red flags you can watch for.
• Companies that do not display a valid license number
• Agencies that want you to sign blank documents or will not allow you adequate time to read and understand the contracts
• Repair shops that increase the final cost estimate above the actual damage
• Billing for repairs that were never authorized
• Using after-market or junkyard parts but billing consumers for original replacement parts
• Charging for replacement body parts but just pounding out dents in the original

When shopping for insurance, you need to look beyond the initial premium.

While this can help you narrow down the field, you should also take the time to ensure that a provider still has an active license.

You can also look at a company's profile with the state to see what kinds of complaints are filed against them and review their financial reports. Take the time to read over contracts, and know that you have a right to receive copies of anything you sign.

You can speed up the process by using comparison tools available on the Internet, but performing your own research will still help you find the right company to go with the right price. Simply enter your ZIP code into the FREE tool below now!

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