Shopping for Car Insurance in California

by | May 29, 2012 | Financial Services

Car insurance is one of those things that we need but hopefully won’t have to use. In these turbulent economic times, everyone would like to find affordable car insurance that serves their needs. It is common for insurance companies to claim the lowest rates for insurance policies, but a closer look often reveals otherwise. That’s why it is necessary to conduct the proper research to find an affordable insurance policy that is right for you and your vehicle.

Narrowing the Field

The first thing you must do is compare the plethora of insurance policies and companies to identify the most reputable and affordable options. Even though every insurance company claims to offer the best rates and insurance coverage, your research will give you the facts that will help you determine which policy best suits your needs. That’s where the internet comes in handy, as you can use the websites of car insurance companies to evaluate the various policies available. You can obtain a quote from these websites in a matter of minutes by entering some basic information.

Compare Policies Online

Companies that allow you to purchase insurance online are able to offer better rates due to the lower overheads. A better deal might often mean working with a smaller insurance company, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Instead of the size of the insurance company, you need to focus on the premium required and the coverage offered with the policy I question.

Factors that Influence Your Quote

People under the age of 25 usually attract a higher premium due to the higher risk associated with them. The higher risk is the result of the relative inexperience of drivers who are less than 25 years old. However, a lot of insurance agencies offer discounts in lieu of education classes or progressive discounts for each accident free year that passes.

One of the factors that determine the premium for car insurance is the neighborhood in which the driver resides. Neighborhoods with a higher criminal activity attract higher premiums due to the higher perceived risk for the vehicle. However, this is not universal, and it may be possible for you to find an insurance company that doesn’t take this into account while calculating premiums on the policies. Securing the vehicle properly with a reliable alarm system can result in a substantial discount on the insurance premium. Sometimes this discount may not be obvious in the quote, but you can obtain it by letting the representative of the insurance company know about the security system you have installed.

Your car insurance rates will also depend on the type of vehicle you own. Insurance companies study vehicles to determine which are most likely to be stolen or are accident prone. The premiums for various types of cars reflect the probabilities that this research determines.

The final factor that will determine your premium is your driving record, which can be obtained from the local Motor Vehicle Administration for a small fee. Traffic violations like DUI or speeding tickets will raise your premiums, while a clean driving record will reduce it. By being aware of all the factors that affect the premium for car insurance, you will know what to expect before you start obtaining quotes.

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