How Californians Can Save on Car Insurance in 2023
By Blaklynn J.
Car insurance can take up a significant part of your budget, especially in California. Luckily, some strategies will help you save on car insurance. These methods will apply to anyone, no matter where you live in the country. Others, however, are specific to California.
Apply for the Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program
California’s Low Cost Auto (CLCA) Insurance program aims to assist good drivers with low-income levels. As the name implies, if you are eligible, you can receive auto insurance at a lower cost, letting you easily save money.
The main requirements for the program are:
· Having a good driving record (or being a new driver)
· Having a car worth $25,000 or less
· Meeting income eligibility
· Having a valid California license
For a single-person household, the maximum income is $36,450. For four people, it is $75,000. You can check the maximum income of your household size on the CLCA program’s website.
When you are ready to apply, you can do so completely online. If you prefer, you can also apply in person.
Check for Discounts
When looking for suitable car insurance in California, you can always check for available discounts. Nearly every auto insurance company offers a variety of discounts, and you are likely eligible for at least one of them if not more. The discounts can vary significantly by insurance company, but some to look out for include the following:
· Bundling policies
· Insuring multiple cars
· Being a good driver
· Taking a defensive driving course
· Being a good student
· Being a student away from home
· Driving a low number of miles
· Having safety or anti-theft features in your car
· Having a good credit score, and more
Consider Taking a Defensive Driving Course
You’ll notice that some of the discounts, such as taking a defensive driving course, are easy for you to attain. So, if your insurer offers a discount for this type of course and you haven’t taken one yet, consider doing so. You will pay a small amount for the course but likely end up saving more within a year or two of insurance. As a bonus, learning defensive driving will reduce your risk of getting into an accident.
Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score is another one of the factors affecting your premiums that you can control. It will be more time-consuming to improve your credit score than it is to take a defensive driving course. But it will also improve other areas of your life, such as your ability to get a competitive interest rate on auto or home loans or your ability to rent an apartment.
To improve your credit score, start by getting a credit report. Then, pay off as many past-due bills as you can and make it a point to pay your bills on time and in full.
Whether you live in California or another state, one of the best ways to save money on auto insurance is to compare quotes. Various online tools make this easier to do. You can even reach out to various auto insurers yourself.
Opt for a Higher Deductible
As with any other type of insurance policy, choosing a higher deductible will reduce your monthly premium. Just make sure that you will be able to pay your deductible, if necessary.
Reduce Coverage – But With Caution
Depending on your current level of auto insurance coverage, you can also consider reducing your coverage to save money. However, there are two very important caveats here.
First, you must ensure you still meet California’s minimum auto insurance requirements. California requires you to have the following liability insurance at a minimum:
· $15,000 for injury or death to one person
· $30,000 for injury or death to two or more people
· $5,000 for property damage
California does offer a few alternatives, including:
· A $35,000 cash deposit with the DMV
· A $35,000 surety bond from a company that is licensed in California
· A self-insurance certificate from the DMV
You also need to be aware of the risks of reducing your coverage. While reducing your coverage will lower your monthly premiums, it will dramatically increase your out-of-pocket costs if you are in an accident. Carefully weigh the pros and cons before reducing coverage and evaluate how an accident or other damage would affect you financially.
Consider Switching Cars
One of the biggest factors affecting auto insurance is the auto you use. Its value plays a role, as do factors like horsepower and whether it is classified as a sports car. If you are in a position to do so, consider trading in your current car for one that is more affordable to insure.
You can also keep this in mind when you buy a new or used car. Before you decide which auto to purchase, compare the insurance premiums for each car you are considering.
Californians can save money on even the best car insurance coverages by looking for discounts, taking a defensive driving course, and comparing quotes. You should also check if you are eligible for California’s Low-Cost Auto Insurance program.