If you’re going to drive, car insurance is a must. In California, drivers are required to carry a minimum liability insurance of $15,000 for injury or death to one person, $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person, and $5,000 for property damage. But shopping for insurance can be confusing, especially for new drivers. Do you need more than the minimum coverage? Can you really get a competitive rate as a new driver? What’s the best insurance company? If you’re in the market for California car insurance, here is how to find the best fit for you in 2020.
What to Look for In California Car Insurance
There are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for car insurance. Most insurance companies will look at a variety of factors when computing your insurance premiums, including the type of car you drive, your credit history, your age, and your driving history.
You get to decide the amount and types of coverage you need beyond the California minimums. The most common types of coverage are:
Collision: covers damage to your car.
Liability: covers damage to someone else’s car.
Uninsured or underinsured insurance: covers you if you’re hit by a person with no or little insurance.
Comprehensive: covers damage to your car that isn’t from an accident.
You can also opt for a higher or lower deductible. A deductible is the amount of money you’ll have to pay before the insurance starts covering costs. A lower deductible often means a higher monthly premium.
“New drivers should take more than just price into consideration,” cautions State Farm representative, Madison Lyndsey. “A lot of new drivers will go for the base minimum liability with no coverage for collision or comprehensive claims, and while that saves you a lot upfront, you need to have those things so you aren’t paying out more than you should if you happen to have a claim.”
How to Make California Car Insurance Less Expensive for Young Drivers
Car insurance premiums are often highest for young drivers, but there are ways to reduce these costs. Taking a California driver’s ed class is one of the first things you can do to lower your car insurance rate. According to Lyndsey, “most companies will give a discount for that.”
She also notes that “some companies will offer other discounts for young people and students. State Farm specifically offers the Steer Clear discount and the Good Student Discount for those who have a 3.0 or higher.”
Once you’ve been driving for a few years, you may be able to take a defensive driving course at a California driving school to further lower your rate. Lyndsey says, “anyone can take advantage of [this course] as long as they have been accident-free for at least three years prior to taking the course. They can check with their particular insurer on what the guidelines are, but I always recommend that to my customers.”
The Best California Car Insurance Companies
While there are many reputable insurance companies out there, Reviews.com has named the top five car insurance companies for California, based on the A.M Best financial strength rating, the California Department of Insurance complaint ratio, and the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study score for California. If you’re looking for California car insurance in 2020, these companies are a great place to start your search.