Insurance
— ASK ABOUT DISCOUNTS
Companies may offer premium discounts if you take steps to reduce the chances of a loss. Each company sets the amount of the discounts it offers. Following are some of the more common homeowners discounts available:
  • Impact-resistant roof
  • Noncombustible roof
  • Burglar, fire and smoke alarm systems
  • Automatic sprinkler systems
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Premises in good condition (companies set their own standards)
  • Age of house (companies set own standards)
  • Marking personal property with an identifying number (inspection required)
  • Good claims experience for three consecutive years
  • Other policies with same company or group
  • House insured to full replacement cost
  • Senior citizens discount

To assist you further in shopping for residential insurance, the CDI (www.insurance.ca.gov) provides a list of the current insurance companies licensed to sell residential insurance in California. You can contact the companies directly for quotation information by calling the phone number provided. Remember that licensed insurance companies come in many shapes and sizes. Whether large, medium or small, licensed insurance companies are required to follow the insurance laws and regulations in California. When shopping for insurance choose the company that best meets your needs for service, coverage and budget.

CALIFORNIA FAIR PLAN ALTERNATIVE
The FAIR Plan is an association located in Los Angeles that makes up all insurers authorized to transact basic property insurance in California. Coverage is available to all California property owners, provided that basic underwriting guidelines are met. The FAIR Plan issues insurance as a last resort and should be used only after a diligent effort to obtain coverage in the voluntary market has been made. The CDI recommends that all FAIR Plan policyholders shop for a different insurer at least annually to search for coverage that is more comprehensive than that offered by the FAIR Plan. The California FAIR Plan does not estimate the cost to rebuild your home or the cost of labor and materials in your (or any other) area or determine the appropriateness of the coverage you request. Those are your responsibilities.

AUTO INSURANCE
It’s the law in California for people who drive to be able to pay for vehicle accidents they cause. This section explains the importance of having auto insurance, how to shop for insurance as well as the current liability limits required in California.

— California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program
California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program (CLCA) is a program dedicated to providing income-eligible Californians with liability insurance at affordable rates. The cost of liability insurance varies depending on the county, so contact CLCA for more information and to find out your eligibility.

Driving without insurance carries severe penalties. First-time offenders are subject to a fine, ranging from $100 to $200 and may be assessed additional fees. Repeat offenders face fines of up to $500, possible license suspension and impoundment of the vehicle, not to mention paying for any injuries or damage the accident may have caused.

— Shopping for Auto Insurance
California supports a competitive insurance market, which means you have a wide range of products and pricing options. Get price quotes from different companies and compare the rates and coverages. When asking for price quotations, it’s important that you provide the same information to each agent or company and consider the following:
  • Determine in advance the coverage you need.
  • If you select a higher deductible, it will lower your premium. Keep in mind, though, you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if there is a claim.
  • Never provide incorrect information on an application and always answer questions honestly. If you do provide incorrect information, it could lead to a claim denial or cancellation of coverage.
  • Spend time online finding out about each insurer. You can learn more about a company, including its license status, complaint history and financial rating from an independent rating organization by calling CDI’s Consumer Help Line (800) 927-4357 or by visiting the website at www.insurance.ca.gov.

— Liability Requirements
The basic coverage in California is called 15/30/5, which means you must have $15,000 worth of coverage for any injured person per accident, a minimum of $30,000 for all people per accident and $5,000 for property damage per accident. These are just the basic limits. It’s important to keep in mind that if your liability amounts are not adequate to pay for the other driver’s costs, the driver may sue you to collect the difference. To prevent this from happening, you can buy additional liability coverage.

— Reviewing the Policy
When you receive your policy, read it to review what it covers. Look carefully at the exclusions section that lists what your policy doesn’t cover. The declaration or “deck” page of your policy indicates the legal name of your insurance provider, your policy number and the amount of each of your coverages and deductibles.

   
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