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Car insurance agent license california

Learn how to buy the best California car insurance policy for your particular situation, what the average car insurance rates are for your neighborhood and how California state insurance and traffic laws work.

The average car insurance rate in California is $1,433. Unlike nearly all other states, in California your credit history isn't allowed to be factored into your car insurance rate, and where you live is considered, but not given as much weight as in other states. California insurance companies primarily factor in your age, your driving record and how many miles you drive when deciding how much you pay. But every company uses its own method for assessing risk. That’s why the cost for the same policy can vary significantly among insurance companies – and why you should compare rates. For example, in Los Angeles ZIP code 90029, the highest rate among six carriers is ($3,194) is more than twice as much as the lowest ($1,464).

Cheap car insurance in California

California car insurance requirements

State law requires the following coverages:
Minimum bodily injury liability $15,000/$30,000
Minimum property damage liability $5,000

California car insurance laws mandate that you carry minimum liability coverage limits of 15/30/5 on your vehicle. While buying just minimum coverage means you are getting the cheapest car insurance in California, you are only covered for damage you do to other drivers’ cars and for others’ injuries. That means your insurer won’t pay for damage to your car or for your injuries if you cause an accident.

Keep in mind that a minor accident could easily exceed minimum liability coverage limits, leaving you responsible to pay for damages not covered by insurance. For example, if you have $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance and you cause an accident that costs $50,000, you have to pay $20,000 out-of-pocket. If you don’t have the money on hand, your assets may be taken to cover the costs. California also has one of the lowest property damage liability limits in the country at just $5,000. If you hit a car and it costs more than $5,000 to fix it, you’re on the hook for the rest of the bill.

If you want more protection, it will cost more, but as you’ll see in the chart below, additional coverage is typically affordable. Boosting coverage from the state minimum to higher liability limits costs $188 a year or $16 a month. Hiking your policy to full coverage with a $1,000 deductible costs, on average, $1,545 more, or $129 a month.

Coverage limits Average annual rate
Liability Only – state minimum $723
Liability Only - 50/100/50 BI/PD $911
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD
$1,000 Comp/Collision deductible
$2,268
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD
$500 Comp/Collision deductible
$2,574
Full Coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD
$250 Comp/Collision deductible
$2,771

*The table shows the average annual rate of 10 ZIP codes in the state from the following carriers, in no particular order: Progressive, Allstate, State Farm, Nationwide, GEICO and Farmers. Data was provided for CarInsurance.com by Quadrant Information Services.

Recommended car insurance coverage

When deciding how much car insurance to buy, you need to assess your particular situation. To drive legally, you must buy at least the minimum liability insurance required by your state. If you didn’t borrow money from a lender to buy your car and you don’t have a lot of money or assets to protect, that might be a wise choice. If, however, you don’t own your car outright, you will be required to get comprehensive and collision coverage. Additionally, if you have a home and savings to protect, it’s wise to buy more coverage.

Use our How Much Car Insurance Do You Need? tool to get a recommendation.

AGE STATE VEHICLE MODEL YEAR PRIMARY RESIDENCE OWN RENT VEHICLE FINANCING OWNED FINANCED LEASED

Liability

The more money and assets you have, the more likely it is that you may be sued following a car accident. Unless you are determined to pay the lowest car insurance rate possible, we recommend you buy higher than minimum liability coverage. If your net worth is:

  • less than $50,000, choose at least 50/100/50
  • between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 100/300/100
  • more than $100,000, choose at least 250/500/100

If you're leasing or financing your car, you automatically need coverage of 100/300/100 or higher.

Collision and comprehensive

Collision coverage pays for damage to your car after an accident that you cause. Comprehensive insurance pays to replace stolen cars and for damages from vandalism, flooding, hail, fire and animal strikes. If your car is:

  • less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider buying collision and comprehensive.
  • more than 10 years old, only buy collision and comprehensive if your car is worth $3,000 or more, if you couldn’t afford to replace your car if it’s wrecked, or if you just want more protection on your policy.

If you buy comp and collision, check our guide to choosing a deductible amount.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist

Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or a driver with coverage that’s insufficient to pay for your repairs and medical expenses. These should match the liability limits you choose. In most states, including California, these coverages are optional.

Medical coverage (MedPay)

Medical payments coverage can help pay for the medical or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $25,000. In most states, including California, it's an optional addition to your car insurance policy. MedPay does the following:

  • Covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses
  • Pays for expenses after health insurance limits are exceeded
  • Offers additional protection to insured drivers who are hit by a car while walking or biking

If you and your passengers:

  • Don’t have health insurance, or have a plan that doesn’t cover car accidents or has low limits, we recommend that you add medical coverage of at least $5,000 to your car insurance policy.
  • Do have health insurance, it’s still a good idea to have medical coverage if you want the best protection in your policy, as it can pay out after your health benefits are maxed out.

Gap insurance

If you got a loan to pay for your car and have an accident, gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car and the current outstanding balance on your loan or lease.

  • If you’re financing your car, your car is less than one year old and you’ve put less than 20 percent down on it, you should buy gap insurance. If not, you don’t need gap insurance.
  • If you’re leasing your car, it’s a good idea to buy gap insurance if you don't already have the coverage in your lease agreement.
  • If you own your car outright, you don’t need gap insurance.

Car insurance companies in California

Scores are based on Insure.com’s “Best Insurance Companies” customer review survey of 3,700 customers. Companies not in the top 10 of market share do not qualify. All scores are out of 100.

Best car insurance companies in California

Best customer service:

  1. USAA – 100
  2. Mercury -- 94
  3. Auto Club of Southern California – 93.9
  4. State Farm – 92
  5. Allstate – 91.8

Best claims service:

  1. USAA – 100
  2. Auto Club of Southern California – 96.3
  3. Liberty Mutual – 96
  4. Geico –93.9
  5. CSAA Insurance Group – 92.5 Progressive – 92.5

Best value for the price:

  1. Auto Club of Southern California – 95
  2. Mercury – 92.5
  3. CSAA Insurance Group – 91.7
  4. USAA – 91.3
  5. Progressive – 86.3

Get Personalized Car Insurance Quotes Age Currently Insured I am married I own my home I've served in the military

Largest car insurance companies in California

Rank Company Name Direct premiums written Market share % Overall Customer Review Ranking
1 State Farm Insurance Group 3,358,928 14.48% 90.4
2 Farmers Insurance Group 2,894,321 12.48% 81.1
3 Allstate Insurance Group 2,032,965 8.77% 87
4 Mercury General Group 1,923,392 8.29% 91.1
5 Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group 1,885,077 8.13% 94.8
6 Geico 1,814,503 7.82% 88.1
7 CSAA Insurance Group 1,530,185 6.6% 91.3
8 USAA Group 1,044,934 4.51% 97.2
9 Progressive Insurance Group 968,690 4.18% 89.6
10 Liberty Mutual Insurance Companies 791,251 3.41% 86.4

Source: A.M. Best market share rankings are based on direct premiums written in 2015.

Customer review rankings based on Insure.com's 2016 "Best Insurance Companies" survey of 3,700 customers. Scores are out of 100.

Car insurance in California cities

Find out what the most expensive and the cheapest car insurance rates are by ZIP code, as well as how they compare statewide.

Los Angeles car insurance

San Francisco car insurance

San Diego car insurance

California car insurance laws

Good Driver Discount

Under Prop 103, drivers who meet these conditions must receive rates at least 20 percent lower than a driver who does not meet these criteria at the same car insurance company:

  • Has been licensed for at least three consecutive years
  • Has no more than one point on his or her driving record

CAARP: California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan for high-risk drivers

In California, if you cannot find a car insurance company that will insure you, you can get liability coverage through the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP). This plan is designed for high-risk drivers who are unsuccessful in obtaining insurance from companies that sell non-standard policies.

The plan works by taking your application and assigning it to an insurance company. All insurance companies licensed in the state must accept CAARP applicants. The number of CAARP assignments is based on insurance company market share. The more policies an insurance company issues, the larger the portion of CAARP assignments it is required to take.

The rates used by the plan are the same no matter what insurance company issues the policy. The plan also offers installment options. After three years with a clean driving record, you can get out of the CAARP program and buy a standard policy.

To buy a CAARP policy, you have to work with an agent who is certified by the state to assist in getting drivers these special policies. Start by calling the number below to be paired up with a “certified producer” in your area who will help find an insurer for you. Afterwards, you and your assigned certified producer will work with the insurance company’s agent to get you an appropriate policy.

To Find a CAARP Certified Producer, call 1-800-622–0954

Insurance for low-income drivers

If you are low-income, you may be eligible for the California Low Cost Auto Insurance program, which permits lower liability limits of:

  • Bodily injury liability - $10,000 person / $20,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability - $3,000 per accident

The low-cost program (rates range from about $241 to $556 a year; discounts are available for those who have had a clean driving record for three years) is available to drivers who meet the following criteria:

  • Have a valid California driver’s license
  • Own a vehicle valued at $25,000 or less
  • Be at least 19 years old and meet income eligibility guidelines

Income eligibility requirements per household effective February 2016 are:

  • 1 person - $29,700.00
  • 2 people - $40,050.00
  • 3 people - $50,400.00
  • 4 people - $60,750.00
  • 5 people - $71,100.00

Pure comparative negligence

California is among the 13 states that have a pure comparative fault rule. States with pure comparative negligence laws let all drivers recover some payment for their damages, even if they are mostly to blame. For example, a driver 70 percent at fault in an accident could make a claim for damages against the other driver's liability coverage but expect to receive only 30 percent of the claim amount.

Claims

You should file a claim promptly after an accident. Your policy should state what is required of you, which may say a reasonable time period or give a specific time-frame in which to make the claim. For instance, you typically must file a stolen car claim within 30 days of the theft.

California requires an acknowledgment of all claims within 15 days. Under California law, insurance companies are required to accept or deny the claim within 40 days after receiving proof of the claim. If the claim is accepted, payment must be made within 30 days from the date settlement was reached.

You have up to three years to file a property damage lawsuit.

Medical claims

California law requires that you file medical claims within two years of the incident. You have up to two years after the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Source


California Car Insurance

Are you shopping for affordable car insurance quotes? California insurance companies are required to offer you a good driver's discount if you have a clean driving record. Read more to learn about California car insurance rates, laws, and programs.

Car Insurance Requirements

California law requires that you have a way to cover costs related to damages or injuries you may have caused in a car accident. Purchasing liability car insurance is the simplest and most common way people choose to meet this requirement.

The minimum amount of liability insurance you must have on your policy is:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

Other Car Insurance Coverage

While liability coverage is the only type of car insurance coverage you are required to carry in California, there are several other types of coverage available to you, including:

  • Comprehensive coverage – This coverage insures you against damages that might occur to your car that do not involve traffic accidents such as theft-related damage.
  • Collision coverage – This insures you against damages to your car that occur as a result of a traffic collision such as an accident with another driver.
  • Medical and funeral services coverage.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage – According to the latest statistics from the California Department of Insurance (CDI), in 2004, 14.43% of California drivers had no car insurance. Uninsured/underinsured coverage can cover damages caused by one of these drivers.
  • Rental car coverage.
  • Towing and labor coverage.

Note: Adding comprehensive and/or collision coverage is generally optional. However, if your car is being financed, your lending or leasing company will require you to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage.

Other Forms of Financial Responsibility

Buying car insurance is the most common way to fulfill your financial responsibility requirements, but it isn't your only option.

Other options to meet the requirement include:

  • A $35,000 cash deposit with the CA Department of Motor Vehicles.
  • A Certificate of Self-Insurance from the DMV.
  • A surety bond of $35,000 from any company licensed to do business in CA.

Proof of Insurance

You must be able to prove you have auto insurance to register your car or renew your registration. Your insurance company will give you an insurance card that can serve as your proof of insurance. Your car insurance card will have:

  • Your car's information.
    • Make.
    • Model.
    • Year.
    • Safety rating.
    • Value.
  • Your name and the name of any other drivers under your car's policy.
  • The expiration date of your insurance policy's term.

You will receive a new card every time you renew your car insurance policy.

Additionally, insurance companies in California are required to electronically report your insurance information to the DMV. The California DMV can use these electronic records to verify that you have car insurance.

Getting Pulled Over in California

If you are pulled over by a police officer, you must show your proof of insurance, along with your driver's license and car registration.

Violation Fines and Penalties

If you are pulled over in California without proof of car insurance or any other form of financial responsibility, you may face the following fines:

  • $100 - $200 for your first offense.
  • $200 - $500 for each offense within 3 years after your first.

The court may impound your car and hold it until you are able to show a proof of insurance.

Suspended Registration

Not having car insurance in California can also result in a suspension of your car's registration if:

  • The CA DMV is notified of your insurance cancellation and you have not replaced it within 45 days.
  • Your car insurance information is not given to the DMV within 30 days of your car's initial registration or transfer of ownership.
  • You registered your car with false evidence of insurance.

The DMV will send you a letter if your registration has been suspended due to not having car insurance. You can re-register your car with a proof of insurance at the cost of $14. You can apply for reinstatement:

  • Online at the DMV's Vehicle Registration Suspensions Insurance Program page.
  • By mail with your notification letter to: DMV PO Box 997405 Sacramento, CA 95899
  • By mail without a notification letter to: DMV VRFRP Unit PO Box 997408 N305 Sacramento, CA 95899-7408
  • By phone at (800) 777-0133.

California's Proposition 103

Before 1988, California was among only a small handful of states that had no state-governed regulations on the insurance industry. As a result, California auto insurance rates kept climbing to levels that were not affordable to many people.

To combat what many saw as arbitrary insurance rates, Californians voted into law Prop 103 on November 8, 1988, which called for consumer-driven regulation on insurance companies.

Under Prop 103, insurance companies were required to cut their rates to 20% less than what they were in 1987. Any rate changes from that point would have to be approved by the California Department of Insurance.

Among the provisions of Prop 103 are rules regulating how insurance companies determine your car insurance premiums and the Good Driver Discount policy.

Good Driver Discount Policy

Because of Prop 103, California law requires insurance companies to offer a 20% discount to good drivers. You qualify for this Good Driver Discount policy in California if:

  • You have been licensed to drive for the past 3 years.
  • During the past 3 years you have not:
    • Had more than 1 point on your driving record due to a violation(s).
    • Taken traffic school because of a traffic violation more than once.
    • Been the at-fault driver in an accident that resulted in injury or death.

Determining Your Insurance Premium: Credit Score

Prop 103 makes it illegal for insurance companies in California to use your credit history as a factor in determining the cost of your car insurance premium. Because of this, other factors may carry more weight.

These factors may include:

  • Your driving record.
  • Your age.
  • Where you live.
  • The make/model of your car.
  • The purpose of your car (e.g., commuting or personal use).

California's Low Cost Auto Insurance Program

The Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) was established in California in 1999 to give income eligible drivers a way to get car insurance at an affordable price in order to combat the high number of low-income drivers without car insurance.

To qualify for the CLCA you must:

  • Have a valid California driver's license.
  • Own a car with a value of $25,000 or less.
  • Be at least 19 years old.
  • Meet the income requirements

California's Automobile Claims Mediation Program

If you have a dispute over a claim with your insurance carrier, you may be able to take advantage of California's Auto Claims Mediation Program, which provides a way to help settle claim disputes with the assistance of a third-party mediator at no cost to you.

You may be eligible for the program if the dispute with your insurance provider involves:

  • The extent or amounts of damages.
  • Methods of repair.
  • Cause of damage.
  • Prior damage vs. recent damage.
  • Total loss.
    • This is when an insurance company declares your car not repairable and reimburses you the estimated value of the car instead of repairing the car.
  • Value of a total loss.

You are not eligible for the mediation program if the dispute involves the following issues:

  • Coverage issues.
  • Legal interpretations of your policy.
  • Statute of limitations and contractual limitations on claim filing periods.
  • Agent or broker actions.

For more information about CA's Auto Claims Mediation process, visit the CA Department of Insurance website.

Automobile Assigned Risk Plan

The California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) is a program to help get all drivers properly insured. If you cannot find a car insurance company, due to a poor driving record, you can apply for liability insurance through CAARP.

All California car insurance companies must accept a certain amount of CAARP applicants depending on their share of the market. The higher the amount of standard customers they have, the higher amount of CAARP applicants they must take.

Once you have a clean driving record for a consecutive 3 years, you can purchase your car insurance outside of CAARP.

California at a Glance

Electronic Insurance Cards

California's Vehicle Code states that if you do not have your car insurance card, you may be able to pull up your insurance information on your smartphone. Several car insurance carriers have smartphone apps that allow you to access an electronic insurance card.

Car Theft In California

California is the car theft capital of America. In 2011, according to a report issued by the California Highway patrol, 156,796 vehicles were stolen, at an estimated cost of one billion dollars.

Car Theft and Your Car insurance Rates

When calculating a policyholder's insurance rate, many car insurance companies consider the risk of car theft in a given area. Since car theft rates in California are high, you pay a higher rate.

California car theft hurts everyone that has car insurance. By educating yourself about the types of cars and trucks that are stolen and learning simple ways to prevent your car from being stolen, you're taking positive steps toward keeping car insurance rates low for everyone.

Most Stolen Cars in California

Driving a car that is often targeted for theft may increase your car insurance rates.

The following is a list of the most commonly stolen cars in California for 2013 according to www.nicb.org:

  1. Honda Accord.
  2. Honda Civic.
  3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size).
  4. Toyota Camry.
  5. Acura Integra.
  6. Ford Pickup (Full Size).
  7. Toyota Corolla.
  8. Nissan Sentra.
  9. Nissan Altima.
  10. Toyota Pickup.

Reporting Accidents

According to the California DMV, every driver will be involved in a car accident at least once in their life, so you should be aware of how to handle such an incident.

When involved in an accident:

  • Try your best to pull out of traffic and onto a safe spot at the side of the road.
  • Never flee the scene. You may risk a hit-and-run conviction.
  • Check for any injuries to anyone involved.
  • Report the accident immediately if anyone is injured or killed.
  • Exchange car insurance information with other drivers involved in the accident.

If you are in an accident that causes more than $1,000 in damages, you must report the accident within 10 days by completing a Traffic Accident Report (Form SR 1).

Cell Phone Use

The CA DMV states that about 10% of drivers use their cell phones while driving.

Even with hands-free devices, studies have shown that cell phone usage is highly distracting.

For safety measures, the state of California has made it illegal to text or use hand-held cell phones while driving. If you are over 18 years old, you may use a hands-free device to make phone calls.

If you must make a call while driving, follow these tips to help you stay safe:

  • Try to pull off the road when possible.
  • Do not get involved in emotionally heated discussions.

California law states if you are under 18 years old, you are NOT allowed to use a cell phone for any reason while driving, including texting and making calls this includes a hands free device.

Remember, all violations can affect your car insurance premiums. Stay safe and keep your car insurance rates low.

Source


If you wish to become an auto insurance broker, you're not alone. Thanks to the industry's excellent reputation and the potential that it provides for attractive compensation, millions of Americans aspire to sell insurance for a living. With relatively low barriers to entry and growing numbers of available jobs, the insurance industry is one of the most attractive non-specialized sectors in which to work.

Of course, becoming an insurance agent isn't as simple as filling out a one-page job application. In fact, it can take diligence, persistence and luck to obtain a license to sell auto insurance. In order to become an auto insurance agent, you must be prepared to spend a significant amount of money and take several months to complete the requisite tasks. While this might seem like a big commitment, your decision could produce a handsome long-term payoff.

First, you'll need to familiarize yourself with your state's licensing procedures. Since the insurance industry is regulated at the state level, each state government maintains its own fully-functional insurance bureau. This agency enforces state-specific insurance laws and holds the power to issue or deny licenses to prospective insurance brokers. In order to obtain your insurance license, you'll need to follow the rules that your state's bureau sets. If you aren't able to do this, you risk the denial or disqualification of your application.

California's insurance bureau requires all prospective insurance agents to submit to a thorough background check and credit report. You shouldn't be particularly nervous about this procedure: If you have minor criminal infractions or credit-related problems in your past, it's unlikely that the state's insurance bureau will care. On the other hand, felony drug convictions and financial crimes may present a problem. If you're worried about what might show up on your background check, you may wish to obtain one on your own to determine whether you should proceed with your application.

Once you've cleared your background check, you'll need to pay a hefty fee to reserve a seat at an examination facility in your area. Depending upon the specific license for which you're applying, you can choose from among several different varieties of the California Insurance Exam. If you wish to obtain an auto insurance license, you'll be able to take a test that specifically covers auto insurance. To ensure that you pass the test on the first try, you should devote at least two weeks to intensive studying. Once you've passed, you'll be cleared to receive your auto insurance broker's license.

More On This Topic

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  4. Is Credit Life Insurance Worth the Cost?
  5. What Happens When Your Auto Insurance Lapses in Maryland?
  6. What Does Auto Liability Insurance Cover?
  7. What Is The Penalty For Driving With An Expired License?
  8. What Is the Cheapest Auto Insurance Rate for an 18-Year-Old Male?
  9. What Are the Different Types of Insurance?
  10. What Websites Offer Free Sample Exams for the Property and Casualty Insurance Exam?

Related Legal Terms

ASSOCIATE BROKER, ONLINE BROKER, FULL SERVICE BROKER, BROKER AGENT, COMMISSION BROKER, BROKER, EXCESS LINE BROKER, MORTGAGE BROKER, SIX-DAY LICENSE, CUSTOM-HOUSE BROKER

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