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Frequently Asked Insurance

Frequently Asked Car Insurance Questions

What is Car Insurance?

It’s a contract between a policyholder (owner/driver of vehicle) and an insurer. The terms of the contract spell out how much financial protection an insurer will pay out for covered events (such as an accident) in return for a premium paid by the policyholder. Most states require a minimum amount of car insurance.

Am I Required to Get Auto Insurance in California?

Yes. You will need to purchase at least the minimum amount required by the state, which is:

  • $15,000/$30,000 bodily injury or death one person/more than one person
  • $5,000 property damage

How Much Does it Cost?

The average amount in California is $2,190 for full coverage per year and $619 for the minimum required amount per year. That compares to $1,771 and $565 per year nationally.

Why is it More Expensive in California?

There are several reasons California motorists pay more for the auto coverage, including multiple areas of high crime, a higher average of accident claims and personal injury lawsuits and higher costs for repairs, plus severe weather, fire and earthquakes.

How Do They Come Up With My Rates?

Rates are established by the state, so all companies work from the same baseline to level the playing field. From there, a carrier uses a wide variety of personal information to determine your specific premium. This includes things like:

  • Age
  • Driving history
  • Type of vehicle

Unlike many states, California does not allow insurers to use gender or credit scores as a means for setting premiums.

Can I Get Discounts in California?

Yes. Almost everybody qualifies for some type of discount in California. For example, if you are a new customer, you may be able to get a new customer discount. Likewise, if you are a returning customer, you can probably get a customer loyalty discount. Here are some other discounts our Cost-U-Less agents can help you find:

  • Current or former member of the military
  • Student discounts
  • Good driving discounts
  • Low-mileage discounts
  • Passive-restraint discounts
  • Safety and anti-theft discounts

Many carriers offer discounts for drivers who pay their entire policy up-front. Multi-vehicle discounts are also available. So, if you need to insure more than one vehicle in your household, you can save money by insuring these vehicles with the same company.

Multi-policy discounts (bundling) are available by pairing your home insurance, renters insurance, RV insurance and more with your automobile policy.

What are the Types of Car Insurance?

There are many types of car insurance and, in California, most are optional. In California, drivers are only required to have liability, which consists of bodily injury and property damage. This coverage is intended to help pay for damages to others if you cause an accident. Your liability will not pay anything for your own injuries and damages. That’s why some drivers choose more protection. This includes:

  • Comprehensive and collision – Typically sold as a package under the term “full coverage”, comprehensive pays for damages your vehicle sustains from things like theft, hail, falling tree branches, etc. Collision helps to pay for repairs to your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who caused the wreck.
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage – This protects you financially if you get hit by a driver that has no coverage, doesn’t have enough to fully pay for your damages or if you are involved in a wreck caused by a hit-and-run driver.
  • Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay) – This offers a higher level of financial protection for costs after an accident associated with medical bills, lost wages, child care and more. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is not available in California.
  • New Car Protections – GAP, or Guaranteed Asset Protection, and New Car Replacement are two types for new cars. GAP helps “bridge the gap” between what you owe and what the vehicle is worth if it is totaled or stolen, while New Car Replacement replaces your vehicle with the same make and model.
  • Roadside Assistance – Your backup plan if you need help 24/7/365. Ran out of gas? Flat tire? Keys locked out? Need a tow? Call for roadside assistance.
  • Rental Car Reimbursement – Helps pay for a rental if your car is in the shop for a covered event.
  • SR-22 – SR-22 is specifically for drivers who have committed an egregious offense, such as DUI. It is car coverage for high-risk drivers and typically costs double or triple your regular coverage.

How Will I Know if I Choose the Right Coverage?

While getting your online quote, you will select coverage options. If you’re unsure about what optional coverages to select, call 800-390-4071 to speak directly with a representative who can answer your questions.

What If I Have a Question About Coverages During My Quote?

If you’re getting an online quote and need assistance, call 866-505-6767

Can I Add or Remove Coverages in the Middle of My Policy?

Yes — it’s easy to change your policy! Call us at 866-505-6767 and a Cost-U-Less representative can help you. Remember some changes can affect the price you pay, so your premium may change.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Consult your agent and consider your individual needs when choosing the right coverage. When you are considering a car policy, calculate how much coverage you actually need. Decide on the limits you want to set for each category, the total deductible and if you are comfortable paying it. If your car is relatively new, you’ll want to make sure your policy will cover damage repairs if something happens. On the other hand, if your premium is 10% more than your vehicle is worth, you need to consider letting some of your coverage go. Raising your deductible can save you money on your premium.

Changing Your Policy

How Quickly Do Changes I Make to My Policy Go Into Effect?

Changes to your policy can be effective immediately, or in some situations, upon a specified effective date. Restrictions may apply to some changes, so contact a Cost-U-Less Customer Service representative or your carrier for more details.

If I Want to Add a Driver or Vehicle, Do I Need to Start a New Policy?

No. There is no need to start a new policy to add drivers or vehicles. Adding drivers or vehicles is as simple as updating your current policy to reflect your current situation. Contact a Cost-U-Less Customer Service representative for information on adding vehicles or updating your policy to reflect recent life changes or add drivers.

Can I Make Changes to My Policy Online?

Some carriers allow you to make changes to your policy online anytime. Please check with your carrier or contact a Cost-U-Less Customer Service Representative for information and availability of online services.

Can I Make Changes to My Policy Over the Phone?

Many carriers allow you to make changes to your policy via telephone. Please check with your insurer or contact a Cost-U-Less Customer Service Representative for information and availability of telephone customer services.

How Can I Make Payments?

There are a variety of ways to make your insurance payment. You can stop by one of our locations, pay over the phone directly to your carrier (phone number on insurance card) or mail a payment directly to your carrier.

You may also call us toll free at 866-505-6767 and we can assist you with making a payment or any billing question.

Will My Payment be Accepted Immediately?

Payment processing policies are varied. Payments typically need to be made before the end of business on the deadline date to be considered on time. Please note that many Cost-U-Less locations are open to process payments beyond the close of a particular carrier’s business day and that payments after the close of the carrier’s business day may be considered delinquent despite being made on the due date. It’s always advisable to make your payments at least a few days in advance of the due date.

What Happens to my Car Policy if I Move?

There are several different ways you can notify Cost-U-Less or your carrier that you are moving. If you are moving, please use one of the following methods to notify us of your move:

Notify your insurer directly: Call your company directly or mark the new address on your bill and the company will make the change.

Call us or visit your local Cost-U-Less center: Reach our customer service representatives at 866-505-6767 or find your local office and fill out a change of address form.

If I Mail a Payment on the Due Date, Will It Be Considered On Time?

Many carriers consider the postmark date on your envelope as your payment date, so even if you mail a payment on the due date, your payment will be considered on time. Contact your individual carrier or a Cost-U-Less Customer Service Representative for your carrier’s payment policies.

Other Frequent Car Insurance Questions

How Does the Company Determine My Insurance Rate?

In California, carriers use your driving record, type of vehicle, where you live, your age and other factors.

How Can I Receive Rates from Other Car Insurers?

Cost-U-Less offers its customers unique buying power with the ability to shop over 100 options.

Are Cost-U-Less Rates the Same as Rates From an Agent?

They are better. Cost-U-Less offers its customers unique buying power with the ability to shop from more than 100 options. An agent that works for one carrier can only offer quotes from that one company.

Why Did My Rate Change After I Received a Quote?

There are several factors that can affect the quoted rate. If a significant amount of time has passed, rates in your area may have gone up. Changes in your driving record will also affect the rate. Please contact us at 866-505-6767 and we can help answer your questions.

Does Anyone Regulate What You Charge?

California requires carriers to file how they calculate customer rates, and insurers cannot deviate from these filed rates. California also has regulators who review the information and rates. All states set baseline rates that companies may not deviate from when setting premium prices.

Many carriers offer discounts for drivers who pay their entire car insurance policy up-front. Multi-vehicle insurance discounts are also available. So, if you need to insure more than one vehicle in your household, you can save money by insuring these vehicles under the same car insurance policy.

Package discounts are available by pairing your house, condo or mobile home insurance policy with your automobile insurance.

Simply complete your quote and Cost-U-Less will determine any available and applicable discounts for you.

Do All Companies Offer the Same Coverages and Discounts?

Absolutely not. Discounts and specialized coverages can vary greatly between carriers. After you complete your quote, a Cost-U-Less agent will determine any available and applicable discounts for you based on your circumstances.

Why Should I Choose Cost-U-Less?

Cost-U-Less has been providing inexpensive car insurance for California drivers since 1989. Our more than 80 convenient office locations throughout California help drivers get the best rates. See why more than 600,000 Californians have purchased cheap car insurance from Cost-U-Less. With over 100 options to choose from, drivers save money with Cost-U-Less.

Free online car quotes are available any time, day or night and our friendly, courteous customer service professionals are here to serve you. Call us for the best rates at 800-390-4071.