As the third-largest state in the country, California is home to a massive population. Vast networks of roads, freeways and highways crisscross all over the Golden State. At any given moment, millions of people are operating motor vehicles. The vast majority of them are legally licensed to do so. However, some of them may not have valid auto insurance. Driving without valid coverage in any state is a bad idea. California residents should shop around and collect plenty of auto insurance quotes before buying coverage. It makes it easier to find the best rates and to pinpoint the best features.
Before collecting auto insurance quotes in California, drivers should learn a little about the state in which they will be driving. In many ways, being informed about things like demographics and auto insurance requirements simplifies the process of buying auto insurance. Demographics are important because they highlight how many people have to share the road in the Golden State. Insurance requirements are important because it’s the only way to ensure that the law is being obeyed. There are penalties involved in not maintaining the minimum amount of insurance or proof of financial responsibility.
Who Drives in California?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 38,041,430 people living in the state of California as of 2012. In terms of drivers in the state, the best statistics are maintained by the Federal Highway Administration. As of November 2012, that agency reported that there were 23,859,600 legally licensed drivers in the state of California. Of that number, 12,110,173, or 50.76 percent, were male, and 11,746,427, or 49.24 percent, were female. This information is reported strictly for statistical purposes. Insurance companies do not consider things like race or gender when calculating premiums.
It’s easy to see why a person’s driving record affects how much they pay for auto insurance. However, it’s far from the only thing that’s taken into consideration. Insurance companies know that experienced drivers tend to be safer drivers. It stands to reason that older drivers are safer drivers because they usually have plenty of experience behind the wheel. In the state of California, according to the Federal Highway Administration, 881,247 people, or 3.7 percent of all licensed drivers, are aged 19 or below. Interestingly enough, the largest group of drivers in the state includes drivers between the ages of 45 and 49. That group includes 2,404,709 people, or about 10 percent of all licensed drivers.
Auto Insurance Requirements in California
Some people think that it’s fine to simply buy insurance that meets the minimum legal requirements of the state in which they reside. This is generally a bad idea, however, because many states have very low requirements. Obeying the law is great, but having insufficient coverage means that a driver could be sued in court for damages in excess of what his policy covers. California has fairly low auto insurance requirements. Drivers can also opt to show proof of financial responsibility by filing a cash deposit or surety bond in the amount of $35,000. If an accident results in more damages than that, however, a driver could be sued in court.
In California, auto insurance policies must include these minimum coverage amounts:
- Property damage coverage of at least $5,000
- Bodily injury coverage for one person of at least $15,000
- Bodily injury coverage for more than one person of at least $30,000
Once again, it’s in a driver’s best interest to buy insurance with more extensive limits. It is entirely possible that a single accident could result in damages that exceed these amounts. Drivers are understandably concerned about insurance rates, but one way to ensure the lowest prices is by collecting car insurance quotes.
With car insurance quotes, drivers can compare and contrast a variety of options. Different insurance companies calculate premiums in different ways, so it is always worth it to do so. In California, most insurance companies are fully aware of the minimum coverage requirements. However, most also advise clients to obtain more extensive coverage. By taking their time and considering many different options, California residents can find policies that offer exceptional protection without spending huge amounts of money.