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Do You Have To Contact The Police After A Car Accident In California? 

Getting into a car accident is a stressful experience that can leave you not knowing which way to turn. Unfortunately, many drivers in California are not sure what to do in the immediate aftermath of a collision, and failing to take the right steps could increase the risk of a subsequent accident and impede your ability to file a successful car insurance claim.

Your top priority after any collision is to get medical assistance for yourself and for anyone else who was injured. But what if nobody was injured? Do you still have to contact the police?

The answer to this question varies by state. In California, drivers are required to report any accident that results in death or injury to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or the city police within 24 hours. Even if nobody was seriously injured, it’s a good idea to contact the police anyway so an officer can compile an accident report. This report will be valuable evidence if the other driver or the insurance company disputes your account of the collision. Also, some injuries take several hours or even days to manifest symptoms, and it will be harder for you to file a successful claim if you do not have an accident report.

Reporting An Accident To The State of California Department Of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Besides reporting the collision to the CHP, you are also required to file a report (called a Traffic Accident Report SR 1) with the DMV within 10 days if you are involved in an accident that results in death, injury, or property damage in excess of $1,000. The form can be mailed in or submitted electronically. Failure to submit this form could result in license suspension.

 

Do You Have To Contact The Police After A Car Accident In California? 

Your driver’s license could be suspended if you fail to report an accident that caused an injury, death, or significant property damage.

Reporting A Collision To Your Insurance Company

Many drivers wait too long to report a collision to their insurance company, often because they don’t want their premiums to increase or they simply do not want to deal with the hassle of filing a claim. This could prove to be a costly mistake since your insurance company will likely dispute or flat-out deny your claim after a certain timeframe has passed.

The exact amount of time you have to report a crash to your insurer depends on the language of your policy. A good rule of thumb is to notify your insurance company about your collision as soon as possible.

Common Mistakes To Avoid After A Car Accident

Your actions and statements immediately after a car accident will have a major impact on your ability to file a successful insurance claim. Unfortunately, many drivers in California know very little about the claims process until they are involved in an accident.

Here are a few common mistakes that could cause your claim to be undervalued or denied:

  • Forgetting to contact the police at the crash scene;
  • Not writing down the contact information of eyewitnesses;
  • Waiting too long to file a claim;
  • Not gathering evidence at the scene;
  • Delaying or failing to visit a doctor for a medical evaluation; and
  • Posting information about your car accident on social media.

Were there any important points we missed? Feel free to share them below. If you’re looking for car insurance in California, Click Here to see the results of our quote comparison study.

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5 Ways Drivers With An Accident History Can Save On Car Insurance

Your car insurance rates are ultimately based on the likelihood that you’ll file a claim and the potential cost of that claim to the insurance company. Although each insurer takes a different approach to calculating premiums, there are some criteria that are fairly consistent from one carrier to the next. One of these criteria is accident history.

If you were involved in a recent collision, your insurance company will most likely consider you to be a higher liability and will therefore increase your premiums. Fortunately, in an effort to attract more policyholders, some insurers are more lenient on drivers who have an accident history.

If you were involved in a collision and noticed an uptick in your premiums as a result, here are five potential ways to get your premiums reduced:

1. Take A Defensive Driving Course

Some insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who take a defensive driving course. The idea here is that such a course will reinforce good driving habits and will therefore reduce the likelihood that you’ll end up filing a claim.

Some defensive driving courses must be taken in-person while others are available online. Your insurance company may only offer discounts for taking a course that meets specific criteria, so speak with your provider before comparing your options.

2. Opt For Less Coverage

If you currently have add-on coverage like comprehensive insurance, collision insurance, or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, consider reducing your policy limits or removing those coverages from your policy. You may also be able to lower your premiums by opting for less liability coverage, though you should bear in mind that the lower your coverage limits, the higher your financial liability in the event of a major accident.

Another way to get your premiums reduced is to opt for a higher deductible. This is the amount you will have to pay before your insurance coverage pays out.

3. Consider Other Discounts

There are numerous insurance discounts available, but some insurance companies won’t offer them unless you ask. Common discounts include multiline discounts, multi-vehicle discounts, good student discounts, and discounts for paperless billing.

4. Purchase A Vehicle That Is Cheaper To Insure

Some vehicles have particularly high rates of theft and accidents, so they tend to cost more to insure. You may be able to get your insurance rates lowered by purchasing a vehicle that has a low claim rate and low horsepower.

 

5 Ways Drivers With An Accident History Can Save On Car Insurance

The year, make, model, and horsepower of the vehicle you drive could have an impact on your insurance rate.

5. Compare Quotes From Multiple Insurance Companies

Since each insurance company takes a different approach to calculating premiums, the rates you get from one provider could be significantly different from another. If you noticed an uptick in your rates after a collision, try comparing quotes from multiple providers to find one that caters to your particular driver profile.

To help you save time, our team conducted a study that compared estimated auto insurance quotes from multiple providers in each state for drivers who had an accident history. You can find the results of that study here.

If you know of any other strategies for reducing car insurance premiums after an accident, feel free to share them in the Comments section below.

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How Can I Get My Car Insurance Premiums Reduced? Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What Factors Affect My Auto Insurance Rates? When Can My Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums? What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?

Why Cheaper Isn’t Always Better When Buying Car Insurance In California

Everybody likes to save money, but purchasing the cheapest car insurance available in California comes with inherent risks. If you cause an accident and your policy limits aren’t enough to cover the damages, you might have to foot the bill out of your own pocket, which could lead to overwhelming debt and possible bankruptcy.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider buying auto insurance in California that exceeds the minimum required limits:

1. The Minimum Liability Limits May Not Cover All Of The Damages

According to the California Department of Insurance (CDI), all drivers must be able to show proof of financial responsibility for any vehicle they drive. Most people do this by carrying auto insurance policies.

In the state of California, drivers are required to carry liability insurance that meets certain minimum limits. Those limits are $15,000 for the death or injury of one person in an accident, $30,000 for all injuries and deaths caused in one accidents, and $5,000 for property damage. As you may already know, these limits often are not enough to cover all of the damages caused in a major collision.

 

Why Cheaper Isn’t Always Better When Buying Car Insurance In California

The minimum liability coverage often is not enough to pay for all of the damages caused in a major collision.

2. Premiums Are Not The Only Cost

When you’re looking at how much your insurance will cost, the premiums are not the only expense to consider. Although cheaper premiums might reduce your monthly expenses, you will likely have a high deductible to pay if you are ever forced to file a claim.

A deductible is the amount you have to pay before insurance will pay out. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible, you will be required to pay the full $1,000 before your insurance will cover the remaining damages up to your policy limits. Ultimately, you might end up paying more in the long run if you carry the cheapest insurance and wind up having to pay a high deductible.

3. Optional Coverage Can Save You From A Big Bill

Although the minimum liability coverage is mandatory in California, there is add-on coverage available that could protect your financial security. It is important to remember that liability insurance only covers the expenses of other people in a collision that you cause; it will not cover your own medical bills or property damage.

Here are a few types of add-on coverage available in California:

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This type of insurance covers you if someone who is uninsured or does not carry enough insurance hits you.
  • Medical Payments Coverage: This coverage helps pay for medical expenses if you or passengers in your vehicle are injured.  MedPay will go into effect no matter who is at fault in the crash.
  • Collision Insurance: This covers vehicle repairs after a collision, even if you hit an inanimate object.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: This covers damage due to bad weather, theft, fire, vandalism, or other types of non-accident related events.
  • Additional Insurance Coverage: California drivers also have the option to purchase coverage for amenities such as stereos or custom wheels. You can also buy insurance for towing, road service, or a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired.

Although cheap auto insurance in California might have an attractive price tag, it’s important that you have a full understanding of your financial liability before you commit to a policy. It’s a good idea to invest in extra liability coverage, a low deductible, and optional add-on coverage if you can afford them.

Did we miss any important points? Feel free to leave a comment below.

 

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Car Insurance FAQs
How Can I Get My Car Insurance Premiums Reduced? Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What Factors Affect My Auto Insurance Rates? When Can My Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums? What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?

8 Car Insurance Discounts You Might Be Overlooking

Everybody likes to save money, and one of the easiest ways to cut your monthly expenses is to get your car insurance premiums reduced. You may already know that car insurance companies offer lower rates to drivers who avoid accidents and traffic citations. What you might be overlooking, though, are the numerous discounts that insurance providers offer but don’t disclose to policyholders unless they ask.

Here are a few common auto insurance discounts to discuss with your provider:

1. Loyalty Discounts

In an effort to maintain policyholders, many insurance companies offer discounts to customers who renew their policies. Before you set your policy to auto-renew, ask your provider if they offer a loyalty discount.

2. Defensive Driving Course Discounts

Some insurance companies offer discounts for taking a defensive driving course under the assumption that drivers who do so are less likely to file a claim. These courses are available online and in-person. Ask your insurance company if they offer this type of discount and which courses are eligible.

 

8 Car Insurance Discounts You Might Be Overlooking

A defensive driving course can reinforce safe driving behavior and possibly lead to reduced insurance premiums.

3. Low-Mileage Discounts

Drivers who have low annual mileage are statistically less likely to be involved in a collision, thus reducing the probability of filing a claim. Try comparing quotes from multiple providers to find one that caters to low-mileage drivers.

To help you save time, our team compared estimated quotes from multiple providers in each state to find the best rates for low-mileage drivers. You can view the results of our study here.

4. Safe Vehicle Discounts

Your insurance company may reduce your rates if your vehicle has antilock brakes, an antitheft device, a collision mitigation system, or other crash- and injury-prevention technologies. You may also be able to get your premiums reduced if you purchase a vehicle that has low horsepower and a low rate of claims.

5. Good Student Discounts

Insurance companies have clued into the fact that claim rates are lower among good students. If you’re enrolled full time and your GPA is 3.0 or higher, you may qualify for a good student discount.

6. Paperless Billing Discounts

Opting for paperless billing will reduce your insurance company’s overhead, which may translate into lower insurance premiums.

7. Multi-Vehicle Discounts

If you have multiple vehicles in your household, there’s a good chance that you could save by getting them both insured by the same company.

8. Multiline Discounts

Some insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who purchase multiple types of policies. For example, if your insurer sells both homeowners insurance and auto insurance, find out if they offer multiline discounts.

Maximize Your Savings By Asking About Car Insurance Discounts And Comparing Quotes

Besides inquiring about car insurance discounts, one of the best ways to save on auto insurance is to compare quotes from multiple providers. Each insurance company has its own formula for calculating premiums, so the quotes you get from one provider may be significantly different from the next.

Were there any important discounts or money-saving tips that we missed? Feel free to share them in the Comments section below.

 

Find Cheap Insurance By State
Find Cheap Insurance By Driver Type
Car Insurance FAQs
How Can I Get My Car Insurance Premiums Reduced? Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What Factors Affect My Auto Insurance Rates? When Can My Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums? What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?