Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Legal Requirements of having Auto Insurance in California

If you have recently moved to California or already been living there for some time, you may already know that the California law mandates having auto insurance coverage for car owners.

The question is, how do you know if this law applies to you? 

In this post, we will talk about all the crucial aspects of auto insurance in the state to ensure that your stay in beautiful California is enjoyable! 

Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage in California

The California state law mandates that vehicle owners in the state are required to have minimum liability insurance coverage. It applies to even car owners with other state licenses or no license. 

The purpose of a liability insurance policy is to cover the cost of damage to property or personal injury if a driver is responsible for an auto accident. The minimum amount for the liability coverages in the state for private passenger vehicles are below:
  • Coverage for property damage: $5,000;
  • Coverage for injury or death to a single individual: $15,000;
  • Coverage for injury or death to more than one individual: $30,000.

Vehicle owners can also fulfill their financial liability without having an insurance policy. They can do so in the following ways:
  • Obtain a self-insurance certificate from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • Deposit $35,000 with the DMV.
  • Get a surety bond worth $35,000 from a company licensed to carry out business in California.

The law does not mandate the following types of auto insurance, but you may consider: 
  • Comprehensive coverage;
  • Collision coverage;
  • Coverage of uninsured and underinsured motorists;
  • No-fault insurance.

Note: If vehicle owners have a car loan, the lender may ask for comprehensive or collision coverage. 

Besides, auto owners can get collision coverage on their cars; they may be eligible for the California Deductible Waiver. If you get this waiver, your insurance company is likely to pay the collision deductible on your vehicle if a driver without insurance causes an accident.

Auto-Owners Must Always Carry the Proof of Insurance

In California, vehicle owners need to carry proof of insurance all the time when they are driving. Luckily, showing a license proof has become more comfortable these days with digital intervention. According to the California Vehicle Code, drivers can show electronic documents on a mobile device as proof of insurance.

To prove that you have auto insurance, you need to show the following information:
  •  Name of the auto insurance company;
  • Address of the insurance company;
  • Duration of coverage;
  • Insurance policy number.

If you commit a traffic violation or involved in a car accident and you are unable to prove of having auto insurance, the possible fines will be:
  • $100 - $200 for committing the offense in the first instance
  • $200 - $500 for each additional offense within 3 years after committing the first

Those who do not carry a copy of their automobile insurance at the time will have to go through the trouble of submitting documentation to the court to get the fine removed. 

Auto Insurance Laws in California for New Residents

If you have recently moved to California, the California Driver Handbook can be useful for you. The DMV brings out this handbook to guide auto owners about registering their vehicles, getting a state driver's license, and relevant road rules in California.

Good Driver Discount in California

The State of California provides discounts for good drivers. 

The Good Driver Discount policy provides law-abiding drivers 20% discount in their auto insurance policy. To be eligible for the discount vehicle owners must meet the following conditions:
  • Possessing a valid license for a minimum of 3 years.
  • Not exceeding one point on the driving record within the last 3 years.
  • Not involved or responsible for an accident that may have caused injury or death in the last 3 years.
  • Not have taken traffic school for traffic violations more than one instance in the last 3 years.

Low-Cost Auto Insurance Program in California

The California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) provides financial support to vehicle owners who meet the eligibility criteria. To qualify for CLCA benefits, auto owners need to meet the following requirements:
  • Drivers must be minimum 19 years old.
  • Possess a valid state driver’s license.
  • Own a vehicle with a valuation of less than $25,000.
  • Fulfill financial requirements.

Download Form: Auto Insurance Questionnaire

How to Get Affordable Auto Insurance in California

It is not easy for car owners to find auto insurance that is both affordable and comprehensive. Auto insurance rates may vary based on various factors, including the area you live, the vehicle you own, and your driving record. Even a driver's age can be significant, which determines the amount you pay for auto insurance coverage.

It requires both experience and judgment to find an ideal auto insurance policy that provides the coverage you need. At Insuranceby Allied Brokers, we can do all the hard work to get the right insurance for you. Call us today at (650)328-1000, and one of our agents will help you out.

7 Things You Should Know About Before Buying a Home Insurance

The decision to buy a home can be a daunting task, especially for first-time buyers. Amid all the planning and research while choosing a home, potential home buyers tend to overlook another important aspect, which is getting comprehensive home insurance.

Home Insurance

Home insurance will protect you from potential financial losses due to an untoward event. There are various factors to consider before buying home insurance, and we have listed those factors in this write-up so that you can make an informed decision. Here we go.

1.     Look for a suitable home insurance

When buying insurance, look at four major areas: the construction of your home, your assets, liabilities to others, and your cost of living. In the case of an accident, having the right insurance will help you rebuild your house and replace the assets. For this, you need adequate liability coverage to protect yourself. Living expenses are going to cover the cost of rebuilding and making the house livable or allow you to live somewhere else during the process of rebuilding.

Read Also: How muchHomeowner’s Insurance do you need?

2.     Ensure to have adequate coverage

The most important aspect of homeowners’ insurance is its various forms of coverage. Know about the coverage to avoid paying anything extra.

The most commons forms of coverage are below:

HO-3: This is a broader policy or the ‘special form’ that protects homeowners against all perils except the ones that are expressly excluded by the policy.

HO-4: This is a tenant's policy, and it insures the owner's household assets and personal possessions. This policy also covers homeowners' additional living expenses, if required, medical expenses, and provides liability protection.

HO-6: This insurance policy is for condominiums/co-ops, which includes liability coverage, personal property coverage, and coverage of improving the owner’s unit.

HO-8: This is a specific policy for older homes, and has similar coverage in the HO-2 policy. However, this policy only covers the actual cash value.

3.     Get insurance with replacement value

When buying home insurance, look for the one that will provide extended or guaranteed coverage with replacement value. Guaranteed replacement covers the rebuilding cost of a home that not many companies offer these days. Still, it is possible to get extended-replacement-value insurance that will cover up to 100 percent of the value of a property, along with a certain percentage to cover rebuilding costs of the home in the current market.

4.     Get insight into the claims process

Even when two policies offer the same amount of coverage, they can still be quite different from each other in terms of protecting from overall losses. Some plans may provide you with the cash value of your assets soon after a loss, but delays to cover the replacement value until you replace your assets, and provide receipts to prove it. This may pose a problem if a homeowner faces severe financial losses and has no cash reserves. This is why knowing the claims process in detail is essential so that you will have an idea of how things will turn out in case of an accident.

5.     Buy a floater policy

Often insurance policies for homeowners and renters limit the amount you can collect on the expensive items, such as jewelry, computer equipment, collectibles, and furs. In this scenario, you need to have a particular policy called a ‘floater’ or ‘endorsement’ for such items. A floater policy will also reimburse homeowners if they lose a thing. If the item is new, attach the bill of sale to your inventory and handover a copy to your insurance agent. If the item is old, get an evaluation done, and again send a copy to your agent. This way, you do not have to worry about proving your ownership of an item and its worth.

6.     Pick an earthquake and flood insurance

This is a crucial aspect if you live in a flood and earthquake-prone region like California. Generally, most homeowners' insurance policies do not provide coverage against these natural disasters. A few independent carriers offer both. Again, in California, homeowners can get earthquake insurance through the California Earthquake Authority.

7.     Consider taking an umbrella policy

As a homeowner, carrying an umbrella policy will provide you additional liability coverage to your home. The liability coverage in an umbrella policy can also protect you from potential legal proceedings in case someone is hurt on your property or caused by your family members. Umbrella policies are economical, which starts at around $200 to $350 annually.  

Get An Free Home Quote 

Before We Go

A comprehensive home insurance policy that provides coverage to your property, or protects your valuable assets and personal belongings is essential for securing the future of your family.
Before buying home insurance, consult a reputable insurance broker about various types of insurance such as condominium, renter, townhouse, specialty home, and mobile home. This will help you pick the best protection with the required coverage. For more details, call us at (650) 328-1000 or fill out the online contact form, and we will get back to you shortly.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Health Insurance for Senior Citizens

Once you cross 65, you are a senior citizen. That brings a lot of benefits with it, but it is also a time to re-evaluate your health insurance requirements. No matter how healthy you may feel, the fact is that your body is no longer the same as it was 10 years ago. Being a senior citizen does not mean that you must slow down or stop doing the things that give you pleasure and add value to your life. That being said, not looking at your health coverage to see if it provides you with the protection you now need, is a big mistake. Here are a few basic facts you need to know about health insurance for seniors.

Senior Health Insurancd

The Options

Your Original Medicare may not be enough for you as you grow older. Fortunately, in California, there are ways by which you can add on supplementary coverage to give you the health insurance protection you need.

• Medicare Advantage Plans: These are plans offered by Medicare-approved private insurers. They include Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans (MSA), Special Needs Plans (SNP), Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO) andPrivate Fee-for-Service Plans (PFFS). If you are enrolled in any of these plans, they become your primary insurance in place of the basic Medicare. Most of these plans also include prescription medication coverage. It is important to note that these plans are county-specific so there may be cost and coverage variations depending on which part of California you are in.

• Medicare Supplement Plans: These plans, which are offered by private insurers, pay for part or all of Medicare’s deductibles and co-payments. There are 10 different plan options available and some may cover costs not covered by Medicare such as foreign emergency travel.

• Prescription Drug Plans: These are stand-alone plans that add prescription drug coverage to the Original Medicare to cover the cost of not just drugs but also biologicals, vaccines and some other medical supplies that do not come under Medicare.

There are several insurance companies offering these plans and each plan has numerous options available. It is important to study the various plans and coverage options in detail to avoid making mistakes that could leave you without the coverage you want when you need it the most.

Make the Right Decisions

Finding the right Medicare supplement plan or plans that will give you the coverage you need can be confusing. Your current health and medical history will be different from others in your age group. Following the general advice available online and in magazines about the insurance you should have when you turn 65 could lead to problems in the future. Trying to do what other seniors are doing may not be right for you. You may need more health insurance or you may be paying for coverage you do not really need. Being sure that you are as protected as possible and are not paying more than you need to will go a long way in making your senior year's golden ones. The best way to ensure this is to ask a health insurance professional for advice and guidance on the type of health coverage you need.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Has Your Insurer Dropped You?

The massive increase in the number and ferocity of wildfires in California has caused several insurance companies to notify policyholders living in what they term high-risk areas, that their home insurance policies will not be renewed. The insurance payouts are not sustainable. This may seem like a cruel blow when the need for this coverage is increasing every year. The fact is that insurance is a business like any other and for an insurance company to make profits, it must trim the areas where it makes losses. If you happen to be one of those who has received such a notice, there is no need to panic. In California, insurance companies must give a notice of non-renewal 45 days before the existing policy expires. That is enough time to find alternative coverage.

Home Insurance

The Options

The first thing to do is to contact your existing insurance company to find out if there are any improvements and changes that you can make to your home that will once again make it eligible for insurance coverage. If your local fire department or any other authorized agency has a system whereby they conduct a fire inspection and give you a risk reduction certificate after changes are made, this may help convince the insurer to offer you a renewal.

If that does not work out, start shopping for coverage from other companies. Across the state, there are insurance companies that continue to offer home insurance policies. Where you live will determine how hard or easy it is for you to find replacement coverage. If you are in an area that has been designated as high risk in terms of wildfires, finding an insurer who is ready to offer you a policy will be difficult. If you can find a policy, it will, most likely, cost more, often much more than your old policy. The coverage may also be reduced. Another factor to consider is that the policy available may be from a “non-admitted” insurance company. Admitted insurance companies are regulated by the California Department of Insurance and policyholders are protected by the California Insurance Guarantee Association. Policies from non-admitted companies do not enjoy this protection.

Do not buy a new policy blindly out of desperation. Check whether that coverage is what you need to rebuild your home in conformity with current building codes if it should be completely destroyed. Many policies have limitations that will restrict the amount of  payout which could leave you short of what you need to rebuild.

If nothing works out, you can always buy insurance from California Fair Plan which is a state-run program that offers fire insurance to those who are unable to find other coverage. This coverage will be for only basic fire protection and will have no theft or liability coverage. It will also cost more than home insurance from private insurance companies.

Be Sure Before Buying

There are many options for buying a new home insurance policy, but each has its own pros and cons. Buying a policy that does not give you the coverage you need could leave you in major financial difficulties when a claim does not give you the payout you expect and need. Avoid the uncertainties and risks involved in buying a home new policy by contacting an insurance broker for advice and guidance on how to get the best coverage at the best price.