Comprehensive Insurance

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California Comprehensive Insurance

The insurance laws in California changed in 2006 and the changes may impact how your insurance coverage is handled, so always make sure that you are adequately covered.

In 2006, California made some changes to how insurance for licensed drivers in that state was handled. You are required to provide proof of financial responsibility to legally register a car in the state of California. That coverage must provide financial coverage not only for property that might be damaged in an accident, including cars or real property, but also must provide some financial coverage for injuries incurred in an accident.

In addition, all insurance companies are also legally required to electronically report the status of this insurance to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, where it can be immediately accessed by law enforcement officials and court employees.

This requirement does not pertain to commercially registered or business vehicles.

Comprehensive Insurance Means More Protection for Your Car

Liability insurance, the lowest available amount of coverage, only covers the cost of damages to the other person’s vehicle, not damages to your own. If you have a lien on your vehicle, the lien holder may require that you have at least collision insurance, which covers damages to your car in the event of an accident. Comprehensive insurance covers other types of damages that collision does not. These can include:

  • Damages caused by theft whether the car is recovered or not
  • Damages caused by vandalism
  • Damages caused by accidents involving animals
  • Damages caused by falling items

Comprehensive insurance is not required in California. However, it is strongly advised in most cases. Consider the value of your car and the potential for damages that you may face.

Situations Where Comprehensive Insurance Makes Sense

Comprehensive insurance may be the best idea in several different situations, including:

  • In areas of California where natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes or landslides may be more likely
  • In areas where the risk of vandalism and theft is higher
  • In areas at high risk for wild fires

Special note: it is important to note that earthquakes may not be covered by all types of comprehensive insurance policies, especially in areas at the highest risk for them. In those areas, it may be necessary to buy a specifically written policy directly labeled as earthquake protection.

Dealing with a Comprehensive Insurance Claim in California

If you have a claim to file under a comprehensive insurance policy, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Remain calm and make sure that the vehicle is not going to be damaged further. If you need to move it from the roadway, for instance, do so after establishing locations of items. Take pictures if possible.
  • Keep a list of model numbers and other identifying marks of items inside of your vehicle that might be covered under the comprehensive insurance policy.
  • Call your insurance company’s claim lines. Some agents prefer that you call them directly and may come to the scene personally. In this case, the agent may make the call to the claims line for you.