Find the right auto insurance

Automobile liability insurance is required for motorists in California. Proof of financial responsibility is needed when registering a vehicle. This is critical for protecting people and property in case of an accident. It is important to have a basic understanding of car insurance. Santos Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency. We represent insurance products from over 20 of the best carriers in the market.

So if you accidentally hit a tree, get into a fender bender or bump into another car, you can rest easy knowing that you have an automobile insurance policy that’s got your back.

Auto Insurance: A Necessity Because Accidents Happen

Even the most cautious drivers are sometimes involved in a motor vehicle accident. Unfortunately, the consequences are often significant damage to property, severe injuries, and even death.

State Required Minimum Liability Coverage

Each motor vehicle driven must have liability insurance from a licensed insurance company.

    • This also applies to motorcycles, mopeds and golf carts.
    • The mandated minimums are summarized as 15/30/10.
      • Bodily injury coverage for one person of $15,000
      • Bodily injury coverage for multiple people of $30,000
      • Coverage for damage to property of $10,000
    • Liability coverage is intended for injuries and property damage to others when you are found to be liable in an accident.

Possible Sources of Auto Insurance

  • Direct from an insurer: In addition to having their insurance products sold through agents, many insurance companies sell direct to consumers. Quotes are generally available over the phone or online. A potential drawback is not having the service and support from a local agent.
  • Through captive insurance agents: A captive agent represents a specific insurance company, typically a larger regional or national carrier. A potential drawback is that they may not always have competitive rates due to limited policy options.
  • Through independent agents: An independent agent may be the “best of both worlds.” They are able to consider multiple carriers that are competing to find a policy that is a great value. Also, you still have the customer service and support from a local agent. 

Advantages of Purchasing Through an Independent Insurance Agency

Policy pricing may vary considerably among the many insurers in the market. An independent agent will find you a policy that provides excellent coverage at a great value. They also will save you the time of obtaining multiple quotes and may identify money-saving discounts.  These agencies are also likely to offer other products such as home insurance, business insurance, and others. 

What are Deductibles?

Collision and comprehensive policies are used to cover damages you incur. These policies may have deductible amounts that the insured must pay before the insurer does. Common deductible amounts range from $500 to $1000. If your vehicle was in a minor “fender bender” that costs $300 to repair, you would simply pay for this “out-of-pocket”. Those seeking to reduce their insurance premium may consider selecting a higher deductible amount.

Penalties for Operating Without Insurance

As we discussed, the law requires all drivers to maintain the 15/30/10 minimums of liability insurance. During a traffic stop or the scene of an accident, law enforcement may ask you to show proof of coverage. Penalties typically include fines and temporarily suspending your driver’s license and vehicle registration. After the suspension period, the driver must obtain an SR-22 certificate. An SR-22 is essentially higher risk insurance that must be secured to restore driving privileges. Insurance companies are required to notify the state when an auto policy is canceled or otherwise terminated. This will likely trigger an inquiry regarding the status of the driver’s mandatory coverage.

Costs of Car Insurance

When you obtain a car insurance quote from a carrier, they may review a host of factors to determine your premium. The average annual premium in California is $1,626 a year. Some of the variables potentially considered include:

  • The types of coverage chosen: The least expensive option is the state minimum 15/30/5 coverage.
  • Amount of the deductible chosen
  • Recent driving record and claims history: Those with infractions on their driving record or a history of insurance claims are likely to pay more.
  • The value of the vehicle that you are covering.
  • Demographic information such as your age, gender, and marital status: for example, teenage males are more likely to drive in a reckless manner.
  • Your credit history may be a factor. Data shows a correlation between poor credit and the likelihood of filing an insurance claim.  

Possible Discounts Available

Discounted insurance rates are available from most carriers. One of the most commonly available is for those who “bundle” insurance policies. Bundling is when you purchase multiple products from the same company such as home insurance or life insurance. Those who are 65 years of age or older may receive senior discounts. Other discounts may be available to military members or those who complete a defensive driving course.


This is a consideration for drivers with “full coverage” insurance when their vehicle is “totaled.” In this situation, the insurer will typically provide you compensation based on the market value to obtain another vehicle. When the policy is based on actual cash value, the calculation is based on the replacement cost minus depreciation. 

Some companies now offer “full replacement cost” or “guaranteed new vehicle replacement” programs that ensure you can buy the newest model. Expect to pay slightly higher premiums for these policies. 

Some companies now offer “full replacement cost” or “guaranteed new vehicle replacement” programs that ensure you can buy the newest model. Expect to pay slightly higher premiums for these policies. 


The CLUE is a central database that shows any history of insurance claims filed in the prior seven years. Insurers will consider your claims history when determining rates. 

What is the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP)?

The California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) aims to provide high-risk drivers with the state’s minimum auto insurance. If you’re unable to find an insurer to cover you, CAARP will assign you to one. They’re required to offer you state minimum insurance. Premiums for this program will usually be higher than those on the voluntary marketplace. But, it’s a last resort for drivers who can’t access coverage on their own. 

Understanding Rental Car Insurance

In years past, the majority of credit card providers offered automobile insurance coverage to their cardholders. Today, many credit cards no longer offer this benefit. Your existing liability insurance coverage will generally apply to any vehicle that you are legally driving. The area of concern is coverage for the rental car if damaged, stolen, etc. 

It is critical when renting a vehicle that you check the details of your individual policy or consult with your agent. In many cases, it may be necessary to buy loss protection coverage from the rental car company. 


Why make the process of shopping for car insurance more difficult than it needs to be?

Santos Insurance Agency in San Diego is a trusted insurance agency. Our success is the result of a commitment to our clients. We assess your specific needs and consider dozens of options to find you the best coverage at the best price. We also provide homeowners insurance, small business coverage, motorcycle insurance and more. Contact us today at (858) 412-0222.