What is auto insurance?
Auto insurance is not only mandatory in California, but it protects you against financial loss if you have an accident. It is a contract between you and the insurance company. You agree to pay the premium and the insurance company agrees to pay your losses as defined in your policy.
Auto Insurance (includes but is not limited to) the following types of coverage:
- Liability (including Property Damage) – Mandatory in California, this coverage pays for bodily injury and property damage if you are found to be at fault or partially at fault in an incident.
- Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist – Optional in California, uninsured motorist coverage pays for medical injuries to you and your passengers inside your vehicle if you are hit by an uninsured motorist. Underinsured motorist coverage pays if the other party’s insurance limits are not enough to cover your injuries or damage to your vehicle.
- Medical – Optional in California, this coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation, and sometimes lost wages, and funeral expenses for you and your passengers inside your vehicle.
- Comprehensive – Optional in California only if your vehicle is paid off. Coverage is provided for theft or damage to your vehicle from fire, theft, falling objects, missiles, explosion, earthquake, windstorm, sandstorm, hail, vandalism, flood, riot and civil commotion. Pays for damages (other than collision) with another vehicle.
- Collision – Optional in California only if your vehicle is paid off. This pays for damage to your vehicle.
- Towing – Optional in California this coverage pays for reasonable towing and roadside assistance.
- Rental Car – Optional in California, this coverage provides a rental car to you if your vehicle is disabled due to a covered loss.
Why do you need auto insurance?
Besides it being the law in California, it's really all about protecting yourself financially.
- If you're in an accident or your car is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
- If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
- If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
What will happen if I go without auto insurance?
You may be subject to fines and\or your driver's license may be suspended. You can also be cited for not being able to furnish proof of insurance to a police officer.
When do I have to show proof of insurance?
Before you renew your vehicle registration, you may be required to show proof of insurance. Most insurance companies today are now electronically transmitting proof of insurance to the DMV using the vehicle identification number. If you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic violation or if you get into a car accident, you must be able to show proof of insurance. It’s a good idea to always keep valid proof of insurance inside the vehicle you are driving along with the vehicle registration.
How do I know what coverage to get and how much I may need?
As a licensed professional, we will ask you a series of questions in order to assist you with determining your needs. Generally, if you are a homeowner, we recommend higher limits of coverage. The questions will be focused around how you use your vehicle, if you still owe on your vehicle or if you lease. We will ask about your driving habits and whether or not you frequently have passengers inside your vehicle. All of these questions and more will ultimately determine your needs.
How long is the auto insurance good for?
The term of your auto insurance contract could be 6 months or 12 months depending upon the insurance company. Some insurance companies even offer both 6 and 12 month terms.
How do I pay for my insurance?
You will have several payment options available to you that meet your needs. You could pay all up front, or you could be set up on an installment plan. For your security as well as ours, we do not accept cash payments. We rarely accept checks. Most of our carriers will accept various credit cards and we can even arrange for auto draft from your bank account. Once the policy is established you can access the Zenker Insurance Agency Online Portal and make your payment to your specific insurance company.
Below are some of the auto insurance companies that we represent directly or through our carrier partners:
Nationwide, Travelers, The Hartford, Safeco, National General, MetLife, Progressive, Foremost, Kemper, and Hagerty