Cost of Auto Insurance in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has thousands of cars on the highways each day, traffic jams without number, and long distances to travel to reach certain areas of the city. With all of these factors considered, it is not surprising that Los Angeles is one of the most expensive American cities in which to drive. Gas is typically higher in Los Angeles than anywhere in the nation. Surprisingly, however, the cost of car insurance is one expense in which Los Angeles is exceeded by several other American cities.

Los Angeles averages fourth in the nation for insurance rates, with an average cost of $3,225 per year. Detroit, Philadelphia, and Newark all have higher average rates. However, due to the size of the city and the high costs of operating a vehicle in general, this savings may quickly be absorbed by other factors. Parking, for example, averages $20.90 in Los Angeles, the fifth highest amount in the nation.

Car insurance costs in Los Angeles, as elsewhere, are not determined solely by the city in which you live. Living in an urban area certain drives up prices; a driver in a rural area can expect to pay less than half of what a similar driver of the same car will pay in a metropolitan area. However, there are other factors which contribute to Los Angeles insurance costs.

Individual driving records and habits are probably the most significant factor in any car insurance policy’s price. Safe drivers who have avoided accidents and tickets will naturally enjoy lower rates than those with a poor driving record.
The speed at which you are ticketed can also affect your insurance price; speeds above 20 miles per hour over the limit are considered particularly dangerous. A DUI or other impairment charge will almost guarantee that you are put in a high-risk group and charged very high rates for your insurance coverage.

Where you live in the city may also affect your rates. If you are located in a relatively remote suburb and do not drive on the freeways or in congested areas very often, you can get better rates on your insurance than someone who drives across the city regularly or lives in a congested area. Further, if you live in an area where crime is very common, your comprehensive coverage may be higher than if you are able to garage your car every evening in a safe neighborhood.

Where you work can even affect your rates. If you drive downtown every day and park in a public garage, you may pay higher rates than if you work in a more remote location with monitored parking.
The type of car you drive will also affect your rate. Older cars and sedans will be priced at much less than sports cars or expensive models. The insurance company must look at the cost to replace your vehicle if it is totaled in an accident, so cheaper cars garner cheaper insurance rates.

Car insurance in Los Angeles is manageable if you have a clean driving record and are driving a modest vehicle. Checking into online quotes can give you an idea of the price you can expect to pay.

Car Insurance Fraud Crackdown in Florida

Most people are aware of car insurance fraud, but they would probably be surprised to learn how often it occurs. The frequency and serious nature of the problem have prompted many states, including Florida, to take increased action against it. Anyone who considers involvement in a car insurance scam is treading down a dangerous path. The intensified focus on this crime makes imprisonment of those involved a more likely outcome than ever before.

Tricks of the Trade

Car insurance fraud is perpetrated in several ways: staged car crashes, false claims of bodily injury, and false claims of stolen cars are a few examples. To determine payouts, car insurance companies rely on reports from adjustors and medical records from physicians and other providers. Unfortunately, vehicle owners do not always act alone, and car insurance fraud rings, including attorneys, physicians, office administrators, and others, are not uncommon. By staging crashes or lying about the facts of legitimate accidents, fraudsters are able to walk away with money they do not deserve. We all pay the price when these crimes cause our car insurance rates to rise.

Why Florida?

Thousands of questionable claims have been filed in the state of Florida with more than 1,500 in Tampa alone for the year 2010.[1] The suspicious claims filed in Tampa nearly double those filed in Orlando.

There are many reasons credited to Florida’s high number of car insurance fraud cases. Most relate purely to monetary gain. However, immigrants often stage car “accidents” to obtain the money to illegally enter the United States.

Another reason is the abuse of Florida’s mandatory Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) policy.  The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law requires all owners/registrants of motor vehicles with four or more wheels to carry a minimum of $10,000 of PIP to cover medical bills (paid directly to providers) and lost wages. The policy is known as an easy target of corrupt clinic owners and suspect attorneys and is abused in several other states as well. While PIP was created to help those in need, criminals have found ways to use it to access large amounts of money. In truth, the problem is becoming worse. Fraud arrests this year have already surpassed last year’s total.

Taking Action

Of course, car insurance companies are not happy about people lying on accident claims. While there is no surefire way to know which accidents are staged and which truly are accidents, law enforcers are taking more time to examine each accident. They have even worked to get communities involved, offering up to $25,000 to anyone who provides information leading to an insurance fraud arrest.

The state of Florida has stepped up and taken notice. State lawmakers, regulators, and law enforcement officials are working to make sure every person who receives an insurance settlement rightly deserves it.



Cheap Car Insurance in Tennessee, How Do You Find It?

If you live in Tennessee and need affordable car insurance, there are several ways to find a good rate. Online shopping, comparison of major companies, and discount auto insurance brokers are able to give you competitive rates for your policy.

Tennessee law does not require you to have insurance to register your vehicle. However, Tennessee operates on the tort law process, which means that if you are uninsured and you are involved in an accident, you can be sued for the entire amount of the damages, which can be significant. In order to protect yourself and your assets, it is important to have reliable insurance coverage.

The average cost of a policy in Tennessee is estimated to be $666.22, an increase of 2.4% over the past few years. This estimate includes $309.11 for collision insurance, $361.80 for liability, and $128.49 for comprehensive coverage. If you have an older vehicle and are a safe driver, you may not need comprehensive insurance, which covers you for events other than a car accident, or collision, which repairs damage to your car if you cause the wreck. However, you must consider the cost of fixing the damage yourself before deciding not to take out this coverage.

Finding a reasonable rate should be simple, but the variety of choices available can confuse you and leave you wondering why there is such a disparity in pricing. Online shopping in particular has created many options for potential purchasers, and it is not always easy to tell which deal is best for you.

As you search online for competitive rates, keep in mind that you should choose a policy that meets your needs and has a high liability limit. Many online advertisements do not point out that the low rates they quote include minimum coverage or high deductibles. Since tort law applies in Tennessee, it is important to have enough coverage to pay for any damages you might cause in an accident, or you may be required to pay the difference yourself.

Once you have narrowed your choices based on similar coverage, you can also compare the prices offered by major companies with agency offices. Simply calling these offices will give you a quote for your insurance. Be sure to be specific about which coverage you want and your former driving record. If you have a good record, you should expect to pay less for your policy.

Finally, many “discount” brokers advertise on television and the internet with competitive auto insurance rates. You should be cautious and read the proposal carefully, as many of these companies cut costs by cutting services. However, if you are comfortable operating without a personal agent, and you can handle online management of your account, minimum coverage options may be cheaper with these firms.

Finding affordable insurance takes a bit of research, and you should never be afraid to ask questions. If one company advertises a rate that is much lower than similar companies, you should beware. Ask about liability limits and other factors that may affect cost. Also, be sure to determine if the rate is an “introductory” rate, which will rise after a certain period of time.

Cheap Auto Insurance for College Students

College students are often good drivers, but they have a hard time finding affordable car insurance. There are several ways you can reduce your insurance rates, and several factors that will affect you if you are college-aged and looking for a good insurance policy at a reasonable rate.

First, if you are in college and still considered a dependent of your parents, you can often remain under their insurance policy while you are in school. This is usually by far the cheapest option for most college students, as parents tend to have reasonable rates that transfer to you as a student. If your parents wish you to contribute to the overall insurance bill, understand that this may be your best choice as you probably will not find cheaper insurance on your own. Be sure to have your parents ask specifically if you are covered while you are in school in another state, as some policies have different rules about this situation.

On the other hand, there are cases where college students are emancipated, or are not considered dependents of their parents. You may have moved out and already had insurance on your own, or your parents may not be willing to keep you on their insurance policy. If you have to look for your own insurance, there are a couple of things you need to understand.

First, although your individual driving record can certainly count against you if it is bad, it probably will not help you much if it is good. This may not seem fair, but remember that rates are generated from actuarial data, and younger drivers are consistently involved in more accidents than older ones. Because of your age, you will simply pay higher premiums even if you are a good driver than someone ten years older than you. Most insurance rates begin to drop around the age of 25, and by the age of 30, you can probably receive rates comparable to that of your parents if you have a good driving record.

Although it may not help you to get a better rate, your current good driving record can be a bonus in keeping your rates from increasing. Being on the honor roll at your school and taking driver’s education classes can further help to reduce your premiums, so take advantage of those discounts if your insurance company offers them.

Be sure to keep in mind that just one ticket or accident can cause your premiums to soar. Obviously, drinking and driving, whether you are the driver or a passenger in the car, is terribly dangerous and should be avoided at all times. One DUI arrest and conviction will probably make it nearly impossible for you to get insurance for the next few years while you finish school.

Talk with your agent about your driving habits. If you drive your car less than 15 miles per day or 50 miles per week, if your car is parked in a secured garage, or if you are not driving in urban areas, you may be able to reduce your premiums significantly.

While cheap auto insurance for college students is difficult to find, using the discounts and strategies that help to reduce the premiums can help you save some money.

What You Need to Know about OEM and Aftermarket parts

If you’ve been in an accident, you’ve likely faced a tough decision: should you buy OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts for your vehicle or go with aftermarket solutions that appear to be the exact same offering? There are distinct benefits to choosing each path, but the good thing to know is that — in most cases — your car will emerge fully repaired and perfectly fine no matter which option you choose.

Aftermarket Parts: Benefits and Other Considerations

Perhaps the number one benefit of choosing aftermarket parts for your vehicle repair is the amount you’ll save at the point of sale: up to 60 percent in some cases. That’s huge savings, especially in the world of vehicle parts where prices can be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars. If cost savings is your number one deciding factor, there simply is no contest: you need to shop for aftermarket parts to repair your vehicle properly.

However, the potential savings on aftermarket parts can be a negative thing, as well. First and foremost, for OEM enthusiasts, insurance companies are not on your side. Like other corporations, they seek to save money wherever possible. For this reason, insurance companies will almost always complete repairs of a vehicle with aftermarket parts made by a third-party supplier.

Another consideration is that aftermarket parts vary widely in quality, unlike OEM parts, which are produced in a standard fashion by one company — typically in one factory, as well. While this is not generally an issue for most drivers, it can and does affect quite a few each year when their repairs don’t last.

OEM Parts: The Good, the Bad, the Expensive

Buying OEM parts for a repair is a guarantee of quality for your vehicle. It’s the exact same part installed before, only newer — in most cases. You’ll have peace of mind that simply doesn’t exist with standard aftermarket parts. However, it’s worth noting that these parts can be extremely hard to find as your vehicle ages. And, as their rarity increases, so does the price you’ll have to pay to pick them up and use them for your repair.

And that’s to say nothing of the fact that these parts are, on average, much more expensive than competing aftermarket brands. However, deep pockets will be heartened to know that a thorough search and a big wallet can likely secure any piece of OEM equipment, no matter how rare. And there is something to be said for consistent quality throughout an entire vehicle’s parts.

Aftermarket parts are the discounted option that most drivers will definitely want to pursue, and they’re certainly the option of the nefarious insurance industry. However, OEM parts offer the peace of mind that comes with quality and consistency, which can’t be overrated in something as important to your safety as a vehicle. There’s no harm in trying aftermarket solutions, but those with the wallets and desire to avert the risk will want to stick with OEM replacements.

Can a Hands-Free Texting App Stop Distracted Driving?

As many people have discovered, texting and driving, much like drinking and driving, do not mix. The law takes texting quite seriously. After many instances and reports of drivers who were distracted enough by texting to cause casualties, many legal jurisdictions around the world have decide to make texting while driving illegal.

However, do these laws miss the point? Is it actually the texting that causes the distraction of the driver, or is the distraction caused by something else? Namely, would a hands free texting application of some sort allow drivers to text and drive at the same time? And most importantly, what would it take lawmakers to see the value in the idea if it worked?

Public Demands It

Lawmakers in many jurisdictions made texting while driving illegal by popular vote of the people. Over 90 percent of drivers think that texting should be illegal while driving, including those in jurisdictions where texting is not actually illegal yet. This means is that any change in the texting laws will start and end with the attitude of the voters.

Many voters also believe that texting while driving is an action mostly taken by young people, especially teenagers. As many teenagers cannot vote, the non-texting majority easily out rules them in the booth. So any hands free app would have to convince the parents of teens who text frequently that it is safe.

Loss of Coordination

The reason that texting while driving causes so many accidents is the loss of hand eye coordination. Since a hands free texting app does not require hand eye coordination, it follows that it should stop distracted driving. If the app were voice controlled, hand eye coordination would be unaffected, as speaking is done with a different part of the brain than any other motor skill.

Biologically then, this looks like an easy solution. However, as anyone who has driven while talking to a passenger knows, it’s about more than coordination. It’s about keeping your attention on the road instead of a conversation. While a hands-free app might reduce texting while driving, it may do little to combat the distraction of communicating when all focus should be on the road.

Apps Not a Complete Answer

As many apps are free or very low cost, it’s easy to see that teens especially could get their hands on the technology to stop texting while driving. Almost every teen has a smart phone, so accessibility is no problem. However, the act of carrying on a conversation is still problematic. A 2008 study at the University of Utah showed that 50 percent of drivers using hands-free headsets to talk while driving were still distracted enough to miss their exits.

By this line of thinking, the only conclusion is to say that yes, a hands-free texting app would help curb distracted driving, but it will not stop the problem. However, lawmakers have already made their decisions, and the voting public has agreed. Hands-free devices should stop texting while driving, but whether than translates into fewer distracted driving accidents is another matter.

California Pushing Low Cost Auto Insurance

The tough economic climate in the United States, especially in struggling California, has made it nearly impossible for some people to afford insurance on their vehicles. Whether laid off, struck with an illness or disability, or simply making less money, many people simply want to save where they can. For lots of Californians, that includes their car insurance premiums.

California offers its citizens many benefits. One program serves as a safety net for both those who cannot afford insurance and those who must share the roads with them. The state of California has an innovative state-run insurance program for low-income families and individuals that provides the minimum level of coverage needed to cruise the highways legally. It includes only liability coverage, but at $400 per year, it’s the kind of bargain an insurance company could never match.

Limits and Benefits

The California Low Cost Auto Insurance Program is open to all Californians who are 19 years old and have a safe driving record that dates back at least three years. In addition to experienced and safe driver requirements, the program does come with an income limit for eligibility. In California, home to the country’s highest cost of living, the limit for entrance into the program is a surprising $55,000 per year annual salary. Additionally, a recipients car cannot be worth more than $20,000 at the time of signing up — so say goodbye to that hot rod.

Once approved for the program, basic liability insurance as provided by the state of California costs a mere $400 per year, far less than typical insurance rates for the same basic coverage. Under the law, drivers need coverage for $10,000 per person in bodily injury costs, $20,000 per accident in miscellaneous and other fees and charges, and $3,000 for property damage done to the vehicle at the time of the accident.

No other coverage is provided, which may worry some drivers. However, for those who simply cannot afford traditional coverage from a private insurer, the program is highly affordable and eases the many concerns that come with breaking state and federal law by driving without insurance. Indeed, it also erases worries about being pulled over and facing fines and potential imprisonment.


This is where the true disparity becomes clear: while California estimates that 4 million people uninsured driver populate its roads every day, the Low Cost Auto Insurance Program counts only 11,000 Californians among its ranks. That’s largely because most people have no idea the program even exists.

In an effort to change that, the California Department of Insurance is heavily marketing the program, which has been around since 2000. They’re targeting low-income areas in San Francisco and across the state in an effort to save more lives from financial ruin and leave more dollars unspent from costly uninsured accidents.

There’s really no need to drive without insurance, especially in California. The state’s program is one of many ways that drivers can save money and save themselves from criminal charges at the same time.

Car Repair Monitoring Brings Consumer Satisfaction

It was just over a decade ago that shipping companies unveiled something innovative and utterly addicting: package-tracking information online. Using a simple tracking code, customers could view every single stop their coveted shipment made from its origin to its destination, and they could even get email alerts. Its popularity skyrocketed and it’s now a standard feature among anyone who shops online.

Enter car insurance companies. Noting how well consumers responded to features like package tracking, they’ve found a way to create their own online status-monitoring system. Several insurance companies, like online car insurance retailer eSurance, have unveiled the technology. All a customer has to do is choose an authorized repair shop and then log on at home to view the progress made on the car.

Mobile Applications and Social Connections

Tracking your car repair status is satisfying enough in its own right. We all love progress, and we are all terribly impatient when our cars are out of commission. Before the advent of the -Internet, it was merely a guessing game as to when the sigh-of-relief phone call would come from the mechanic to tell us we could have our independence back.

But car repair monitoring takes it a step further. The online repair tracking tools provided by some companies can be monitored by mobile applications on smartphones — iPhone and Android specifically — as well as any desktop with a web browser. You can even choose to see photos of each repair part so you can see for yourself what is done and what remains. That means there’s no guesswork as to what the car will look like when all is said and done, offering an even bigger sigh of relief for most drivers.

The biggest sigh of relief most customers is the ability to share this information on Facebook. Whether they’re using their smartphones or their desktop computer, customers can share status information and car photos with their Facebook friends via a built in “send to Facebook” option. This eliminates the need to answer phone calls from mom, wondering when your car will be fixed so she can have her car back.

Getting Satisfaction

They’ve done studies on the car insurance policyholders who get to track their car’s repair from start to finish. They show that customers who used car repair monitoring were up to 12 percent happier with their car’s repairs — and with their insurance company itself — than those who simply had to wait around and play the auto mechanic guessing game.

Additionally, 23 percent of users were more satisfied with the timeliness of their car’s repairs, indicating that there is something to be said for knowing exactly what is going on and why it’s taking so long (or, perhaps, not taking so long) to complete the job. People get easily frustrated with a lack of information. With an abundance of it, however, they actually start to like their cars and their insurance policies. In a world full of angry tirades against insurance companies, car repair monitoring is a refreshing fix for poor car insurance service.

What are Your UM/UIM Limits and Why You Should Check

Despite the fact that all fifty states mandate a certain level of insurance coverage before a driver can set out on the open road, many people leave the house with inadequate coverage — or without coverage at all. An accident involving this type of driver could be extremely expensive. Luckily, the conscientious driver can purchase a UM/UIM option with their car insurance policy to help blunt the effects of irresponsible drivers who have inadequate or nonexistent insurance coverage.

UM/UIM Explained

UM/UIM insurance essentially stands for a much longer title: Uninsured Motorists / Under Insured Motorists. It guards against those who haven’t purchased auto insurance before setting out on the open road, or those who simply have purchased minimal coverage that is not sufficient to cover the high cost of medical and repair bills for the other motorist involved in an accident.

Many states don’t require the coverage, but is available in all of them. It’s worth taking a moment to check whether you have this coverage on your policy, as many people simply don’t realize what it is, why they need it, and how it can help them. If you don’t have it on your policy, the time to add it is now — maybe even yesterday. If you currently have a policy, it’s worth checking into the coverage amounts and limits it provides.

What Are Your Limits?

It’s important for drivers to know exactly what the UM/UIM policy and limits are because the number of uninsured drivers on the road numbers in the tens of millions. The likelihood of a collision with an uninsured or under insured motorist is on the rise, as are the associated medical and repair costs. The poor economy means that many drivers simply can’t pay the insurance bill but keep driving anyway because they have to get to work.

Being aware of your coverage limits ensures that you will be able to talk with your insurance company about your options in the event of an accident. It also ensures that your financial situation will not be at risk due to another motorist’s insurance problems.

What It Covers

UM/UIM insurance can cover medical bills resulting from an uninsured motorist’s indiscretion. This is vitally important, as an uninsured motorist simply will not be able to compensate an affected driver for any costs. While a driver can sue for damages and repairs, it’s likely that someone who hasn’t purchased insurance will not have the money to pay court fees, damages settlements, or other court-mandated consequences.

And while an affected driver’s insurance company may cover some of the costs, it will leave thousands — maybe even tens of thousands — of dollars uncovered and payable immediately. There is really nothing else an insurance company can or will do, essentially because your premium amount determines your coverage and it’s only within their power to provide as much coverage and compensation as you originally paid for.

Lacking UM/UIM insurance can lead a driver straight to financial ruin, and that’s reason enough to check your limits and make sure you have adequate coverage.

Who is Your Car Insurance Adjuster and What You Need to Know

Most vehicle owners buy car insurance with the hope that they’ll never actually have to call their insurance company and use the full coverage they’ve purchased. That’s because any such phone call to an insurance company means that an insurance adjuster will arrive to inspect the damages, and this is perhaps one of the most unpopular occupations in the country. There are a few good reasons that most drivers fear an insurance adjuster, but also a few ways to ensure that this intimidation and fear doesn’t get in the way.

What Insurance Adjusters Do — and Why They’re Intimidating

After you’ve been in an accident, you will immediately need to call your insurance company and report any damages to your car as well as any injuries you’ve suffered because of the accident. In response to this phone call, they will send an insurance adjuster to your home — or wherever the vehicle is located after the accident – in order to inspect the damages and assess the amount of money it will take to repair or replace the vehicle.

Most drivers fear this part, as insurance companies typically send out one of their in-house representatives whose job is largely all about reducing the amount of money the insurance company has to pay for repairs. They’ll ask invasive questions, assuming that many of the dents, dings, and scrapes were pre-existing or the fault of the owner — and therefore not covered.

Because of this, customers often view insurance adjusters negatively. They are the people whose job it is to shield the company from over paying. Unfortunately, that can sometimes translate into making you pay large out-of-pocket sums to repair your vehicle.

How to Work With, Rather than Against, Insurance Adjusters

You can avoid the intimidating process of dealing with an in-house insurance adjuster from the first day you choose your insurance company. While many of these companies do use their own adjusters who they keep on their own payroll, an increasing number of insurance companies are contracting independent insurance adjusters in order to provide an unbiased assessment of a vehicle owner’s post-accident balance sheet.

Look for an insurance company that uses these independent insurance adjusters and you’ll almost guarantee a smoother process in the event of an emergency. They receive no benefit from the insurer for lowering estimates or damage costs.

Take Pictures and Know Your Options

Always take pictures of your vehicle’s damage immediately after the accident — and perhaps supplement them with pictures of your vehicle when you first began your policy with your present insurer. Having lots of information on hand is the best way to make sure you receive fair treatment the maximum protection your insurance policy offers.

Insurance adjusters will calculate two numbers: one that estimates the price of a high-end garage’s repairs to your vehicle, and another that estimates the cash value of the repairs at a local garage. If you’ve recently been in an accident, now is the time to consult your local mechanic and get his expert viewpoint on the cost of repairs. This is another way of being prepared, informed, and defeating the intimidating insurance adjustment process.


Many drivers regard insurance adjusters with fear for good reason. Their job is not a pleasant one, and the price tags they calculate can be even more unpleasant. Be informed, prepared, and ready to talk about your vehicle, and you’ll make the best of this process.