In 2004, Research for the Automobile Club of Southern California stated that a motorist convicted of a first-time DUI offense in California currently faces a total cost of $12,116. The cost includes minimum fines, $468; penalties, $780; vehicle towing and impound, $187; alcohol education class, $500; increase in auto insurance, $7,300; victim restitution fund, $100; DMV license reissue fee, $125; booking, fingerprinting and photo fee, $156, and attorney and legal fees, $2,500.
Do I need to purchase the collision damage waiver from the rental car agency?
For the best overall protection, Yes. However, if you have other-than-collision (often referred to as comprehensive) and collision coverage on at least one vehicle on your auto policy, then your policy will cover your rental vehicle as though it were your own. The deductible(s) on your policy will apply to the rental car. Your auto policy will not pay for any extra charges the rental agency may apply, such as loss of use or administrative fees. In addition, there may be a difference of opinion between the rental agency and your insurance company regarding the value of the rental car in the event of a total loss. Concerning any benefit you may gain from charging the rental car with your "gold" credit card, the charge card only responds as excess over any other available insurance. Furthermore, the "gold" card may not pay for loss of use of the rental car and administrative fees in the event of a loss to the rental car. You should always clarify coverage with your agent and be sure you understand the rental agency's contract.
Why does the driving record of members of my household affect my rates if they do not drive my car?
Auto policies are heavily regulated by the state you live in and most situations require insurance to pay no matter who's driving your car. If the insurance company only had to pay for losses involving the listed drivers then they would only be concerned with the driving records of the listed drivers because all others would not be covered.
Should I buy collision coverage on my ten year old car?
The answer depends on many factors. Compare how much your car is worth versus the cost of collision coverage plus your deductible. You can get an estimate of how much your car is worth from the "blue book" or N.A.D.A. which can be found at book stores and libraries. If you have not transferred the collision risk to an insurance company by buying collision coverage, you are assuming the entire risk yourself. Sometimes the collision coverage may seem expensive, but it should be purchased if you could not afford to absorb the total loss of the value of the car. Remember collision coverage responds to damage to your car only. If it is the other party's fault their policy will pay for damages to your car and there is no deductible.
If I drive someone else's car and wreck it, does my policy pay for the damage?
No. Insurance follows the car not the driver. The insurance covering the car would respond to damages. Your policy may respond but only as excess over the primary insurance covering the car.
What can I do to keep my auto premiums down?
Make sure you are getting all the discounts allows by your insurance company such as: Multi-Car, renewal, claim-free, good student, driver training, defensive driver course, anti-lock brakes, air bags, anti-theft device, and multi-policy discounts. Households with drivers having no tickets or accidents will be eligible for the best rates. Ask us how much you can save by increasing your deductibles. Sports cars, four-wheel drive vehicles and expensive cars will increase your premiums.
How will an alcohol-related ticket (DUI or DWI) affect my premium?
If you already have a policy in effect, it is possible that nothing will happen for some time. Your current insurance company may not find out that you have the ticket. However, sometimes insurance companies randomly check driving records. Many companies would non-renew your policy at expiration in such an instance. If that were to happen, there are several non-standard, commonly referred to as high-risk, companies that would take you. It would not be unusual for your premium to triple with a non-standard company. If you are currently getting your insurance from a preferred company, you should sit tight and not make any waves. Pay your bills on time and do not let it cancel. Also, do not change companies, as any company writing a new policy will order your driving record and find out about the ticket.