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If you reside in Chico, California, you are required by law to that you are financially responsible before you can register a vehicle in the state. Compulsory financial responsibility laws in California state that all vehicles that are operated or parked on California roadways must have evidence of an acceptable form of financial responsibility at all times. Compare car insurance rates now by using our FREE tool above!

While there are numerous types of financial responsibility, including the option to post a cash deposit with the DMV, the most common way to satisfy these rules is to purchase liability car insurance.

If you do not have $35,000 in cash to hand over to the Department of Motor Vehicles in Chico so that you can self-insure, read this guide to Chico car insurance and learn requirements, coverage options and valuable buying tips.

What are the auto insurance requirements in Chico?

Every state has their own unique set of insurance laws that is written into the state's vehicle code. Unlike some states, that have compulsory insurance laws that all drivers must comply with, California gives registered owners the option to post a cash deposit, a surety bond or to purchase liability coverage.

Auto insurance is acceptable proof of financial responsibility and will also provide you with financial protection when you experience a loss. This is why many, even those with the cash to self-insure, will elect to purchase a Chico car insurance policy rather than posting a deposit.

All residents of Chico in Butte County must carry both Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability, and all other coverage types are considered optional.

If you purchase insurance in California, you must buy coverage from a company that is licensed by the Department of Insurance in the state. You also must carry a minimum amount of coverage, which all companies in the state are required to offer to you.

What is Bodily Injury?

Bodily Injury is a third-party liability coverage type that will pay for the injuries that you cause to another driver and their passengers. The coverage will not pay to cover your medical bills or the medical bills of your passengers or family members.

Bodily Injury is available in two separate limits. One limit will apply to a single person, and the other limit will apply to all of the injuries sustained in a single accident. Currently, in the state of California, all drivers must carry Bodily Injury: $15,000 per person, up to $30,000 per accident

What is Property Damage?

Property Damage is the second type of liability coverage that all vehicle owners in Chico must carry. Property Damage will pay for the damages to property that you are deemed liable for.

If you damage other vehicles, bicycles, fences, gates, belongings or properties that you do not own, your policy will pay up to the limit on your policy.

For any of your belongings to be covered, you must carry physical damage coverage or a property insurance policy. Currently, you must carry Property Damage: $5000 per accident.

Just because these are the required limits does not mean that you are sufficiently covered when you buy a basic policy. You need to assess your needs, review your budget, and select a limit that will protect you in today's extremely litigious society. Most agents will recommend that you carry at least $100,000 per person, up to $300,000 per accident in Bodily Injury, and $100,000 in Property Damage coverage.

What optional forms of coverage available in Chico?

Contrary to the auto insurance myths, your vehicle is not automatically covered if it is stolen, vandalized or damaged. In order for your vehicle to be covered, you must carry optional types of cover. These optional forms of coverage that you can elect to carry in exchange for additional premiums will protect you and not third-parties. Here is a breakdown of the additional forms of protection you may want to add to your quotes:

Here is a breakdown of the additional forms of protection you may want to add to your quotes:

  • Uninsured Motorist/ Underinsured Motorist

Did you know that, according to the Insurance Research Council, about 14.7 percent of drivers throughout the state of California do not have insurance and have not proven financial responsibility?

With about 8279 drivers putting you at risk in Chico alone, buying protection for yourself is important, and this is where Uninsured Motorist (UM) comes into play.

UM is an optional form of protection that must be offered by all insurance companies in writing. It will pay for your bodily injuries and the injuries of your passengers when someone with no insurance, or someone with low limits, hits you. You can carry limits that match your own Bodily Injury coverage, but if you choose to reject the coverage you must do so in writing.

  • Medical Payments

Do you have medical insurance? If yes, how high is your deductible or copayment? If you have a high deductible plan, which many people do, you may want to consider adding medical payments coverage to your policy.

This coverage will pay for your own medical bills no matter who was at fault for a vehicular accident you were involved in. It also pays for the bills of your passengers. All insurers must offer a minimum of $1000 in Medical Payments coverage to Chico applicants, which can also be rejected in writing.

  • Comprehensive

How much your vehicle worth? Is your vehicle financed or leased? Generally speaking, you should carry full coverage on your vehicle if it is worth more than $2000. You must carry full coverage if the vehicle is owned by a financier or lessor.

Comprehensive will pay for the damages caused to your vehicle when it catches fire, is stolen, or is vandalized. With the theft rate for autos being high in Chico, above the national average, comprehensive coverage is important. The policy will pay up to the fair market value for the car's repairs or replacement, minus your deductible.

  • Collision

If you are involved in an accident on Chico roadways, who will pay for your vehicle to be repaired? Many believe that the other insurer will send over payment immediately, but fault must be determined before either party's insurance will pay. If you are at-fault, you must pay for your own repairs unless you carry collision.

If you are not at-fault, you will have to pay for the repairs until the insurer's agree on the fault determination.

Carrying collision coverage can benefit you either way. Your deductible is waived if you are not at fault, or you may be reimbursed for there are delays in settlement. Most deductibles are between $100 and $1000, with $500 being most common.

How to Save on Your Chico Car Insurance

No one wants to pay more than they have to to buy coverage. If you want to save money without being vulnerable to financial loss, it is important to take your time to shop around for coverage. There are hundreds of different companies, agents, and brokers that you can do business with in Chico, but not all are created equal. Here are some tips to ensure that you can find the best rate without compromising for low coverage limits:

  • Combine Insurance For Discounts: You may receive multiple vehicle discounts for combining insurance with the same insurer. If you own more than one car, quote it with the same insurer.
  • Buy Other Lines of Insurance: You can receive discounts for carrying property, health, or life insurance with the same company. If you want to save on both lines of insurance, carry more than one line with the same company.
  • Shop For a Safe Car: If you are about to go shopping in Chico for a car, think about safety first. Vehicles have safety records and these records can affect the premiums that you pay. Call for quotes to compare premiums for different makes and models before you commit to buy.
  • Take Driver Safety Training: If you have less than 9 years of driving experience or you are a mature driver over 55, you should take a voluntary driver safety training discount for savings. These courses teach you how to be defensive behind the wheel so that you can avoid an accident. The discount will be applied for 3 years.
  • Shop Around: Insurance companies have their own rating systems, and some systems benefit younger drivers while others benefit more experienced operators. Shopping around will help you determine which company has the better system for you.

The most effective way to build a quality policy is to determine how much coverage that you need and then comparison shop. Get your current declarations page, start reviewing coverage limits and options, and then use an online rate comparison system so that you can reduce the time that it takes to find competitive insurance. Once you start to review the rates and research the insurers, you can find affordable Chico car insurance that gives you peace of mind and protects you.

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