Holiday Savings Tips – Best Times for Bigger Purchases

Holiday Savings Tips – Best Times for Bigger Purchases

You may have your eye on that new PlayStation for your nephew. But the holidays are also a great time to buy other big-ticket items from washing machines to kitchen appliances and even cars. That’s when many will go on sale.

If you’re looking to save this season, follow these tips for how to score bigger purchases for less, and how to save for everyone on your list.

The Best Times to Buy

You can usually find the best deals on Black Friday and on Cyber Monday—the Friday and Monday, respectively, following Thanksgiving. These are the times that many items go on sale. (See the next section for specific items.) Similar sales will be found on other major holidays, including New Year’s Day, President’s Day/Weekend, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Veterans Day. Small Business Saturday, a relatively new celebration, occurs the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas, often is a good time for last-minute deals. Finally, Amazon Prime Day and similar days from other retailers can offer substantial savings. That’s good for your budget.

In addition to holiday sales, off-season purchases can save you plenty. Buying an air conditioner at the end of summer, or a snow blower after winter is done, can be cost-effective. You’ll just have to wait until the next season to use it.


Holiday Sales

Some items take center stage during the fall and winter holiday season. These are often popular gift items, but not always. Bankrate reports that December is the best time to make these purchases:

Household appliances: New appliance models typically come out in November. That means sales start on last year’s models to make way for the new ones. This includes washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, blenders, toasters, vacuums, humidifiers, carpet cleaners, and more.

Technology: November and December are great times to buy smart devices, tablets, smart watches, and computers, which often go on sale this time of year. Save even more by buying the previous version after the new one comes out.

Exercise equipment: December is a popular time to buy exercise equipment, with January coming in at a close second. Companies often have sales on home workout equipment, from treadmills and ellipticals to rowing machines and exercise bikes, starting Black Friday.

Security cameras: Prices are known to drop on these essential devices just around the time that thieves become active—during holidays. That’s when companies try to get rid of older models to make way for new ones, and often offer discounts.

Toys and games: Retailers start discounting toys and games close to the holidays so that they won’t be stuck with too much stock. However, popular toys sell out fast, so you may need to pay full price to get one.

New vehicles: Car prices drop at the end of the year as salespeople push to make their quotas. The best time to buy a new car is October through January 1. If you miss that window, May is when the new models start coming and dealers look to get rid of older stock.


More Ways to Save

Whether you’re buying a big-ticket item or a meaningful, smaller gift, use these tips to save even more.

  • Compare prices of an item at various retailers before you buy it. Use apps like Honey and PriceGrabber.
  • Look for online promo codes at sites like CouponCabin, RetailMeNot, and
  • Use online shopping portals, like BeFrugal, Rakuten, and MrRebates, to get money back when you shop. Or use credit cards with cash back rewards.
  • If shopping online, look for free shipping. There’s a free shipping day in mid-December, and many retailers participate.
  • Many stores offer discount codes during the holiday season and additional discounts for teachers, students, veterans, military families, seniors, nurses, and first responders. Look for or ask about discounts that apply to you.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute. You will tend to overspend due to the stress of getting something.


Looking for extra cash for holiday gifts?

Some insurance companies allow you to skip payments around the holidays. At California Casualty, you have the option to skip your auto insurance payment for two whole months. (You also have this option to skip in the summer.) Ask your agent for details.


Happy holidays from all of us at California Casualty!



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


Insurance 101: Auto & Home Deductibles

Insurance 101: Auto & Home Deductibles

Insurance policies may seem like they’re written in another language. Yet it’s important to understand the terms so you can get the most out of your coverage. Here’s a quick tutorial on deductibles and what they mean for your auto and home insurance.


What is a deductible?

Simply put, a deductible is the amount of money that you pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in. Generally, your insurer deducts the deductible amount from the payment that they make on your claim. You can find the deductible listed on the declarations page, which is the front page of your policy.

Example: If the cost of a repair is $1,500 and your deductible is $500, insurance will cover $1,000.

Unlike health insurance deductibles, you do not have to reach an annual amount in an auto or home policy before insurance will pay. Each time you file a claim, there is a deductible (if it applies). One exception is the state of Florida where hurricane deductibles are once per season.


High vs. Low Deductibles

You select your deductible from a range of choices provided by your insurer. If you choose a lower deductible, that means your insurer will need to cover more in the event of a claim, which will raise the cost of your policy. If you choose a higher deductible, you’re willing to cover more of the cost in a claim, and that will lower your premium.

Lower deductible = Higher insurance premium

Higher deductible = Lower insurance premium

It’s important to note that you will have to pay the deductible if a loss occurs in a car accident, even if you think the other driver is at fault.

You may think twice about filing a claim for a damage amount that is close to your deductible. For example, if your deductible is $1,000 and repairs are $1,250, it may not be worth it. You’d be responsible for the bulk of the repairs, and by filing a claim, your rates may go up when you renew. See our blog about when you need to file a claim and when you don’t.


Auto Policies & Deductibles

There are different types of coverage available to you for your vehicle. Some may be mandated by your state or your lender, and others are optional. Not all coverages carry a deductible.

The following coverages include a deductible, and you may choose a different deductible amount for each one:

  • Collision: This coverage kicks in when you collide with another car or object.
  • Comprehensive: This coverage is for damage from other causes such as hitting a deer or having a tree fall on your car.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD): This coverage is for property damage from accidents with another driver who is uninsured and at fault. UMPD may or may not have a deductible; it depends on the state and the type of loss. (Uninsured motorist coverage, which is different than UMPD, does not have a deductible.)
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): This coverage pays for medical expenses regardless of who is at fault.

Pro Tip: Being able to set a deductible for each type of coverage allows you to assess the likelihood of your needing that coverage. For example, if you live in the country and might be more likely to encounter a deer than another car, you can lower the deductible for comprehensive and raise the deductible for collision.

There is auto coverage that does not carry a deductible, and that’s liability coverage. With liability coverage:

  • If you are at fault: You hit another car and cause property damage and/or driver injuries. Your liability covers the damage to the other driver and his/her car without requiring a deductible. However, your own collision policy pays for damage to your car, which would come with a deductible.
  • If someone else is at fault: Another driver hits your car and/or injures you. Their insurance will pay for damages and medical expenses. There are no deductibles.

Your insurer can provide quotes for different levels of deductibles and work with you to determine the best coverage for your budget.


Homeowner’s Policies and Deductibles

Whether you’re buying a new home, or you’ve owned yours for years, your homeowner’s policy protects your investment. Costs vary by location, age of home, construction type, number of bathrooms, and many other factors.

With homeowner’s insurance, there are generally three choices for deductibles:

  • Flat deductibles: You would choose a fixed dollar amount, such as $1,000. That is the amount you would pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in.
  • Percentage deductibles: You would choose percentage of your Coverage A limit. If your policy covers your home at $300,000, and you choose a 2% deductible, you would be responsible for 2% of $300,000 or $6,000.
  • Peril-specific deductible option: You could have a flat deductible amount and then carry a different one specifically for wind/hail losses.

There are coverages under your home insurance that do not carry a deductible. These include Scheduled Personal Property (SPP) Coverage, Coverage E: Personal Liability, and Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others.

  • Scheduled personal property (SPP) Coverage is for items that have higher values above your personal property coverage limits. This includes heirlooms, watches, jewelry, instruments, furs, or anything about which you are especially concerned such as a special guitar. (Musical instruments for example do not have a contractual limit but you will want to schedule an instrument that is special to you.) SPP offers much broader coverage for your precious items – if you lose a set of earrings, they are covered; if a diamond falls out of a ring, or if a guitar falls off a shelf and gets stepped on, they’re covered. There is no deductible if the covered items are stolen, lost, or damaged. Insurance pays the lowest of the four options: repair, replace, actual cash value or the amount of insurance.
  • Personal Liability protects you if a claim is made or a suit brought against you for bodily injury or property damage caused by an occurrence to which coverage applies. These are expenses paid to third parties for their injuries and damages. Liability covers you at your place or anywhere in the world. If you are found liable, the policy will pay up to its limit of liability for damages for which an insured is legally liable. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and permanent scarring. The policy also provides a defense in court, if needed, for the policyholder. This is at the insurance company’s own expense.


Insurance may seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Your agent can answer any questions you may have. Contact your insurer to find out more about protecting your most valuable possessions.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or




How & When to Add or Remove Someone from Your Policy

How & When to Add or Remove Someone from Your Policy

Maybe you got married—or divorced. Perhaps a nanny moved in, or your son or daughter moved out. When major life changes like this happen, it’s time to look at your insurance policy. If you need to add or remove someone, here’s what you need to know.

Who must be listed on your policy?

Car Insurance

For car insurance, you must list all people in your household. Your list will include family members but also a roommate, relative or nanny who lives with you. They are added because they live with you, not because they drive your car. It varies from state to state but you may be able to exclude those individuals who won’t drive your car.

  • Excluded from rating: If a person meets underwriting guidelines and has coverage elsewhere, they will be listed on the policy but excluded from a rating. That means no premium will be charged for them.
  • Excluded from coverage: If the person has an unacceptable driving record, they will not meet underwriting guidelines and will be excluded from coverage. A signed document is usually required.

Some states do not allow you to exclude any drivers, and others will not allow exclusions of drivers who are acceptable. Still other states will not allow the exclusion of a family member or spouse. For details on excluding someone from your policy, see the section on removing someone from your policy.

Homeowner’s Insurance

For homeowner’s insurance, the policy must be in the name of the person who owns the home. That person’s name is listed on the title. If another person, spouse or not, has their name on the deed/title and they live in the home, they will be added as a named insured.


Adding someone to a car insurance policy

You can either call your insurance company or log into your account online to add a person to your policy. You will need their:

  • Name and date of birth
  • Driver’s license or permit
  • VIN for the vehicle(s) that they are driving
  • Number of years that they have been driving
  • Driving record, including any accidents or violations

Your insurer will then give you a cost quote for the additional driver. Ask your insurer for ways to save money while bundling or with other discounts.


Removing someone from a car insurance policy

If someone on your policy no longer lives with you and/or no longer drives your car, that’s a good time to remove them.

  • You will need to provide proof that the individual no longer lives with you.
  • If your loved one has passed away, you will need to provide the death certificate.
  • If the person still lives with you, your insurer may require you to keep them on the policy or show proof of their own insurance.

Special situation: child away at school

If your child is away at school, and you are expecting that child to return for breaks, this is not the time to remove him/her. If your child has a car that will be kept at home and not driven while he/she is at school, ask your insurance company whether you qualify for a discounted rate. If your child is over 100 miles away without a car, you may receive a discount.

Children away at school are automatically covered by your policy, so you are not able to remove them. However, as your children age and move out, that will change. When should you remove your child from your policy? It really depends upon your unique situation and needs. While there is technically no age limit for children on a policy, many insurance companies require children get their own policy once they are no longer a dependent, even if they are still living with the insured.

Excluding a driver vs. removing a driver:

Some insurance carriers allow you to exclude a driver, even if they live with you. Excluding a driver means that they will not be covered while driving any vehicles. You may be able to exclude a driver for an unacceptable driving record, and therefore reduce your premium. Note that there will be no coverage of that person driving your car even in an emergency, and if that person is discovered to be driving your car, your insurer may decide to increase your premiums or decline to renew your policy. It’s important to note that if the excluded driver does drive and has an accident, you, the insured, will be responsible for paying for all the damages/injuries out-of-pocket. That includes any damages/injuries that occur if they are driving someone else’s car too.


Adding someone to a homeowner’s policy

The homeowner’s policy is held by the person or people whose names are on the title/deed of the home.

  • You may add your spouse as a named insured on your policy if they are on the title/deed. Depending upon your spouse’s claim history, note that this could raise your rate.
  • If you’re not married but living together, and the non-married partner’s name is on the deed/title, you may add them as a named insured.
  • You may want to adjust personal property coverage if your new spouse has items that increase the value above what is currently on your policy.
  • You must be named on the policy to file a claim.


Removing someone from a homeowner’s policy

If you are the primary homeowner listed on the policy, you may remove someone from your policy. Traditionally, this happens during a separation or divorce. A homeowner’s policy can be maintained during a separation, but should be changed as soon as the divorce is finalized. At California Casualty, we typically wait until the divorce is final and/or the policy renewal date to move property policies from one account to another.

  • Only a named insured on the policy is authorized to make changes. Ideally, the changes should follow the separation agreement.
  • The effective date the change takes place depends upon your policy.
  • The spouse who moves out, but is still on the deed, should be named as an additional insured.
  • Your homeowner’s policy should be listed under whomever keeps the house.


Adding or removing someone to a renter’s policy

You’re often able to add coverage for a partner or roommate to your renter’s policy if they move in. There are three main ways to do this.

  • You can add coverage for a roommate for an additional cost. You can do this on a homeowner’s and renter’s endorsement called “Other Member of Your Household.”  Some states do not charge a premium for this. You can remove this person at any time, with no notice given to them.
  • Unless you are married, you cannot add a significant other as a named insured.
  • You can ask the person to get their own policy. Separate policies mean each of you has the full amount of liability coverage if you cause a loss.


Having the right coverage gives you peace of mind. Make sure you are protecting your greatest investments.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Protecting Your Cell Phone From Hackers

Protecting Your Cell Phone From Hackers

Your cell phone is your trusted companion, your admin assistant, social director, banker, compass, and connection to the world. If it ends up in the wrong hands, you could be in deep trouble.

At best, a hacked phone could make life difficult. At worst, it could result in thousands of dollars in identity theft. Here’s what you need to know to protect your cell phone from hackers.


Update to the latest version.

Many hackers take advantage of out-of-date operating systems. Whether you have iOS or Android, make sure to update your phone to the newest version. This will give you the latest security fixes.


Avoid fingerprint and facial recognition.

Hackers can take your fingerprints from a drinking glass to open your phone. They also can use photos of you to get past facial recognition settings. Use a pin instead and make sure you’re the only one that knows it. Change it regularly, at least once a year.

Pro Tip: Don’t set your phone to automatically unlock, even at home. If you’re an iOS user, disable Siri access from the lock screen.


Avoid unsecured connections.

Public WiFi is available nearly everywhere. While it makes our lives easier, it comes with security risks. Use caution if you’re on an unsecured network. Never access your bank account or shop online unless you’re on a secure network with a lock icon.

Pro Tip: Use a VPN, a virtual private network that protects your identity while working on a public network. VPNs usually have an associated fee.


Use strong passwords for your apps.

Avoid pet names, birthdays, and other personal information that may readily be available on social media. It makes it easy for hackers to guess your password. The best passwords are complex and unique. Password managers make it easy to set distinct passwords without having to memorize them.

Pro Tip: For an added layer of security, use different email addresses: one for financials and one for social media.


Don’t just download any apps.

Anyone can create an app, including hackers. If you download the wrong app, you could be adding malware that can steal from your phone. Make sure the apps you’re using are from reputable companies. Take a few minutes to review your apps and delete any that aren’t verified.


Don’t save your information.

It may be convenient to save your credit card information on online shopping sites. Check out as a guest instead. Be selective when you give out your personal information.


Freeze your credit.

Cell phone providers use the National Consumer Telecom & Utilities Exchange. Freeze your credit with them and with the big 3 credit unions: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. This will ensure that no one can open new accounts in your name.


Disable WiFi, Bluetooth and Cellular Data if not using your phone.

A hacker can’t hack you if you’re not connected. When in a public place, you can disable access to the internet. One easy way is to turn on Airplane Mode. You also can use your user’s manual to find out how to disable connectivity.


Consider anti-virus software.

There are two schools of thought on whether security software is necessary for smartphones. Some say it’s unnecessary and others recommend it. You may consider it as an additional layer of protection.


Know how to control your phone remotely.

Settings and apps allow you to remotely lock and erase your phone if it’s stolen. Make sure you know how to use them. There is the “Find My Phone” option in iCloud and the Android Device Manager in Google.


Back up your data.

Make sure you regularly back up your data to the cloud or your computer. If you’re hacked, you’ll still have access to that information.


How to Know if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

You may not realize the moment your phone is hacked. Initially, it may present as a technical issue. Malware can cause this with its malicious code. Watch for these telltale signs:

  • Your phone loses charge quickly.
  • Your phone runs very slowly, freezes and crashes.
  • You notice unusual activity on your online accounts.
  • There are popups or changes to your home screen.
  • You receive unfamiliar calls or texts.

If you believe your phone was hacked, install and run anti-virus protection. Delete any risky apps, texts, and files. If the damage is extensive, you can always wipe and restore your phone to factory settings. Then you’ll be able to address the damage done by hackers to your accounts, both financial and social.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


Vehicle Air Conditioning – How to Maximize the Cool

Vehicle Air Conditioning – How to Maximize the Cool

Getting into a hot car is the last thing you want to do on a scorching summer day. You want to cool that car down fast. We researched the tried-and-true methods to maximize the cool in your car’s air conditioning system. Read on to find out more.

How air conditioning works in your vehicle

Your car’s air conditioning pulls air in from the cabin or outdoors. It takes out the heat and moisture, and then pushes it through the vents so you feel cool air. Importantly, the air conditioner draws energy from the engine. When you put on the air, your engine must work harder, and you burn more fuel. So, you want to cool down, but you don’t necessarily want to do it by burning more than you need to.

Follow these 6 tips to cool your car quickly and efficiently.


#1: Park in a shady spot.

Give your air conditioner some help by parking in a shady spot. While your car will still be hot, it will be cooler than in the direct sun. That way your air conditioning will start with the air at a relatively lower temperature and have less work to do to bring the temperature down.

Pro Tip: If there is no shady spot, create one with a sunshade. Not only does it help with heat, a sunshade protects the inside of your car from damaging UV rays.


#2: Wait to run the AC.

Roll down the windows and let the warm air escape before you get into the car. Open your door and move it back and forth like a fan, to force some cooler air in and hot air out. Then, wait until the car is in motion to turn on the air conditioning. Precooling without driving can reduce the battery life of an electric or hybrid car. Plus, as you’re moving, the air flow will naturally help the AC run more efficiently. The faster you go, the faster the engine turns, and the faster the compressor runs, resulting in cooler air.

Pro Tip: So that the steering wheel and other components aren’t too hot to touch, try wiping them down with a damp cloth prior to driving. In a pinch, wet wipes can work.


#3: Don’t switch to max right away.

When you first get into the car, it’s usually hotter inside than the air outside. You don’t want to pull in that hot air. Instead, turn on the fan to maximum speed and make sure it’s set to outside mode (not recirculate). Leave the AC button off at first. Once you’ve had a chance to force out some of the humid and hot air, then turn on the AC mode and set it to recirculate. Keep it on the coldest setting until it’s the temperature you want.

Pro Tip: Before you shut off your car, turn the air off. That way it won’t go on automatically when you turn it on again.


#4: Install an AC curtain.

It’s faster to cool a smaller space than a larger one. That’s the idea behind an AC curtain. This fan-powered device creates an invisible barrier that keeps cold air in one section. In a larger SUV or minivan, this could reduce the space that needs to be cooled, and it works well if there are just a couple of occupants.

Pro Tip: Amp up the cool with a cooling seat cover with its own temperature control.


#5: Change your air filters.

Your car’s air filters remove dirt, pollen, and dust from the air. When your cabin filters are clogged, they struggle to get the air through. That’s why it’s important to clean them according to the schedule in your owner’s manual. This is usually every year or two, or every 15,000-20,000 miles.


#6: Keep your car well maintained.

A dirty air condenser impacts the performance of your air conditioning system. Have your condenser cleaned with regular maintenance. If your AC is not working well, check the system. It could be a worn-out part, or too little refrigerant in in the system. Note that adding refrigerant is not a normal task. The system is sealed, and so if refrigerant is low, you could have a leak.


Finally, protect your car with the right insurance for added peace of mind this summer.


Safe travels.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


When You NEED to File a Claim, and When You DON’T

When You NEED to File a Claim, and When You DON’T

You accidentally bump the car in front of you. Luckily, there’s not much damage. You pick up the phone to call your insurer. Wait a minute. Will filing a claim for this accident save you money or cost you in the long run?

Filing a claim may have consequences down the road. Too many claims could cause a non-renewal of your policy. Even a single claim could raise your insurance premium when you renew. Plus, you may not have to file a claim with your insurance company if you are not at fault. You can possibly get compensated by the other driver’s insurer.

Follow this guide to know when to file a claim, when to skip it, and what to do if someone else is at fault.


Do file a claim…

If there is bodily injury

You should always file a claim if someone is injured. Bodily injury coverage helps pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering for the driver and passengers in the other vehicle. In no-fault states, your own injuries are typically covered by your auto policy through a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim. (It differs from state to state.) Note that many injuries don’t show up immediately. Whiplash could take days or weeks to appear.

If there is major property damage

You should always file a claim if there is major property damage. With an auto insurance policy, property damage coverage helps pay for repairs for the other vehicle or for repair/replacement of property, such as a fence, damaged or destroyed in the collision. With home insurance, a personal property policy covers damage to your possessions. Other parts of your homeowner’s policy cover the home and other structures.

If you’re at fault and others are involved

Even if the damage seems minor, the other driver can sue you after the accident. That’s why it’s a good idea to file a claim for accidents where you are at fault and others are involved. Report the accident to your insurer so that they will be able to represent you. Your liability insurance will help to cover you. Your insurer will work hard to avoid a lawsuit. They will handle the claim and pay for damages/injuries for which you are legally responsible. If you purchased coverage for your car, they would repair that also, subject to your deductible. Importantly, don’t pay the other driver out-of-pocket for damage that you caused. That will work against you if you are sued since it appears you were at fault.


Don’t file a claim…

If it’s a single-car accident and nobody is hurt

If your car hits a tree or fence, and no one is hurt, it may not make sense to file a claim.

However, if you are at fault, you will have to pay for the damage/repairs to the tree/fence. In this case, your Property Damage coverage would apply and pay for damages you are liable for up to your policy limit.

Your collision will pay for repairs minus the deductible. If you don’t have collision coverage, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for the repairs. If, however, your car hits a deer, your comprehensive coverage kicks in. Comprehensive coverage applies when something other than a collision causes the damage.

When damage is close to the deductible amount

If your deductible is $500, and repairs would be about that amount, it doesn’t make sense to file a claim. You’re responsible for the deductible amount, and you would get just a minimal check from your insurer.

When you hit a family member’s parked car

If it’s unlikely your family will sue you after the accident, and if the damage is minor, you can probably handle it without filing a claim. You can pay for the repair for your family member out-of-pocket.


If you’re not at fault

If the other driver has insurance

If the other driver is at fault, you can file a claim with his or her insurance company. That insurer can provide you compensation with no effect on your insurance policy. Note that it is possible for fault to be shared. You may have to file a claim with both your insurer and the other driver’s insurance company if that is the case.

If the other driver has no insurance

File a claim with your insurance company. Your collision coverage will apply if you are hit by an at fault uninsured motorist.  Your collision deductible can be waived if there is direct physical contact, and the owner or operator of the uninsured vehicle is identified by its license plate number. If you don’t carry collision, you can carry UMPD – uninsured motorist property damage.  This coverage has either a policy maximum or a special deductible.  Most states allow you to carry Collision or UMPD, but not both. Collision has a deductible but no policy limit.  UMPD has either a policy limit or a deductible. If you or your passengers are injured by an accident with an at fault uninsured/underinsured motorist, you can use your uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, if purchased. 


Noteworthy tips

  • Take photos of damages. Try to take them before the cars are moved, especially in a parking lot accident. Make notes of the street, speed, and get ID from the other driver, i.e., license plate or driver’s license number.  Get information on “independent” witnesses (not your friends or family members). You may need them even if the other person says they are sorry.  People often change their story when it comes time to file a claim.  Police don’t often come to accident scenes any longer unless injuries, drugs, or alcohol are involved.
  • Even if you do not file a claim, make sure to file a police report. This is evidence that the accident occurred and could protect you from false claims late You typically file the report online now. Some states require you to file a report; check your state requirements.
  • Check out your car after an accident. Small leaks or damage could be present that weren’t immediately apparent. Knowing the extent of the damage may help inform you whether to make a claim.
  • Don’t delay your decision. You have limited time to file a claim, though most states allow 1+ years to make and settle an injury claim.
  • Buy a dashcam. It may be the only thing that proves what happened in the accident.

It’s always a good idea to read your policy and understand your coverage. If you have questions, we’re only a phone call away.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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