Is Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage Enough?

With such a large population, San Francisco, CA has some of the most congested roads in the country in one of the most populated states in the nation. There are well over 3,000 motor vehicle accident deaths a year in the Golden State and tens of thousands of more accidents that result in property, physical and emotional damages. Even if you are a good driver with a clean record, you need auto insurance. 

And as you probably already know, you are required by the state to have valid insurance in order to register a vehicle and drive on public roads. State law also requires you to meet certain coverage minimums, specifically in the areas of Bodily Injury Liability and Property Damage Liability. And unlike some states, California also requires you to carry Uninsured Motorist coverage with both Bodily Injury and Property Damage minimums.

At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc., we offer a range of auto insurance policies and get frequent requests for the lowest minimum coverage amounts. However, the truth is that this is hardly the best way to go. Even minor traffic accidents can rack up damages that exceed minimum coverage, causing you to face hefty out-of-pocket costs. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that the state-required minimums are focused on covering damages you may inflict to others, not your own. 

So for most drivers in San Francisco, CA, and all of California for that matter, minimum auto insurance coverage just isn’t sufficient. This is especially true if you have a newer vehicle with pricey customizations or even a classic car that requires specialty parts for repairs. Even cars from a decade or more ago can experience more serious damage in an auto accident, thanks to the lack of advanced safety standards and structure. 

To learn more, contact the experts at Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services Inc. We will evaluate your driving habits and specific needs in order to determine what kind of auto coverage may be best for you.

I Got a DUI Now What?

So you made a mistake and drove under the influence. You’ve gone to court and had a hearing with the DMV, and you’re probably wondering what happens now. A DUI conviction can have adverse effects on your insurance rates and driving privileges. After a DUI, there may be additional requirements for you to drive again. Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. serving San Francisco, CA may be able to help.

Your Rates Will Increase

A DUI conviction leaves a mark on your driving record that lasts for ten years. That mark can lead to increased insurance rates. However, your rate probably won’t immediately jump, because state law prohibits insurance companies from raising your rates before your renewal period. But, you should be prepared to see an increase when it’s time to renew.

You’ll Need an SR-22

Your license was probably suspended following your DUI conviction, so you’ll likely be required to obtain an SR-22 to reinstate your driving privilege. An SR-22 is a form that provides proof that you have the state-required liability insurance to drive. The DMV requires drivers convicted of DUI have one on-file, typically for three years. 

If you own a car or have one registered in your name, you’ll have to have an SR-22 on file with the DMV. If you don’t own a car, but will drive at any point during the designated timeframe, you’ll have to obtain a nonowners SR-22. 

You must request a form from an auto insurance company. They will either send it to you, or they’ll send it directly to the DMV once it’s completed.

The time following a DUI can be stressful. Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. serving San Francisco, CA can help you get back on the road. Contact us today to learn more about your insurance options.


Why You Could Be Found At Fault For Your Auto Accident

Have you ever wondered how insurance companies like Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. determine who’s at fault for an accident? Imagine you’re driving along in San Francisco, CA, minding your own business, when suddenly a car slams into your passenger side door. You feel the other driver was to blame because they hit you, but you missed the stop sign. So, who’s at fault?

How is Fault Determined

There are two main ways authorities determine who is at fault for an auto accident — Proof of negligence and showing that a driver violated a statute.

To prove negligence means that the driver operated their car unsafely. For example, if you pull away from a curb, and another hits your vehicle, you could be found at fault because it’s reasonable to say you did not make sure the roadway was clear before you entered traffic.

Another example is a rear-end accident. It could be determined that you followed too closely, which is considered an unsafe operation of a vehicle.

Violation of a statute is determined by whether you adhered to traffic law or not. So, if you ran a red light or stop sign, you will likely be determined at fault for the auto accident.

Fault Through Comparative Negligence

Even if one party is determined at fault, the other could still carry some responsibility through comparative negligence. This means that both parties were found negligent. However, one party is more at fault than the other. Comparative negligence is usually determined by witness statements, law enforcement, and statements by the insured parties.

Auto insurance coverage can protect your assets if you’re found at fault in an auto accident. Call or stop by Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc., which services the San Francisco, CA area, to determine if you have enough coverage in the event of an accident.

Travel Outside Of Florida? Make Sure You Have Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

When you’re getting ready to leave your San Francisco, CA home for a road trip out of state, you’re most likely busy planning your route and finishing your last-minute packing. What you probably aren’t thinking about is your automobile insurance policy or whether your policy covers you while driving across state borders. While the state of California requires that drivers carry minimum liability coverage of $15,000 for personal injury protection and $5,000 for property damage liability, other states may have higher minimum coverage requirements.  

Does My Bodily Injury Liability Policy Cover Me Out Of State? 

Generally, yes. While auto insurance coverage requirements vary from state to state, although you purchased coverage based on California’s coverage options, your insurance should provide protection even if you travel clear across the nation. Meeting the minimum bodily liability insurance coverage in another state isn‘t important as long as you meet the minimum in California. For example, in what is called a “broadening clause,” if you were involved in an accident in another state where the minimum requirements were $5,000 more than your policy minimum, your insurer will generally make up the difference and cover you at the higher limit. 

Are There Situations Where My Bodily Injury Liability Policy Won’t Cover Me Out Of State? 

For the most part, you can jump in your car and head to another state without thinking about your auto insurance policy. However, there are a couple of situations where your policy may not cover you: 

  • If you are moving from San Francisco, CA to another state. Your Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. policy will cover you while you are traveling to your new home, but once you move you will have to buy a new policy in that state. 
  • While most insurance companies will cover you if you head north to Canada, if your travel plans go south of the border into Mexico, you will likely need to buy insurance for driving in Mexico.

If you plan to hit the road into another state, it’s a good idea to check your auto insurance policy or call Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. to ensure your automobile insurance policy has a broadening clause or will cover you for wherever you are planning to drive.

What To Do When Your Car Gets Destroyed By A Hail Storm

You get the alert on your phone that hail is impending and you know there’s no way to get your car to safety in time. At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc., we know that hail is always a possibility in San Francisco, CA. When there’s nothing you can do to stop the damage, we’re here to help you pick up the pieces.

What to do when the hail has stopped

The first thing you should do is look over your car yourself to see if the hail actually caused any damage. Be very careful doing this, especially if you find cracked or broken windows. Sometimes hail can only cause cosmetic damage, and sometimes it can be enough to total a car. By looking it over yourself first, you might get an idea of what you’re in for.

You can’t rely on your own observations though, even if you think there is little to no damage. Be sure to contact your insurance agent and start the process of getting your car checked out. It’s possible that there is more damage than you think, or that there is damage present that you didn’t even notice.

Once you have the damage assessed, depending on the condition, you’ll have a few options on how to proceed. If the car needs to be repaired because the hail caused structural damage, then you will obviously need to repair the car. If your car is damaged but still drivable, then you can make the decision on whether you want to repair it or not. You even have the option of finding a new car if yours is totaled. 

No matter what you decide, you need to talk to your insurance agent about how to proceed after hail damage. Serving San Francisco, CA, Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. can answer your car insurance questions and help you out in the event of hail damage.

Must Have Auto Coverage for New Drivers

As a new driver, you should have adequate car insurance coverage to protect yourself and others in an accident. Knowing your options makes it easier to get the protection you need. At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc., we can help you understand the various types of coverage so you can make good decisions when choosing a policy. Here are some essential facts you should know about auto insurance coverage.  

Minimum Liability Coverage

Most states require that you have minimum liability coverage to help pay for injuries or property damage to others in case you cause an accident. As a new driver, you may want more than the bare minimum as your lack of driving experience puts you at greater risk of causing an accident. If you cause an accident with extensive damages, you could end up paying most of the damages out of pocket.

Liability insurance protects other drivers, not you. To protect your vehicle, you’ll need a collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision Coverage

Collision insurance would pay for damages to your car if you were to accidentally crash into another vehicle while driving around San Francisco, CA or run into a tree. If you own a new car and drive extensively, you should consider collision coverage to protect your investment. If you own a second-hand vehicle, however, (as many new drivers do) you may want to forgo this coverage to save money on your premium.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive insurance protects you against theft, vandalism, and damage to your vehicle caused by the elements. This coverage is essential for new car owners more so than those who drive second-hand vehicles. Consider where you live, your driving habits, and the value of your vehicle when deciding if comprehensive coverage is for you.

For more information on car insurance coverage and costs, contact Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. in San Francisco, CA.

Why Auto Insurance is Mandatory in Most States

Ever wondered what it would be like without auto insurance? While a few might celebrate the financial freedom and jump at the chance to save a few hundred dollars a year, most of us would live in constant fear. Auto insurance with Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. is meant to protect you (the driver), your passengers, and your car by covering the risk of financial liability. Drivers in San Francisco, CA and several other states must carry auto insurance. Failure to provide proof of insurance could lead to legal consequences, and you could lose big if you ever got into an accident. So, why do most states require drivers to carry auto insurance?

To Reduce Lawsuits

The use of automobiles has become more widespread, hence increasing the rate of accidents. Allocating time and space in courts to solve lawsuits over damages and injuries caused in accidents can become more difficult. Compulsory auto insurance laws help to handle such problems.

To Ensure Financial Responsibility

People are less motivated to buy auto insurance since it mostly protects other people who are involved in a car accident with you, together with their property. The state laws ensure victims of such accidents are well compensated.

Inadequate Financial Responsibility

All states have financial liability laws that require drivers to prove that they have enough assets to cover any damages they may cause in an accident. However, these laws are inadequate when it comes to remedying the risks of at-fault, non-paying drivers.

For Personal Protection

If auto insurance were optional, there would be a disparity on the road, making it difficult to handle claims. While a few drivers prepare to gamble, your auto insurance policy enables you to protect yourself, your car, and your passengers.

At Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc, we offer affordable and reliable auto insurance to the residents of San Francisco, CA and its surrounding towns. For a worry-free driving experience, contact us today.

Auto Insurance: Where to Save, Where to Spend

Car insurance: it’s required, but it can get expensive.

When you’re getting ready to cruise the streets of San Francisco, CA, stop by Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. to get a great deal on car insurance. Before you decide on which policy to purchase, consider the following ways to save some money. 

  • Raise your deductible – While a high deductible may sound scary at first, if you’re a safe driver, it’s likely to pay off in the long run. A higher deductible will lower your monthly premium. It’s a great idea to stow away the money you save each month into an emergency fund, in case you would be required to pay your deductible because of an accident. 
  • Maintain good credit – Research shows that when people effectively manage their credit, they’re not as likely to make a car insurance claim. Insurance companies use this information to come to a decision on policy cost for new customers. Paying your bills on time and staying well below your credit limits on your credit cards will help ensure that your credit score helps you get a good deal on car insurance. 
  • Take a drivers’ education course – Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who have completed a drivers’ education course. Talk with your agent at Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. in San Francisco, CA to learn more about how taking a drivers’ education course can save you money. 

When it comes to car insurance, remember that it’s important to look at all aspects of the policies you consider, not just cost. Don’t be afraid to ask your agent questions- remember; you’re the customer!

What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident with an Uninsured Motorist?

Driving a car on a daily basis is a necessity for many people. While driving a car is generally a safe activity, there are situations in which you will get into an accident.  While all drivers are required by law in California to carry liability auto insurance, some drivers do not obey this law or requirement. San Francisco, CA residents that are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist should follow a few steps to ensure they are as protected as possible. 

Contact Police

If you are involved in an accident in which an uninsured motorist is at fault, the first thing that you should do is call the police. While many minor accidents can be handled without police presence, if the other driver in the accident does not have insurance you will want to have a detailed and official record of the accident. 

Contact Insurance Company

After you have contacted the police, the next step would be to contact your insurance company. Depending on whether or not you have collision and comprehensive insurance coverage in place, you may receive full coverage from your insurance company. Furthermore, your insurance company will attempt to collect the damage costs directly from the other party and will pursue legal remedies if it is necessary.

Since being involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist is always a risk, having the right coverage in place to protect yourself is very important. One insurance company in the San Francisco, CA area that could help to ensure you have the right insurance coverage for this risk is Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. will be able to help you better understand your insurance needs and make sure you have the right policy for your situation. 


Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements for the State of California

California drivers are required to carry auto insurance so they can cover any financial losses that can come from an accident, and they must carry proof that they have an active policy inside their vehicle at all times. California drivers are also required to present the necessary documentation in the following circumstances:

  • When it’s being requested by a law enforcement officer
  • When renewing their vehicle’s registration
  • When they’re involved in an automobile accident

California insurance companies are required to file electronic reports on any covered vehicles that are for “private use,” and law enforcement officers and court officials have access to this information.

Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements

If you live in the state of California and drive a vehicle, you must have the following minimum amounts of liability insurance:

  • $15,000 that covers the injury or death of one person
  • $30,000 that covers the injury or death of more than one person
  • $5,000 in property damage coverage

Liability insurance is meant to compensate for any related financial losses for which you are responsible, and it will cover either bodily injury or property damage. However, comprehensive or collision coverage will not meet the state requirements for liability coverage.

Finding the Best Auto Policy in San Francisco, CA

If you live in San Francisco, CA and want to find a reliable automobile policy that will meet state requirements, Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. has a team of agents who will gladly help you. We have been serving the people of San Francisco, CA for a long time, and we can help you find a policy that will meet your needs and fit your budget.

Be sure to contact the office of Biddle-Shaw Insurance Services, Inc. to find out how we can help you get the coverage you need!