Rates for home insurance in California are calculated by the insurance company that provides the policy. They are not set by the state, but the state government must approve rate requests. Here’s what you can do to compare residential insurance costs if you are a California homeowner.
The California Department of Insurance provides a premium survey on their Web site that allows you to get an idea of what premium you might pay for your residential insurance. You simply enter the area you live in — say Los Angeles Pasadena, then type and amount of coverage you want and the age of your home. The site then generates a list of premiums for that type of scenario from various companies.
However, this is essentially just giving you a ballpark comparison. It is very useful as a starting point, but what you really need to do is get specific quotes since your situation could be unique. For example, you may have a swimming pool, and a renovated kitchen. The Insurance Information Institute recommends getting at least three different quotes to get a good comparison. You may even want more.
You can use the list of companies from the Department of Insurance site and start requesting quotes from the ones you are interested in. Make sure you provide the same information — requested coverages, deductibles, etc. — to each company to get the most accurate comparison.
Many people find it easier to go to an insurance comparison Web site. These sites allow you to enter your information once, and then they return several quotes back. The quotes are still customized to your area and situation; it just saves you some time calling or surfing the Internet and then filling out multiple online forms.
Once you have found a quote you like, check the financial rating of the company to make sure they are financially stable. Again the Department of Insurance Web site can help you here. They have a company profile tool which allows you to get information about a company such as financial rating and complaint history.
Also, be sure to ask about available discounts that can save you money, such as insuring both your home and your vehicles with the same company.