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Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of our most frequently asked questions and information. For in-depth information, don't miss our Insurance Info Center and these pages for common needs:

Make a payment  |  File a claim  |  Order auto ID cards  |  Change your policy  |  Quick checkup

What should I do if I'm in a car accident?

Call 911 if anyone is injured. Next, check out our accidents page for some helpful information.

I've had a property loss (home/condo/business). What should I do?

Your first responsibilities are to prevent further damage or loss and to report the loss promptly. For more information, view our property loss page.

I'm buying a car. What do I need to do?

  • Have the dealer fax a copy of the contract to us at 310-832-8024 (include lender info if possible).
  • Call us as soon as possible to add the vehicle to your policy and to discuss coverage options and removal of your old car.
  • Don’t purchase an extended warranty from the dealer. We have the same coverage for up to 60% less. Call us for a quote.
  • Don’t purchase loan/lease “GAP” insurance from the dealer on new cars. You can add this to your policy for only $12 to $25 per year.
  • If you’re buying a used vehicle, ask for a CARFAX report to check for prior accidents, ownership changes, and service reports.

What kind of car should I buy for my teenager?

Most teenagers want cool, new, and stylish. Parents want safety, with low maintenance and insurance costs. Here are some things to consider from an insurance standpoint.

Safety ratings:

New vs. Used

  • New cars can be safer and have less maintenance issues but can cost more to insure based on the model.
  • Older cars are generally less expensive to insure as they cost less.
  • Part of the major cost for "newer" drivers is the comprehensive & collision coverages. Having a vehicle that you can cover for "liability only" will save significantly on cost.


  • Generally the more expensive the car, the more it will be to insure (due to replacement & repair costs).
  • 4-door models are cheaper to insure than 2-door models.
  • Power: the more sporty and powerful the car, the more expensive it is to insure.

Sub models

  • Prices within a model can vary widely (S, SL, X, GT, etc.)
  • Get the VIN number and call us. We’ll be happy to let you know.

Warranties - We sell the same new and used car extended warranties at up to 60% off the dealer price. Call us for a quote.

CARFAX - Ask for a CARFAX report on used vehicles or go to to order one yourself.

If you are narrowing it down, call us. We are happy to give an estimate or let you know the differences in insurance prices between the models you're considering. (VIN numbers help us be more accurate!)

I'm selling my car. What do I need to do?

You'll still need insurance on the vehicle while it is for sale as potential buyers will be "test driving" your vehicle.

When you've actually sold the car, notify us so we can take the car off your insurance.

Make sure to do a bill of sale and keep a copy (to prove dates, etc.).

Be sure to submit a Release of Liability form to your DMV. (People often delay re-registering a car until the registration "runs out," but in doing so you could be held liable for accidents, parking tickets, etc.)

California online submittal:

Should I buy additional insurance when renting a car?

If you are the named insured, the coverage(s) listed on your current policy/vehicle will extend to the rental car, as long as it is rented in your name. For example, you will have the same limits, deductibles, etc.

It’s always a good idea to use a credit card that offers this coverage to pay for the rental if you have one.

Always discuss the particulars of your responsibility with the rental agent, and call us if you have questions.

I need to file a claim. Who should I call?

If it is during our business hours, you may call our office. If it is before or after our hours, or if you’d just prefer, you can call the insurance company directly.

You can find claim numbers on our claims page.

How do I make a payment?

You can mail a payment to your insurance company, call us, or if the company supports it, you can pay online. You can find payment addresses and websites on our payments page.

Why should I buy from an agent (or from you)?

By using an agent (such as Insurance Center Associates) to purchase insurance, you will receive more personal service. You won't just be a number in a database. Our expertise and direct contact can be vital when purchasing a product and absolutely necessary when filing a claim. A local, independent agent is able to deliver quality insurance with competitive pricing and personalized service.

Some agents only represent one carrier or are "brokers" and charge fees. That's not the case with us. We directly represent many of our carriers and so do not charge you for our services.

We work when and how you want. Our entire staff is licensed and knowledgeable, and we have low employee turnover.

Don't just take our word for it – check out what our clients are saying.

How can I save money on insurance?

Saving money is important, but so it being sure you are covered (insured) properly. Often we find we can do both. Let us show you how we can better insure you and save you money.

Quotes (both online and in person) can vary widely in price, and more importantly, in the "internal coverages" that were included. These things are important at the time of a loss. We are happy to provide a comparison and recommendations.

Also check out our information on how to save on insurance:

How much life insurance should I own?

The rule of thumb suggests an amount of life insurance equal to 6 to 8 times annual earnings. However, many factors should be taken into account when determining the right amount of life insurance for you and your family.

Important factors include:

  • Income sources (and amounts) other than salary/earnings
  • Whether or not you are married and, if so, what is your spouse's earning capacity
  • The number (and age) of individuals who are financially dependent upon you
  • The amount of death benefits payable from Social Security and from an employer-sponsored life insurance plan
  • Whether any special life insurance needs exist (e.g., mortgage repayment, education fund, estate planning need, etc.)

Calculating the correct amount of life insurance to buy is not as simple as it appears. We recommend contacting us for help determining the right amount of coverage. As independent agents, we are unbiased advisors that will help you avoid buying too much, show you appropriate optional coverages for your need and recommend a company that will best serve your interests.