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Orange County Auto Insurance At A Glance

December 05, 1987

Orange County motorists pay less for auto insurance than residents of Los Angeles, but pay more than their neighbors in San Diego County, according to a comparative survey by the state Department of Insurance.

Phil Pratt, the department's associate insurance rate analyst, said that insurance companies determine rates for specific areas by averaging the costs of collisions, car theft, fraud and lawsuits. "Orange County residents are better off than other Southern Californians," says Pratt, "but compared nationally to other cities, the rates are high."

The state insurance department recently conducted a survey, based on rates effective July 15, 1987 and released in October. Because insurance rates are highly personalized, reflecting age, driving record, residence, type of vehicle and number of miles driven, no rating example would represent the majority of policyholders.

Therefore, 15 of the state's largest carriers were asked to calculate yearly premiums for coverage equal to or exceeding two hypothetical rating examples involving a 45-year-old married couple.

Rating example "A" shows the cost of merely complying with state's financial responsibility law by carrying the minimum coverage required. Example "B" represents a more typical situation with higher limits of liability and physical damage coverage on a late-model vehicle.

In several cases, the internal underwriting rules of the insurer would preclude issuing a policy for exact limits called for by a rating example. In those cases, the premium shown is for the next higher limit.

One zip code in Orange County--Costa Mesa--was chosen to represent Orange County because the demographics of zip code 92626 were closest to the county average.

Rating Example "A": A 45-year-old married couple with no violations or accidents, who own a 1982 Dodge Colt, 4-cylinder, four-door, automatic. The car is driven to and from work 14 miles daily round-trip, less than 7,500 miles annually and is the only insured vehicle on the policy.

Insurance Coverage and Limits: Liability 15/30/5 or $35,000; Medical Payments $1,000; Uninsured Motorist 15/30 or $30,000 Combined Single Limit (CSL); no comprehensive and collision.

San Diego Glendora Costa Mesa Canoga Park INSURANCE CARRIER (92101) (91740) (92626) (91303) Auto Club $407 $461 $512 $804 State Farm 234 323 350 499 Farmers * 361 310 557 861 Allstate 287 394 375 676 20th Century 228 356 324 534 USAA ** 253 337 345 525 Mercury *** 274 314 302 466 Cal Casualty **** 222 312 311 469 Geico 366 509 469 745 SAFECO ***** 257 365 361 597 Ohio Casualty ***** 392 568 479 805 Nationwide 255 352 381 543 Aetna 293 424 350 585 Hartford ***** 648 774 782 1,246 Liberty Mutual 320 446 485 696

Los Angeles INSURANCE CARRIER (90011) Auto Club $1,207 State Farm 756 Farmers * 1,512 Allstate 1,090 20th Century 834 USAA ** 794 Mercury *** 744 Cal Casualty **** 831 Geico 973 SAFECO ***** 1,087 Ohio Casualty ***** 1,303 Nationwide 821 Aetna 938 Hartford ***** 1,842 Liberty Mutual 1,028

Rating Example B: A 45-year-old married couple with no violations or accidents, who own a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 6-cylinder, four-door, automatic. The vehicle is driven to and from work 40 miles daily round trip with annual mileage over 15,000 and cost $12,728 new.

Coverage and Limits: Liability 100/300/50 or $300,000 CSL; medical payments $5,000; uninsured motorist 30/60 or $60,000 CSL; comprehensive $100 deductible; collision $200 deductible.

San Diego Glendora Costa Mesa Canoga Park INSURANCE CARRIER (92101) (91740) (92626) (91303) Auto Club $828 $944 $1,012 $1,566 State Farm 799 1,004 994 1,503 Farmers 739 655 1,031 1,611 Allstate 827 1,077 980 1,732 20th Century 632 916 856 1,262 USAA ** 695 893 905 1,364 Mercury *** 672 758 728 1,122 Cal Casualty **** 753 985 951 1,467 Geico 826 1,130 1,024 1,651 SAFECO ***** 742 941 913 1,554 Ohio Casualty ***** 844 1,167 1,024 1,680 Nationwide 948 1,179 1,151 1,776 Aetna 924 1,246 1,061 1,600 Hartford ***** 1,296 1,606 1,314 2,304 Liberty Mutual 958 1,230 1,196 1,904

Los Angeles INSURANCE CARRIER (90011) Auto Club $2,236 State Farm 2,270 Farmers 2,755 Allstate 2,610 20th Century 1,796 USAA ** 1,978 Mercury *** 1,742 Cal Casualty **** 2,437 Geico 2,063 SAFECO ***** 2,476 Ohio Casualty ***** 2,659 Nationwide 2,687 Aetna 2,651 Hartford ***** 3,462 Liberty Mutual 2,942

* Farmers Insurance Group would offer lower rates for Example A coverages if combined with physical damage (comprehensive and collision) coverages.

** USAA is a reciprocal inter-insurance exchange whose membership is limited to present and former military officers. Premiums do not reflect divided credit.

*** Premiums shown are for Mercury Insurance Company, which is not available through all Mercury Casualty agents.

**** California Casualty writes personal auto insurance primarily through employee associations, not available to the general public.

***** The following insurers provide minimum limits of liability substantially higher than called for by Example A, or required by law: SAFECO (25/50/10); Ohio Casualty (25/50/10); Hartford ($100,000 CSL).

Clipboard researched by Henry Rivero and Deborrah Wilkinson / Los Angeles Times

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