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California Drivers

May 28, 2010 | DAVID LAZARUS
With more than 2 million Southern Californians expected to hit the freeways this holiday weekend, it's a good time to note that there are believed to be millions of uninsured drivers statewide, and officials say the number is almost certainly growing because of the gasping-for-breath economy. That can be a bad deal for the rest of us. Although most insurance policies include coverage for accidents involving uninsured drivers, you have to be able to identify the guy who hit you. If it's a hit-and-run accident, which happens all too often, you could be out of luck.
May 7, 2010 | By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
In a Yes on 17 radio promotion, actors portraying a couple pondering their car insurance bills grumble about "the flaw in the law" that would rob them of a discount if they changed insurance providers. "I can take these coupons to any store in town but can only use the insurance continuous-coverage discount with one company? That's not fair!" laments the actress playing a penny-pinching wife. The proponents of Proposition 17 contend that passage would benefit more than 80% of California drivers because it would allow them to enjoy their continuous-coverage discounts — as much as $250 a year for some drivers — even if they switch carriers to take advantage of lower prices elsewhere.
April 19, 2010 | By P.J. Huffstutter, Los Angeles Times
Honk if you love farmers. The California Department of Food and Agriculture is trying to rally public support for special license plates that tout a driver's support for the state's agricultural industry and would charge a premium fee for them. The bulk of those fees, which would be tacked onto a person's normal vehicle registration costs, would pay for statewide education and training programs aimed at secondary school kids interested in farm careers. The fees for plates with numbers randomly selected by the state Department of Motor Vehicles would cost $50 for the first year and $40 a year to renew.
February 17, 2010 | Steve Lopez
I spent nearly two hours last Friday in the office of Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph. He seemed like a nice guy, but half an hour into it, my head was spinning. Joseph was explaining why he's bankrolling Proposition 17, which could affect the insurance premiums paid by millions of Californians. But by the second or third reference to industry terms like "portable persistency," he might as well have been pulling out my fingernails with pliers. "You can't debate it in the newspaper," Joseph said, conceding that insurance can be dry and complicated stuff.
January 16, 2010 | By Rosemary McClure
The belligerent, foul-mouthed man stood less than a foot away from me, jabbing his finger into the air to make his point. "That old man shouldn't be on the road," he said. "He turned right into me. " My 81-year-old father stood nearby, embarrassed and shaken. On a 1-to-10 scale, the accident hardly registered: My dad's car barely brushed the other vehicle, with no discernible damage to either car or occupant. But the bully facing me at that moment acted like he wanted blood.
July 23, 2009 | Marc Lifsher
Customers of 21st Century Auto Insurance Co. will get an average $50 cut in annual premiums as part of a $34-million statewide rate reduction, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced Wednesday. The company, which was recently acquired by Farmers Insurance Group, insures more than 1 million California vehicles, representing about 5% of the private passenger car insurance market.
October 21, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
A court-appointed official has awarded drivers for FedEx Corp. in California about $14.4 million in a dispute over whether the delivery company illegally classified them as independent contractors instead of employees. The award for job-related expenses and interest is about $9 million more than was awarded to the drivers by a trial court in 2005, lawyers for about 200 drivers said Monday. FedEx said the company would review the recommendation and contest any disputed items.
August 28, 2008 | Marc Lifsher, Times Staff Writer
California drivers could be offered a new -- and often cheaper -- kind of car insurance next year under a voluntary pay-as-you-drive plan proposed Wednesday by Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. His plan would base annual rates partly on the exact number of miles driven and would allow people to pay less if they drive less. Poizner issued proposed regulations spelling out the plan, and the state's insurers Wednesday were enthusiastic about the idea but wanted to see more details.
May 13, 2008 | Ronald D. White, Times Staff Writer
Gasoline prices rose sharply across much of the nation over the last week, although California drivers got off relatively easy, the Energy Department said Monday. Oil prices took a rare step back Monday from their upward climb, but analysts warned that the day's dip probably was just a pause for profit-taking. The average U.S. retail price for a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline jumped 10.9 cents to a record $3.
April 15, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Sticker shock at the pump is getting worse, the federal government said Monday as gasoline prices set record highs in California and across much of the nation. The average price U.S. drivers paid for regular self-serve gasoline climbed to a new high of $3.389 a gallon after rising 5.7 cents over the last week, the Energy Department said. The national average is up 51.3 cents in the last year because of high crude oil costs. The commodity closed Monday at a record $111.76 a barrel, up $1.62.
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