Consumer Watchdog has lowered the auto and homeowners insurance rates of millions of California drivers and homeowners by about $1.7 billion over the past several years. Using the laws implemented by Prop 103, a ballot initiative authored by Consumer Watchdog founder Harvey Rosenfield and passed by California voters in 1988 to regulate the insurance industry, we've successfully blocked rate hikes and won decreases from most of the large insurers that sell policies in California. According to a 2008 Consumer Federation of America study, State Automobile Insurance Regulation, Prop 103 has saved California drivers more than $62 billion over the past two decades.
Low Cost Auto Insurance
Since 1988, California has been the only state to see auto insurance premiums consistently decline, while insurers hiked rates by an average of 35% around the nation.
At Consumer Watchdog we enforce Prop 103's protections and fight for more, in California and around the country. Over the years, Consumer Watchdog:
- has helped save drivers over $62 billion on their auto insurance;
- crafted the nation's first low-cost auto insurance policy for low-income drivers;
- led the 18 year fight to force California insurance companies to base premiums on a driver's record, not their ZIP Code; and
- has successfully sued insurance companies that cheat and overcharge customers.
The Failure of No-Fault Auto Insurance
As much as we have fought for insurance consumer rights and fair premiums, we have also fought efforts by insurance companies to strip consumers of their rights.
For years, insurers have tried to replace the personal responsibility insurance systems most common in the U.S. (the driver who causes the accident is responsible for the damages) with highly inefficient and unfair "No-Fault" auto insurance schemes. Read a brief histoy of No-Fault. We have fought them off at the ballot box and have studied No-Fault systems and demonstrated that they are more costly and less protective.
Information about our most recent report - The Cost of No Fault Auto Insurance - is available from our news release announcing the study, which can be downloaded here. A critique of studies conducted by the Rand Corporation is available here.
Unlike most things you buy for your home, you hope you'll never have to use your insurance, even though you're required to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars every year for it. But when you need it, you expect that the company will be there for you, especially after all those years of paying premiums without ever making a claim. Consumer Watchdog keeps an eye on the practice of homeowners insurance companies to make sure they don't overcharge customers and that they pay claims properly and quickly.
Unfortunately, for many people, the first time they think about their home insurance is when disaster strikes. In addition to doing your best to protect against a disaster, some simple steps can help ensure that, if you have to file an insurance claim you won't find yourself having to fight your insurer , while picking up the pieces.
- Review our disaster insurance checklist.
Consumer Watchdog has worked in California and across the country to fight for homeowners and renters who have to buy insurance and, because of wide-scale disaster or a burst pipe, have to file an insurance claim.
- lowered homeowners insurance rates in California by hundreds of millions of dollars;
- fought insurance companies practice of basing premiums on customers' credit history;
- gone to regulators to stop "Use It and Lose It" abuses in which insurers charge homeowners more just because they filed a legitimate claim;
- we've exposed the smoking guns that show insurers trying to jack up prices when a big storm hits; and
- we've sued insurers for low-balling and defrauding customers in the wake of an earthquake.
Have you been cheated by a low-balling home insurer? Let us know.