Do you have enough auto insurance coverage to protect you or a loved one in the case of an accident? That’s one of the most important questions you should consider before getting behind the wheel.
At the same time, you should consider the following:
- Do you know what California’s minimum for auto insurance coverage?
- Do you have uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance coverage?
- And did you know that the California minimum — which is $15,000/$30,000 coverage — will cover an ambulance ride and little else?
Below, Clark answers the big question, “Why should I get uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance coverage?” In short, obtaining this coverage will help protect you and your family in the case of an motor vehicle accident.
By California law, you’re required to purchase at minimum a $15,000/$30,000 coverage. So what exactly does that mean?
If you’re in an accident and it’s your fault, your insurance will pay up so much to those involved in that accident. That small coverage satisfies the coverage for auto insurance. People are always surprised to learn, after learning more about the law, that California requires so little insurance because that $15,000 will cover an ambulance ride to the hospital and little else.
So how do you protect yourself when there are people driving around with this limited coverage, or none at all? You can purchase uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance coverage.
How do these coverage work? You have to purchase this as part of your policy; however, insurance companies will not give you higher coverage than your auto insurance coverage. For example, if you have $100,000 in coverage, you can purchase up to 100,000 in uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance. But a lot of companies won’t tell you this. You typically have to sign a waiver to drop down your limits. Be very careful when you purchase auto insurance, and be sure it matches your liability limits. Don’t let the insurance companies sell you something less.
Once you have the coverage, if you’re in an accident and that person is at fault, uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance coverage will come in and pay. It covers you, but also blood relatives in your household and other passengers. For example, if your son is a passenger in his friend’s car, and they are involved in an accident, your uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance coverage will cover your son. Also, if you’re hit by a vehicle while walking in a parking lot, or hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle, your uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance coverage will cover you.
If you have a $100,000 policy and the other driver at fault has only a $15,000 policy, you can collect that $15,000 and another $80,000 from your own policy for a total of $100,000, if your claim is worth that much. So this covers you if the driver at fault has little or no insurance.
This is the one of the most important coverages to protect you and your family. Far too often, people come to Chain | Cohn | Stiles with horrible injuries, and the driver at fault has little or no insurance, while they have limited coverage as well. Our sometimes attorneys have the sad task of telling people there is not much our lawyers can do to help because of limited or no insurance coverage. It’s not fair or just, but it’s reality.
This is a complicated issue. We advise you if you believe you have an injury or accident claim, call Chain | Cohn | Stiles. Meet with the lawyers and staff to learn the important steps to take.
And contact your insurance agent to learn more about uninsured / underinsured motorist insurance coverage options available to you.
*NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent Workers’ Compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in a prison or a fine of up to $150,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.