Nothing is going to make car insurance sexy or appealing, but it’s something that is very important to understand and think about. Although California has minimum coverage limits required by law, they are actually quite low and offer you very little real protection. You can easily find yourself on the hook for a lot of money after a serious accident, and if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, then the mess you find yourself in is even worse. It can be tempting to just pay the minimum amount, but that leaves you open to major problems down the road.
Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in California
In California, you are required to have at least 15/30/5 coverage. This means that your policy must have Bodily Injury Liability Coverage of at least $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident, and Property Damage Liability Coverage of at least $5,000. As you can see, those numbers are pretty low if you think about the possible expenses involved.
Consider, for example, a collision where four people in one car are injured. The at-fault driver’s insurance, with minimal coverage, will only pay out a maximum of $30,000. If there are serious injuries with hospital bills involved, that will probably fall well short.
Optional Coverage to Consider
It is better to have more coverage than the minimum required by law. Insurance providers offer policies that give you much more liability coverage than the minimum. In addition to better liability coverage, you can also purchase policies that offer comprehensive coverage, which covers non-accidental damage such as theft, and personal injury protection for yourself and your passengers.
Insurance companies in California must offer uninsured/under-insured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, although you have to pay extra for it. UM/UIM insurance gives you coverage for a collision where the other driver either does not have any insurance or has only the minimum amount and it fails to cover your expenses. You should purchase uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage to make sure you are always protected in the event of a crash. The cost of UM/UIM coverage is minimal compared to the cost of an accident.
Options Beyond Insurance Coverage
Even with insurance coverage above the 15/30 minimum, it’s still possible the payout for a claim will not cover all of your bills and expenses after a serious collision with a reckless driver. In those instances, a civil lawsuit can help hold that driver accountable and compensate you for your losses. You should always have an experienced auto accident attorney help you with a lawsuit, so call us at NordstrandBlack PC at (805) 962-2022 today.