If you are in a car accident, do not leave the scene without getting the other driver’s contact and auto insurance information. If you start to exchange information and see that the other driver is not from California, you may wonder “How do I get compensated after getting hit by an out-of-state driver?”
A driver’s state of residence should not impact a car accident victim’s ability to obtain compensation. A driver properly insured in one U.S. state is insured in all 50 states.
If the costs of the accident exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, obtaining full compensation may take more time with an out-of-state driver. Consult with an experienced car accident attorney after getting hit by an out-of-state driver to minimize any possible delays.
Most Auto Insurance Covers Drivers Traveling Out of State
Car insurance policies cover vehicles and drivers. Some parts of an auto insurance policy, such as liability coverage, protect the driver. Other parts, such as physical damage coverage, protect the vehicle.
Most insurance car policies apply throughout the U.S. Nevertheless, drivers should always check their policies before taking an out-of-state road trip. Some policies cover drivers in Canada or other foreign countries. U.S. auto insurance does not extend to travel in Mexico. U.S. drivers traveling into Mexico should look at separate insurance coverage for those trips.
Car Insurance Requirements vary by state
Different states have different auto insurance requirements. Almost all states require drivers to have insurance coverage at a minimum level. State law usually sets the minimum. Also, the type of insurance states require depends on whether a state is a “fault state” or a “no-fault” state.
In a fault state, like California, car insurance companies pay injury expenses based on a driver’s fault in a crash. In a no-fault state, like Utah, each driver’s insurance pays for that driver’s injuries. The fault or no-fault distinction does not apply to property damage. Payment for damage to vehicles still usually depends on which driver caused the crash.
State insurance requirements apply to all drivers in the state, including drivers from other states. What does this mean for drivers from states with lower minimum insurance requirements than California? How would a California driver be fully compensated after getting hit by an out-of-state driver with lesser coverage?
Auto Insurance Coverage Usually Adjusts to the State Requirements Where an Accident Occurs
Car insurance limits “broaden” to meet the requirements of any state the insured drives in. This means that if a Florida driver who is insured for the minimum amount of bodily injury liability coverage in Florida ($10,000 for injuries to one person) hits a car in California and injures one person, the Florida driver’s car insurance limit will be $15,000 for that accident rather than $10,000 because California requires a minimum of $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage. The Florida insurance policy will automatically increase to the state minimum in every state where the insured takes the car.
Some exceptions to this general rule apply. First, not every auto insurance policy contains a “broadening clause.” Drivers must check their insurance before leaving their home states.
Second, the driver must be traveling rather than relocating to the new state. If the driver is permanently moving to the state where the accident occurred, the driver’s policy may not apply. Drivers who are changing states of residence must buy new auto insurance policies. The new policies must comply with the insurance requirements of the state where the driver will reside. Drivers should look into new insurance policies before moving to a new state.
California Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
California law requires drivers to prove a minimum level of financial responsibility in case of a car crash. Typically, drivers must carry insurance to cover injuries they cause to someone else (bodily injury liability) and property damage they cause (property damage liability).
Drivers meeting these requirements through auto insurance must carry at least the following:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability insurance coverage for death or injury to one person
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance for harm to more than one person
- $5,000 in property damage liability coverage
The DMV allows some drivers to prove financial responsibility without purchasing auto insurance. These drivers must do one of the following:
- Provide a cash deposit of $35,000 to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and receive a DMV authorization letter.
- Obtain a DMV-issued self-insurance certificate.
- Obtain a surety bond for $35,000 from a California-licensed company.
Obtaining Compensation After An Accident With An Out-Of-State Driver
In many ways, driver’s responsibilities following a car wreck do not change after an out-of-state driver hits them. California car accident lawyers advise drivers to do three things after an auto accident, regardless of where drivers are insured:
- See a medical care provider, even if injuries are not apparent.
- Record the other driver’s contact and auto insurance information.
- Report the collision to the California DMV within 10 days if the accident caused property damage over $1,000 or injured anyone (even slightly).
If the out-of-state driver causes damage exceeding that driver’s car insurance policy limits, the crash victim may want to sue. Auto accident victims should always seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney after a collision. A driver usually does not know the full extent of injuries, losses, and property damage until some time has passed.
How Can A Long Beach Car Accident Attorney Help?
Your Injuries Are Personal To Me
Call me after getting hit by an out-of-state driver. I understand the complications that can arise with defendants from outside California. I offer a free, no-obligation consultation to accident victims. You can call anytime or schedule time with me through my convenient online contact form.
Over the last 35 years, I have helped thousands of car accident victims. Every case and every client is unique. Your injuries are personal to me, and I provide personalized representation. I won’t stop fighting until you receive maximum compensation for your injuries.
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