California requires drivers to have liability coverage, but many motorists do not follow the law. The Insurance Research Council reports the state of California has the highest number of uninsured motorists nationwide. According to their data, in 2012 there were 4.1 million uninsured motorists in California.
If you are involved in a crash with a driver who has no insurance, or if you are involved in a collision with a hit-and-run driver, you may have a difficult time getting your losses covered. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Institute reports the average cost of a bodily injury claim in 2013 was $15,443. Most drivers who do not have car insurance will not be able to pay those damages out of their own pocket. When this happens, your uninsured motorists coverage is the only option you have for getting your damages paid if you get hurt in the car crash. The uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in your own car insurance policy protects you when the driver who injures you in a crash does not have the insurance to cover your damages. You do not want to skimp on this important coverage.
How Much Uninsured Motorist Coverage Should You Have?
California does not require you to have any uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but, to protect yourself, you should buy this optional insurance. Since California has so many drivers lacking in proper insurance, there is a very real chance you could be hurt in a collision with a driver who cannot compensate you. If you are injured in an accident by a driver that either does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your losses, your own insurer will step in if you have uninsured/underinsured coverage. Your insurance company will pay for the losses the driver who hurt you should have paid for but couldn’t, including medical bills and loss of wages, because of lack of insurance coverage. However, your insurer will only pay up to your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy limit. If you don’t have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, or if you buy only a minimum amount of coverage, there may not be enough money available to pay for your losses.
California requires drivers to have a minimum of $15,000 in liability coverage per person and $30,000 per accident. This means if you hurt someone else and have the minimum required insurance coverage, your insurer will pay up to $15,000 to one person you hurt, and up to a total of $30,000 in compensation to all injured victims per crash. Some experts recommend buying at least the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage as liability coverage. This would mean buying no less than $15,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.
However, if you buy only the minimum amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you could have significant uncompensated losses if you are seriously injured and/or if your injuries prevent you from working for a long time. Uninsured/underinsured coverage is for your protection, so you want to buy enough coverage to pay your medical bills and provide compensation for you and your family if you cannot work. This means you may want larger amounts of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, especially if you do not have good health insurance.
Consumers are often under the misconception that uninsured/underinsured coverage is expensive, and that is why they choose not to purchase it despite its importance. In fact, the cost of UM Coverage is relatively cheap. I always tell my clients that if they were smart enough to purchase liability insurance to protect people they don’t know and don’t care about, shouldn’t they purchase at least the same coverage to protect their loved ones?
Consumers should always ask their insurance agents for quotes which include UM Coverage, or you can go on line and search multiple companies and compare prices. My advice is for you to do it now. Don’t wait until you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Getting Help from a Long Beach Car Accident Lawyer
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
If you are involved in a collision with a driver who does not have insurance, a Long Beach car accident lawyer can help you to understand what your options are. At the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, I help victims of collisions get compensation from their own insurers or from insurers of other drivers. Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation to learn more.
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