California Auto Insurance – Policy Check
by David B. Bobrosky
California auto insurance industry experts estimate that 33 percent of the state’s drivers have no automobile liability coverage. And the rate of uninsured drivers in low income areas may exceed 60 percent.
Though recent figures from different sources have the overall numbers closer to 20 percent, that’s still more than 4,000,000 drivers with no insurance in the state.
And based on our own practice findings, we estimate that nearly 50 percent of the drivers we deal with have either no insurance or just the minimum.
Many of our clients think they have full coverage, which usually means they have liability, collision and comprehensive coverage. Unfortunately that excludes one of the most important auto coverage you could have – uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Types of California Car Insurance
Before explaining why uninsured/underinsured coverage is so important, let’s take a look at the most common coverages available:
▪ Bodily Injury Liability: provides coverage for people you cause injury to in an accident.
▪ Property Damage Liability: covers any property you cause damage to, other than your own, in an accident.
▪ Collision: covers damage to your own car when in an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
▪ Comprehensive: provides coverage for losses to your own car for incidents other than a collision. This includes cars stolen, or damaged from falling trees, animals, fires, etc.
▪ Uninsured Motorist: covers you, the insured members of your household and your passengers for bodily injuries, damages or death caused by another driver who was not insured, or who fled the scene.
▪ Underinsured Motorist: provides coverage for you, the insured members of your household and your passengers for bodily injuries, damages or death caused by another driver who had less liability insurance than you have in underinsured coverage.
Importance of Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance
If you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and you only carry liability, collision, and comprehensive, you are left to deal with medical bills, lost time from work and the pain, by yourself.
By adding uninsured/underinsured car insurance, you can seek compensation for your injuries for up to the policy limits of your own uninsured motorist coverage.
For example, with uninsured policy limits of $100,000, you can seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering up to those $100,000 limits.
If the other driver carries limits of $15,000 and you have that same $100,000 in underinsured coverage, you could obtain the other driver’s $15,000 policy limits, and recover the difference between the two policies ($85,000) from your own carrier.
Thus, by carrying uninsured and underinsured coverage, you are protecting yourself, your business and your personal assets.
Check your California auto insurance policies and make sure you have adequate uninsured/underinsured coverage. Check your excess/umbrella policies as well, as only certain companies offer excess/umbrella policies that include uninsured/underinsured coverage.
Californiauninsured/underinsured motorists coverage is relatively inexpensive…how can you not afford to protect yourself?
David B. Bobrosky is a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney. You can reach him at: 818.990.2120.
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