What to Consider When Buying Auto Insurance
Buying car insurance can be a stressful process. Most people understand that the state requires a certain minimum amount of coverage, but beyond that, what is important? What is necessary? How can a driver get the coverage they need without being upsold by greedy insurance agents? Read on for important considerations when purchasing auto insurance, and contact a dedicated Palmdale car accident lawyer if you or a loved one has been hurt by a negligent driver in the Antelope Valley.
Minimum and Recommended Liability Coverage
California law requires drivers to carry at least the following in auto liability insurance:
- Injury or death liability coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage: $5,000
Liability coverage applies when a driver causes an accident that injures another person. Your 15/30 (shorthand for $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident) coverage will pay for someone else’s injuries or wrongful death, should you cause an accident and the injured party wants to sue you. In practice, these amounts are much too low to cover damages in the event of a serious accident. CNN’s financial experts, for example, recommend that all drivers carry at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident unless their income is minimal. While the additional coverage is more expensive, it is worth it to avoid going bankrupt should a driver cause serious injury in an accident.
California law also requires certain levels of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), although drivers can “waive” UM/UIM coverage when they purchase their policy. In practice, then, UM/UIM coverage is optional in California. The minimum recommended policy in California includes the following:
- Uninsured motorist injury coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: $3,500
UM/UIM coverage applies when another driver causes an accident but they lack insurance or they lack sufficient coverage. Like with standard liability coverage, we recommend upping the coverage to at least 100/300 for bodily injury.
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
Collision and comprehensive coverage kick in to pay for repairs to your vehicle. Collision is meant to cover damage from weather, floods, fire, vandalism, crashing into animals, etc. Comprehensive coverage also covers auto theft. We recommend purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage if they are within your budget. In California, you can also opt for the “collision deductible waiver” (CDW) which waives your collision deductible if you are hit by a negligent uninsured driver and you do not have uninsured motorist property damage coverage.
California’s Good Driver Discount
California law requires auto insurance providers to offer a 20 percent discount to “good drivers” as defined by regulations. Drivers who satisfy the following are eligible for the discount:
- Had a license for the past three years
- No more than one point on driving record due to violation
- No more than one traffic school attendance due to violation
- Have not been at fault in an accident involving injury or death
- No convictions for the last ten years for offenses relating to driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you or a loved one has been hurt by an insured or uninsured driver in California, talk to a seasoned and effective Palmdale personal injury attorney about pursuing a claim for damages by calling the Kistler Law Firm at 661-206-6990.