Get Covered: Why Optional Auto Insurance Coverage Might Be Right for You
California requires every driver in the state to carry liability insurance. If a driver gets injured because of another motorist, the injured driver simply files a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, and it’s the insurance company’s responsibility to compensate the claimant for their injuries. Unfortunately, insurance companies routinely try to underpay claims or avoid liability whenever they can get away with it, which is why car accident injury victims hire car accident lawyers to represent them and help them get the settlement they deserve.
Although liability insurance is the only type of auto insurance required by law, it is only one type of automobile insurance that drivers can benefit from. Understanding California’s auto insurance laws and how they impact you is important to stay protected while on the road. Let’s go over the basics of California’s auto insurance laws and what available options you have for added coverage.
Minimum Insurance Requirements in California
Liability insurance in California is based on the state’s minimum insurance requirements. In California, drivers are required to have bodily injury liability insurance at a minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Drivers are also required to have property damage liability insurance at a minimum of $5,000 per accident.
Depending on the circumstances, California’s minimum insurance requirements may be enough to cover injury and damages following an accident. But what do you do when your expenses following an accident exceed that state’s minimum coverages? This is where additional auto insurance coverage can come in handy.
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
Liability insurance only covers your liability to the other driver to repair their car and cover their medical expenses; it does nothing to fix your car. Carrying collision coverage allows you to repair the damage to your vehicle following an accident. Whether you hit another car or a telephone pole, collision coverage will pay for vehicle repairs subject to your deductible.
Carrying comprehensive coverage allows you to be protected from other damages to your vehicle caused by natural disasters, vandalism, theft, or other reasons outside of automotive accidents.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist
Despite the minimum liability coverage law, some drivers violate this law by operating a vehicle without insurance. In this case, having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage allows you to be compensated for damages including medical bills you sustained when you are hit by a driver who is not insured.
Because the other driver does not have an insurance policy you can file a claim against, your insurance will be able to cover your medical and property losses. Similarly, underinsured motorist coverage can kick in when the other driver is minimally insured, but your damages exceed their policy limits.
Medical Payment (MedPay)
Medical payment coverage is additional coverage on your insurance policy that pays for necessary and reasonable medical bills you or your passengers sustained following an automobile accident. The coverage is decided by the policyholder and starts at $1,000 per person and goes up in $1,000 increments.
If you don’t have another vehicle or other access to transportation, consider adding rental car coverage to your auto policy. This coverage will pay for the cost of renting a vehicle while your damaged car is in the shop for repairs. You can choose the amount of benefit which will dictate what type of car you can rent. Rental car coverage can be purchased along with collision or comprehensive coverage and give you one less headache to deal with after a crash. If the accident is the other driver’s fault, they should pay for your rental.
Qualify for a CLCA Program Policy
California’s minimum coverage requirements offer an exception under California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance Program or CLCA. Under this program, qualifying applicants will be eligible to purchase lower amounts of coverage while still adhering to California’s auto insurance laws.
To qualify for this program, applicants must fall under specific federal poverty guidelines. The aim of the program is to allow safe drivers access to affordable car Insurance. Under the program, the minimum coverage of a CLCA policy includes the following:
- Bodily Injury: up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per claim in an accident that you caused and are determined to be at fault for.
- Property Damage: up to $3,000 per accident for damage to other people’s property.
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury: optional coverage for any injuries you caused to the driver of the other car: up to $10,000 per person or $20,000 per accident.
- Medical Payments: optional coverage paying for medical care for you that is medically necessary: up to $1,000 per person.
Seeking Legal Guidance
If you’ve been involved in an automotive accident and have suffered injuries or property damage, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and other legal damages. Speaking with an attorney well-versed in insurance law and automotive claims can be a helpful first step in receiving the compensation you deserve.
At the Kistler Law Firm, our team of dedicated and experienced attorneys will help you navigate your claim so that you received the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.