The State of California has minimum insurance requirements of 15/30/5 (meaning $15,000 per person, $30,000 per incident, and $5,000 per incident). If someone qualifies for the state’s special low income policies, their limits are only 10/20/3. Liability insurance is the only required coverage. The first two numbers represent bodily injury. That is the maximum amount of money the people you hurt can collect for their medical care, wage loss, and pain. The third number is the property damage limit, which is what can be spent to repair or replace a vehicle or any other damaged property (including cell phones, lap tops, etc.).
What is not required by California is uninsured motorist coverage, but you better believe there are uninsured motorists out there. Even with Prop 213, which punishes people who drive without insurance by denying them general damages like pain and suffering, there are still many people who do not insure their vehicles driving on the road. At least one in three are uninsured. Uninsured motorist coverage is coverage that comes in to play when you get hurt by someone else and they either do not have coverage or do not have enough coverage to make you whole.
That is right, uninsured motorist coverage doubles as underinsured motorist coverage. If someone with a $15,000 policy hits you and you have to have a $50,000 surgery, you are in a tough situation unless you have protected yourself by having high underinsured motorist coverage. If you have a $100,000 underinsured motorist policy, you can collect another $85,000 after you have taken the $15,000 from the person who hit you.
Insurance in and of itself is a gamble. We hope you never have to use it, but you have seen the crazies out on the road, you know that accidents happen every single day. You cannot predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Uninsured motorist coverage is a smart investment. Especially here in California.
California has some of the lowest minimum requirements for insurance in the country. Only four states have equal or lower policies: Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Think about it… $5,000 maximum in property damage? How many cars do you see on the road that could be replaced for $5,000? Even Ohio, with their 12.5/25 bodily injury limits, has a property damage limit of $7,500. And what does $15,000 get you? An ambulance ride and a hospital visit will eat that up in one go (especially if you end up at U.C. Davis).
The rules just do not make much sense, so really, all you can do is protect your self by getting insurance that YOU can collect under if need be. I get confused when I see policies with 100/300 bodily injury and 50/100 uninsured motorist. You want to provide more insurance to everyone else than you provide for yourself?
Now uninsured/underinsured motorist is not always a sure thing. I have come up against insurance companies who do not want to pay out even though it is to their own insured, a loyal customer who has paid their premiums for years. Laskin Balma Attorneys at Law in Sacramento California go to bat for our clients whether it is against an adverse insurance company or your own. Negotiation, trial or arbitration, it does not matter to us. We will do whatever it takes to protect our client’s interest.
Need advice? Feel you have a potential personal injury case? Contact Laskin Balma Attorneys at Law in Sacramento California today.