Car culture in California is quite well established at this point. It generally requires being able to drive to just about every place including your work, school, gym, or to visit family and friends or even to get your groceries. The California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) estimated that it had issued a total of nearly 26 million driver licenses by December 2015. California has over 34 million public, private and commercially owned vehicles registered in the state.
According to the DMV website, California law requires that you have a way to cover costs related to damages or injuries you may have caused in a car accident. Many motorists usually meet this requirement by buying car insurance. As a driver in California, you are required to carry with you the proof (evidence) of financial responsibility (auto liability insurance) that will help pay for the injuries and damages suffered due to an accident with another party.
California law states, “All drivers and all owners of a motor vehicle shall at all times be able to establish financial responsibility and shall at all times carry in the vehicle evidence of the form of financial responsibility in effect for the vehicle.” You may face potential fines, suspension of your driver’s license and the impoundment of your car if you do not own liability insurance for your vehicle.
The minimum amount of liability insurance you must have on your policy is:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
- $5,000 for damage to property
Having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in addition to the liability coverage will compensate you for the costs that are not covered by a basic liability insurance policy, if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver.
Why Uninsured Motorist/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage is Crucial
The Insurance Research Council (IIRC) stated that about 12.6 percent of drivers – or approximately one in eight motorists in the United States were uninsured, based on the findings of their 2014 study. Approximately 15 percent of California drivers in 2012 did not have auto insurance. IIRC ranked California 13th in the nation for its total of uninsured motorists.
Numerous drivers in the state do not carry adequate liability insurance coverage. The underinsured coverage of your policy should cover expenses, including medical bills (up to the limits of your policy) that exceed the other driver’s liability insurance coverage.
Accident victims should remember that their uninsured motorist policy covers them when they are outside their vehicle. So, even if you are walking or cycling, you can be compensated for injuries, damages and losses that result from being hit by an uninsured driver or by a hit-and-run driver.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is meant to protect you and your family while liability insurance provides coverage for those you have injured. You would be well advised to have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage added to your automobile policy.
The experienced car accident attorneys at the Demas Law Group P.C., can help you better understand your legal rights and options if you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident. Please call us at (916) 444-0100 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.