It's required by California state law for all motorists to carry minimum vehicle insurance. Each states set its own minimum and in California, it is 15/30/5 which refers to bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. For instance, 15/30/5 means coverage up to $15,000 per individual injured in an accident, $30,000 for all persons injured in an accident and $5,000 coverage for property damage. This liability coverage is to protect you from risk should you be sued and held legally responsible if you are in an "at fault" accident. But what happens if someone driving with only minimum coverage hits you?
Auto insurance for most drivers is nothing more than a monthly nuisance. After all, no one likes having to pay for something they'll probably never need. Majority of us believe we won't be in any type of auto accident so the lowest coverage is fine. But, when you begin to look at the statistics, you'll certainly know why you're required to carry car insurance and why it's a good idea to have more than the minimum.
Californians do a lot of driving and the roadways are dangerous. The latest figures available demonstrate just how dangerous it is to be on California's busy roadways. According to the California Highway Patrol's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System "SWITRS", in 2013 alone, there were 156,909 injury collisions resulting in 223,128 injured people and 2,853 fatal collisions resulting in 3,104 people killed in auto accidents throughout the Golden State. What's more, one in seven drivers across the country have no vehicle insurance, according to the Insurance Research Council. So, it's clear why car drivers should have more than the minimum auto insurance policy.
Why Car Drivers Should Have More than the Minimum Auto Insurance Policy
The fact is, a very high percentage of drivers on the road only carry minimum coverage to save money, especially since most people don't believe they will ever be involved in an accident. It's understandable, but it's an enormous and unnecessary risk. In California as well as in most other states, the minimum insurance levels just aren't enough to cover any medical costs and property damage of an accident. In some instances, it's only a small stop-gap and for an unfortunate few, the bare minimum coverage doesn't spare them from near bankruptcy. Stop and think about a typical car crash scenario it for a moment. You will quickly realize minimum coverage isn't much better than no insurance coverage.
In order to protect yourself and your passengers, you do need to make sure you have adequate coverage against uninsured and underinsured drivers. Even though it's the law, many drivers don't even carry the minimum insurance required by the state. So if you are involved in an accident with either an uninsured or underinsured driver, there won't be any money to cover your own losses if you don't have your own adequate insurance. Underinsured Motorist "UIM" coverage is relatively inexpensive in most states (something like $40 a year for $100,000 worth of coverage) and if you are in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver, will help cover costs your health insurance won't. If you've decided to carry basic insurance liability for $100,000/$300,000, it's a great idea to carry the same coverage for yourself. --Wall Street Journal
Consider the value of your vehicle, and, just how much you pay ever month for auto insurance. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the average cost of collision repair claims is $4,047. When you or another driver submits a claim, the insurance companies won't just hand over money for nothing; they'll recoup such expenses through higher and higher deductibles. Still, even if you have to pay a little more every month, it will be well worth the cost because of what's involved in an auto collision. Here are some reasons why car drivers should have more than the minimum auto insurance policy:
- You might be financially responsible. Driving is a privilege, not a right, but all-too-often, people take it for granted. It's easy to become complacent when you're behind the wheel and with so many distractions, you might just find yourself in the unenviable position of being at-fault. Though a minor fender-bender might be covered by your insurance, a moderate to severe accident can easily climb to a cost of $100,000. That's a very big financial burden and one you ought to do everything to avoid.
- Increased coverage is often worthwhile. For less than a meal at an average restaurant, you can double or nearly double your auto insurance coverage amount. One strategy to use if you want to forgo extra costs is to raise your deductible to an amount you can truly afford, but, still increase your coverage. This way, you'll have the insurance you might need if you're in a vehicular accident and be able to meet the deductible, if necessary.
- Full coverage or comprehensive coverage can even fall short of overall costs. While you might think about getting full collision coverage, you should know, even that might not be enough. The reason is because full collision coverage only kicks-in if you hit another vehicle or object. It doesn't provide coverage for other things, such as theft, fire, or flooding. To be protected against these events, you need comprehensive coverage.
Considering the millions of drivers driving autos, buses, motorcycles and trucks traveling throughout California on a daily basis, it's clear you need to protect yourself. Car drivers should carry more than the minimum auto liability insurance policy in case you need it. If you've been involved in a car accident, you need to speak with an experienced attorney to advise you of your legal rights.