Imagine you are stopped at a red light, patiently waiting for green, when you hear a screech of tires and out of nowhere, a car rear-ends you. You are hurt from the car accident, incur medical expenses, and maybe miss some work. Most people believe the insurance of the at-fault driver will pay you for your loss. But that's not always the case because the driver may have purchased only the state minimum requirement. So, unless you have Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM), you will be limited to what the at-fault driver purchased. Although uninsured motorist coverage is very beneficial, it remains an under-bought product. This is due to several reasons: cost, awareness, and value comprehension.
California state law requires everyone who registers a vehicle to carry minimum liability insurance of $15,000. This unfortunately, often leaves people with an inadequate amount of money to compensate them for everything they have suffered and lost. Under state law, auto owners are required to carry minimum coverages, such as bodily injury, property damage, and liability policies, according to the California Department of Insurance. The levels vary and apply to different expenses, which is why it's important to understand auto insurance policies and limits.
Luckily Californians can add Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) to their policy. It is a wise investment because it protects you when you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
What is uninsured motorist coverage exactly? Its name is literal: it is an insurance policy which provides coverage in the event you are in an auto collision with a driver who is not insured. Further, you don't have to be driving a vehicle for your uninsured motorist insurance to protect you if you are injured in an accident. This coverage will kick in if you are a passenger in a car, a pedestrian or cyclist and injured by an uninsured or underinsured vehicle. Why Uninsured Motorist Coverage Important.
Uninsured motorist coverage is cost-effective. Yes, it costs more to carry uninsured motorist coverage, but its beneficial because it effectively transfers risk. That's the true purpose of insurance - transferring risk from one party to another. Uninsured coverage is fairly reasonable compared to the liability coverage required to buy. It's important to recognize it will help make you whole if you are a victim in an auto accident with an underinsured driver.
Too many drivers are uninsured. More than 39 million people are living in California and driving approximately 29 million registered vehicles. The Insurance Research Council estimates 1 out of 7 people drive without insurance, which equals about 4.14 million cars on the road with no coverage! Chances are good you may be involved in an accident with and uninsured vehicle.
It's important coverage. The required minimum coverage under California law is 15/30/5 ($15,000 bodily injury for each person, $30,000 for all individuals involved and $5,000 in property damage). These minimums are very low and chances are high that the driver who hit you has only minimum coverage. Accidents are costly. In 2013, the average auto liability claim for property damage was $3,231; the average auto liability claim for bodily injury was $15,443 (ISO, a Verisk Analytics company). Without uninsured motorist coverage, the at-fault driver's coverage may not be sufficient to cover your medical bills, property damage, and wage loss.
Uninsured motorist claims can be complicated and it's important to hire an experienced lawyer to help you. If you or a loved one is involved in an uninsured motorist car accident, you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.