–California law requires that vehicle owners and drivers show financial responsibility in the event of an accident where someone is injured or property is damaged. Even though it’s the law, Rick Torres, Solvang auto insurance agent, says the law is no guarantee that every driver on the road has insurance.
According to a study conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, 15-percent of California drivers were uninsured in 2015. Uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist insurance helps responsible drivers and vehicle owners recover damages when the other driver is at fault and does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance.
It might seem that an insurance agent is just being annoying when encouraging clients to increase the coverage limits for UM/UIM. In reality, UM/UIM insurance only adds a few dollars to month premiums.
California requires at least the following uninsured/underinsured coverage:
- $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum for Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage. This part of uninsured motorist insurance pays for injuries to you or your passengers when an uninsured driver is deemed at fault or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run driver. The coverage includes medical expenses and lost wages; it may even pay for rehabilitation and funeral costs.
- $3,500 minimum for Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage. This part pays for damage when an uninsured driver hits your vehicle or other property.
While these are the minimum coverage amounts that California requires, it’s easy to see that figures like $15,000 per person for bodily injury or $3,500 for property damage coverage are probably not going to cover a serious vehicle accident. Medical costs can vary by region and a qualified and licensed agent for auto insurance in Solvang is the best person to help determine the best amount of coverage based on the insured personal circumstances.
Charges for emergency response, the ambulance ride, and an overnight hospital stay just for observation can easily exceed $15,000. An uninsured motorist crashing into the side of an older vehicle might come in under $3,500, but property damage includes more than just a vehicle. What if a drunken, uninsured driver crashes through the living room?
For those with health insurance who are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, the health insurance will generally pay medical bills, but the insured still has to pay the deductible expenses. Depending on the plan, those deductibles can be quite hefty for a hospital stay and even for ER, depending on what kinds of tests are run.
In addition to the uninsured driver requirements, California drivers and vehicle owners are required to carry minimum personal injury and property damage coverage for accidents when the policyholder is at fault. This coverage does not protect you against an uninsured motorist causing injury to your or your passengers or damaging your property.
The State of California has simplified auto insurance by requiring minimum coverage amounts, but at the same time, the minimum legal requirements might lead some who need more coverage into a false sense of security. The best way to determine the uninsured motorist coverage that is best for your personal circumstances is to discuss the matter with your insurance agent.
Rick Torres, Solvang auto insurance agent, is just a phone call away. Make that call today and make sure you have the right coverage.
Rick Torres State Farm Insurance Agency, Inc.
540 Alisal Road, Suite 4
Solvang, CA 93463
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