Everyone knows that in California you must have liability insurance in order to drive or register a car. The important feature of liability insurance is that in the event of a car crash that causes someone else bodily injury or property damage, it provides financial protection to pay for the other person’s injuries and damages. The minimum allowed coverage in California is known as 15/30/5. That means that at a minimum, an auto insurance policy will provide up to a maximum of $15,000.00 in coverage for bodily injury for one person; a maximum of $30,000.00 in coverage for all persons claiming bodily injuries; and $5,000.00 for property damage. This is the minimum.
As you gain assets and wealth, you generally need higher insurance coverage, so that in the event of a collision where you are at fault, the higher insurance coverage will pay more money to injured parties, and protect against a lawsuit that could put your assets in jeopardy. I usually recommend that you have at least a 100/300/50 policy, and more if you can afford it.
But liability coverage only provides payment for other people who may be injured in an accident where you are at fault. What about where someone else is negligent and causes a collision where you or a family member is seriously injured. Will your liability insurance pay for your or your families’ injuries, medical bills, loss of earnings or pain and suffering? The answer is no, it will not. This is where your uninsured motorist coverage comes into play. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for your injuries, damages and losses when you are hit by a negligent driver who has either no insurance, or less insurance that you have.
The chances of being in a collision that is not your fault—and where the other party has little or no insurance—is too high. And since you cannot rely on that other negligent driver to look out for your best interests, it is your job to protect yourself and your family. You do this by making sure that your insurance policy has high uninsured motorist limits. Those limits should be at least as high as your liability insurance limits. It just makes sense that if you are goiing to protect other people with high limits in the event of an unexpected collision, you should cover yourself and your family with the same protection.
Unfortunately, many insurance agents do not understand what uninsured motorist coverage does for you and why you should have a lot of it. As a result, they do not explain it to their customers when they buy or renew their insurance policies. If you are involved in a collision caused by an uninsured motorist, and then find out that you do not have enough coverage to pay for your medical bills, loss of earnings and other harms and losses, its too late. So, be prepared. Review your auto insurance policy now, or call your insurance agent and ask about your uninsured motorist coverage. In the event of a serious car collision, chances are you’ll be very glad you have it.