Why You Should Have Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In California, many motorists do not have the auto liability insurance coverage necessary to financially protect the driver if they happened to get into a car accident. The Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates 15% of California motorists are uninsured, leaving them at risk of having to pay out of pocket for any damages associated with a crash. What happens, though, if the driver that causes a serious car crash can’t pay for the damages resulting from that accident? In that situation, the victim could be left financially devastated and responsible for paying all the bills from an accident caused by someone else. This is why having uninsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy is critical to being a safe California driver.
Many Californians wonder why so many drivers choose to not purchase auto insurance. This may be the result of people trying to cut expenses in the current economy. These drivers may think the likelihood of getting into an auto accident is incredibly small, so they take the chance of driving without insurance. Having an auto insurance policy is required by California law, so they are not only risking their financial status, but they are also breaking the law and putting themselves at risk for legal repercussions. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you may end up in the hospital facing medical bills and lost wages most likely with no chance of recovering any of these losses from the person that hit you. What can you do to protect yourself? Be sure your own insurance policy includes uninsured-motorist coverage with limits high enough to cover your damages, including damages for pain and suffering.
How Does Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Uninsured motorist coverage comes into play when you are hit by an uninsured driver. When that happens, your own insurance company stands in for the uninsured motorist and takes on your claims up to your policy limits. While California does not legally require this type of coverage, your insurance agent is required to offer it to you. Your insurance company should offer you at least $15,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person, as well as $3,500 in uninsured motorist property damage coverage. You may also purchase both types of coverage in larger amounts when setting up your policy with your insurance agent. Sadly, your insurance company representative may not stress the importance of getting uninsured motorist coverage. To opt-out of this additional coverage, you have to reject the coverage in writing with your agent. This is not advisable, as so many drivers in California do not have insurance and will not be able to pay for the damages caused by a car accident. Curtis Legal Group has worked with many clients who do not have uninsured motorist coverage or have coverage with incredibly low limits. It is important to remember that this insurance is meant to benefit you in the worst-case scenario.
Uninsured motorist coverage is very similar to underinsured coverage. It is important for Californians to understand the differences between these two types of insurance coverage, as both can be critical to avoiding personal bankruptcy after a car accident. An uninsured motorist bodily injury insurance policy is meant to pay for physical damage done to the policyholder and their passengers if they are involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver. The at-fault driver must be identified and their status as an uninsured motorist confirmed before benefits will be paid. If you are a driver that also has underinsured motorist insurance, that coverage will help cover additional costs resulting from a car accident that is not covered by the at-fault party’s insurance policy. This coverage is triggered when the driver that hit you does have auto insurance as mandated by state law, but their policy does not have enough coverage to fully pay for your recovery and car repairs. This is why it is also important to add underinsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy to keep yourself protected if a car accident should occur.
Even with uninsured motorist coverage, many insurance companies will attempt to make it incredibly difficult to get a full insurance payout after an accident. As the victim of a car accident, you may experience severe injuries as well as damage to your vehicle. The costs of recovery, including medical bills, lost wages, car repairs, and more, can add up quickly. You may need an experienced car accident attorney by your side to help navigate this difficult process. You may need legal assistance to fight your own insurance company just to get the benefits you have already paid for. While this may seem absurd, it is very common and we are ready to represent you to ensure you receive a fair financial amount for your damages.
Northern California Car Accident Attorneys
The car accident attorneys at Curtis Legal Group are ready to help you recover financial damages for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering after a California car accident. We know just how awful a traumatic experience like an auto accident can be for you and your family, especially when you have been hit by an uninsured driver. You can trust Curtis Legal Group to handle all the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on healing. Contact us if you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident and wants to discuss the next steps. Under the law, there is limited time to make a claim, so contact us today!