Even though California only requires 15/30/5 in liability insurance, drivers should consider buying more coverage if they can afford it. If you cause an accident that results in damage beyond your policy limits, you will be personally responsible for paying the difference. And no matter what, you should be sure to fulfill the minimum California car insurance requirements to avoid facing consequences for driving without insurance.
Finally, drivers should also consider purchasing other types of car insurance in order to better protect themselves, given that liability insurance does not provide any coverage for the policyholder’s own injuries or property. For instance, collision insurance covers damage to the policyholder’s car regardless of fault. And comprehensive insurance pays if the policyholder’s vehicle is damaged by something besides an accident, like a natural disaster or vandalism.
You need enough liability insurance to cover your net worth. Having coverage equal to the value of the assets you own and all the money you have, minus your debt, protects you financially in case of a serious car accident.
When to Carry Only the Minimum Liability Coverage
Although almost every state requires drivers to carry liability insurance, the minimum coverage is not always enough to cover the cost of an accident. It’s always best to carry as much liability coverage as you can afford, especially if you have a high net worth. You can generally get away with a lower property damage liability limit if you want to save, however, since property damage liability claims are usually less expensive than bodily injury liability claims.… read full answer
If you don’t have many assets or think the risk is worth it, you might be comfortable with carrying only the minimum coverage. But no matter what, make sure you’re carrying enough insurance to comply with state law and avoid paying fines for driving uninsured.
Liability Limits on Auto Insurance
Liability limits on auto insurance are the maximum amount that your insurance company will pay for injuries and property damage in accidents that you cause. Liability limits are typically written as three numbers divided by slashes.
For example, Arizona’s liability coverage requirements are 50/30/10. That means drivers need to carry $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage overall.
Why You Need More Liability Insurance Than the State Minimum
Your insurance company will never pay for anything beyond the limits of your policy. Using the Arizona example, if you cause an accident that leads to $70,000 in medical bills for the other driver, you will have to pay for $40,000 if you are only carrying the minimum insurance required. And if you can’t afford to pay the full amount, the other driver can sue, and you can have your assets seized or wages garnished to cover the remainder.
No, uninsured motorist coverage is not required in California, as drivers can reject the coverage in writing. Still, insurance companies are required to offer at least $15,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person (up to $30,000 per accident), as well as $3,500 in uninsured motorist property damage insurance per accident.… read full answer
Additionally, drivers have the option to purchase $15,000 in underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person (up to $30,000 per accident), along with $3,500 in underinsured motorist property damage insurance per accident.
For California drivers who do not opt out by rejecting the coverage in writing, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage helps pay for a car accident in which the other driver doesn’t have car insurance, or doesn’t have enough coverage for the damage they caused.
Why You Should Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California
Normally, an at-fault driver’s insurance helps pay for any damage after an accident. However, if the other driver doesn’t have any – or enough – coverage, it can be time-consuming and difficult to sue them for funds to cover any medical or repair bills. That’s where this optional insurance coverage can help you save time and money.
Even though California does not require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, you should still consider buying it. In California, an average of 15% of drivers on the road don’t have car insurance, which means there is a 1 in 7 chance that the other driver won’t have coverage if you get into an accident. Car accidents in California can be very expensive, too.
Key Facts About Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California:
Minimum Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $15,000 per person and up to $30,000 per accident
Minimum Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: $3,500 per accident
Minimum Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $15,000 per person and up to $30,000 per accident
No, personal injury protection (PIP) is not required in California. PIP is not even available in California. Instead of PIP insurance, California insurance companies offer medical payments insurance (sometimes called MedPay), which helps with hospital bills resulting from a car accident.
MedPay is similar to PIP insurance in that both handle your medical bills even if you cause a car accident. But MedPay covers less than personal injury protection, with no provisions for lost wages or assistance with home tasks that you can’t manage due to injury.… read full answer
Personal injury protection is a type of car insurance used in no-fault states, since it covers medical payments regardless of who caused an accident. California is an at-fault state, which means at least one driver is found to be “at fault” after a collision. Due in part to the differences in car insurance laws, the average cost of insurance in California – $1,830 – is fairly expensive compared to most PIP states and other non-PIP states.
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