Understanding underinsured/Uninsured motorist coverage in California

Understand what it means to have underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage for your peace of mind.

When it comes to auto insurance in California, it is perfectly understandable that you want to do everything you can to keep your costs as low as possible. To avoid the costs and frustration commonly associated with personal injuries, you have got to account for the mistakes of others. As you are looking over your auto insurance policy, ensure you have enough underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.

Know the facts

One of the first things you should know is the fact that roughly one in every eight drivers in the United States does not have car insurance. This means that if you are involved in an accident with one of those uninsured drivers and the accident was not your fault, you would be financially responsible for all resulting medical and auto repair bills. While you can always take the uninsured driver to court, there is no guarantee you will receive any type of payment. Because the same is true of drivers who do not have enough coverage to cover the cost of an accident in which they were at fault, your policy should make up for what at-fault drivers lack.

The categories

When you start looking over your options for underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, you will notice that it is broken down into two different categories: bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage. As the name implies, bodily injury coverage takes care of resulting hospital bills should you sustain injuries from an accident in which you were not at fault. Property damage coverage handles any repairs your car might need after the accident.

State requirements

Before deciding on an uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage amount, ask your agent about the most recent state requirements. In the state of California, you are not required to have this type of coverage, but it is best that you have it anyway. Even if you are a careful driver, there is no guarantee that you will not be involved in an accident with a driver who either does not have enough coverage or any coverage at all. Heading a potential disaster off at the pass is always in your best interest, and a bit of coverage can go a long way in saving you money and frustration.

Alternative options

If you would still rather not have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, there are alternatives. For instance, your health insurance plan might be enough to handle resulting injuries, and your policy's collision coverage could cover damage to your car.

The right insurance policy might not be enough to take care of the total cost of a serious motor vehicle injury in California. Consider working with an attorney in situations that are more than your insurance company can handle.