What you need to know about insurance and car accidents in Anaheim

Car insurance is designed to provide people with financial help after an accident, so it is important to understand how it works.

Many people in the Anaheim area get involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Insurance is designed to help in such situations, for example, by paying for car repairs or medical bills. Therefore, it is important for people to take the time to learn more about it.

Is insurance required?

California drivers and car owners do not necessarily need auto insurance, but they do need to show financial responsibility in some way, according to The State Bar of California. For example, people can obtain a certificate from the Department of Motor Vehicles that they are self-insured, they can present a $35,000 bond from a surety bonding company licensed in the state, or they can give the DMV a $35,000 cash deposit.

In any case, the consequences to a person's driving future stand to be severe in a car accident if he or she lacks proof of financial responsibility; it is even possible that for as much as four years, someone would have no driver's license. Even vehicle impoundment could result from a situation such as a traffic stop.

What do policies normally cover?

The State Bar of California explains that insurance coverage is not adequate in many accidents due to fewer coverage options offered. In general, however, policies may offer the following:

  • The collision portion establishes a deductible amount. Once that amount is paid, the insurer covers the remaining portion, regardless of whose fault the accident was.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage can make up what is lacking if the other driver caused the collision and does not have sufficient insurance to cover the victim's damages.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage helps pay for the damages caused by a driver who has no insurance. Medical payments coverage may also help pay.

Many insurance policies also cover rental cars, towing trucks and the like. Adding this type of coverage to a policy should be relatively easy.

Gathering insurance information

If drivers have insurance, they should keep their insurance card or a copy of their policy in the car. Having a pen and pad of paper on hand can also give them the ability to collect data such as the name of the other driver, and his or her contact information (phone number, mailing address and email address). Drivers need to take down what insurance vitals they can about the other driver; policy number and insurance carrier are must-haves. Last but not least, drivers should record the other driver's license plate number and vehicle details, such as the year, make and model.

Taking photos also helps when dealing with an insurance company; documenting the accident scene, vehicle damage and the surrounding area can be important in claims and court cases. It is also good for drivers to move as quickly as possible to get insurance claims started.

If drivers have been in a car accident in the Orange County area, there are many concerns they may have, such as how they will pay for their medical bills and deal with lost income. They may find it helpful to meet with an attorney who deals in these types of matters.