How Much Car Insurance Do You Need in California?
How Much Car Insurance Do you Need in California?
Jacqueline Larsen remembers when like most states, California did not mandate drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. Fortunately, her car accident did not involve a personal injury, but she learned quickly about the importance of insurance.
“I got into a fender bender on the 15 just outside of Riverside,” said Jacqueline. “The damage was bad enough to force me to spend a couple hundred dollars out of my own pocket to fix a large dent and a broken headlight. The other driver was at fault, but he didn’t have car insurance to pay for the damage to my vehicle.”
If the same accident happened today, the driver of the other car would be legally liable to pay for the damage caused to Jaqueline’s vehicle. Like 49 other states, California enacted a law that requires car owners to carry minimum amount of car insurance. The question for drivers is how much car insurance do I need in California?
What is Auto Liability Insurance Coverage?
Auto Liability Car Insurance, which is also referred to as liability coverage, represents insurance that pays out to one or more drivers in case an accident causes a personal injury and/or property damage. In Jacqueline’s situation, the other driver would have used auto liability insurance to pay for fixing the large dent and broken headlight. Although 49 out of 50 states require a minimum amount of auto liability insurance, you should consider purchasing more liability coverage to ensure having enough money to pay for major auto damage and/or the medical bills generated by a substantial personal injury.
Examples of Auto Liability of Insurance
Let’s assume you are pulling out of space inside a multi-level parking garage. Unknown to you, a car is traveling down a nearby ramp towards your vehicle. Even with blind spot safety technology, you become distracted and fail to stop the car. You hit the other vehicle, which causes a minor neck injury to the driver and a laceration on the side of the face to one of the passengers. There is also damage caused to the left front quarter panel and the windshield has a slight crack because of the impact.
You would be considered at fault, which means liability coverage pays for damage to the car and the personal injury suffered by the driver and one of the passengers. Monetary payments go for medical bills, as well as to the repair shop responsible for returning the victims car to mint condition.
Two Types of Auto Liability Insurance
If you are held responsible for an auto accident, bodily injury liability insurance pays for the costs of treating personal injuries. Although medical expenses are tangible costs you can see, an insurance company might seek monetary damages for pain and suffering. You can also expect to compensate an injured driver and/or passenger for wages lost due to recovery time from personal injury. Property damage liability insurance covers the cost of damage done to another vehicle during a car accident. Auto liability insurance does not cover damage done to your vehicle, as well as any personal injury suffered by you or any of the passengers.
Medical Payments Coverage in California for Driver and Passengers
Medical Payments Coverage is the insurance you purchase to pay for medical expenses charged to you and any passengers involved in a car accident. Health Care Payments Coverage, also known as medical and funeral services payment, protect you financially against having to pay expensive out of pocket medical bills. Most types of auto medical insurance also covers you as a cyclist or pedestrian. Medical Payments Coverage does not assign fault in a car accident to determine which driver is on the hook for medical expenses. Mandatory in states that have passed no fault medical coverage laws, medical insurance covers hospitalization, rehabilitation, and the cost associated with treatment stemming from a California Auto Accident causing Personal Injury.
California Auto Insurance Law (Minimum Amount of Car Insurance)
So, how much car insurance do you need in California?
In order to comply with California State Financial Responsibility Laws, the following minimum auto insurance coverages apply:
Bodily Injury Liability $15,000 Per Person/$30,000 Per Accident
Property Damage Liability-$5,000
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury-$15,000 Per Person/$30,000 Per Accident (this requirement can be waived expressly)
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage-$3,500
Remember that these figures represent the minimum amount of coverage required by the State of California. You should access one of the convenient online calculators offered by numerous insurance companies to determine the optimal amount of coverage you should purchase for auto insurance.
How Does California Auto Insurance Law Apply to New Residents?
If you are planning to relocate to The Golden State, remember the state has not authorized some insurance companies to operate in California. Request a copy of the Department of Motor Vehicle California Driver Handbook to learn how to avoid receiving a stiff penalty that can include a suspended license.
To avoid a penalty, ask your insurance company to file a power of attorney for allowing the California DMV to act as an agent for legal services. Make sure your car insurance fully complies with California auto insurance statutes before you relocate to The Golden State. Refer to the Department of Motor Vehicles website to find out what the current minimum amount of auto insurance is required for personal injury and property damage coverage. Car owners that carry collision insurance might be eligible under state law for the California Deductible Waiver. With the California Deductible Waiver, your auto insurance company pays the deductible on your vehicle in the case when an uninsured driver is responsible for causing an auto accident.
If the State of California discovers you have not complied with the legal requirement to purchase a minimum amount of auto insurance, the state will send you a letter that says it has cancelled your vehicle registration. A vehicle registration cancellation can happen even if the state does not have the correct Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in its database or if the information sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles is incorrect.
If you are located in Fresno and have questions about your auto insurance limits relating to California Law, contact Tryk Law, PC. We are happy to sit down with you and conduct a free – no-obligation review how much auto insurance you need as a California driver (to protect your assets and yourself).
If the terminology in this article is new for you, click here relevant definitions relating to your Fresno Personal Injury Legal Questions.
Our team of licensed and experienced Fresno Personal Injury Attorneys will help you to be safe and secure with the amount of insurance you hold. You will leave our office in knowing that if you are involved in a car accident, you and your family will be taken care of and your assets are protected. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation (559) 840-3240.