When you are signing up for auto insurance coverage, it may be tempting to simply agree to the minimum coverage and move on without giving it further thought. It is understandable. Auto insurance can not only be complicated to try and decode, but it can also be expensive. While the minimum coverage may be your cheapest monthly option, it can end up costing you much more should you be injured in a car accident. Minimum coverage amounts will only go so far and the other driver may not even carry any insurance at all. In this case, having uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may be one of the only means of financial relief.
How to Access UM Benefits
The state of California has minimum liability insurance requirements for all drivers. Liability insurance provides coverage to others that a driver may cause personal injuries or property damage to in the event that the driver causes an accident. All drivers are legally required in California to carry a minimum of $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person in an accident and $30,000 bodily injury coverage for more than one person in an accident. All drivers must also carry $5,000 in property damage coverage. Furthermore, uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage in the minimum amounts of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident as well as $3,5000 in uninsured motorist property damage coverage must be offered but can be waived by a driver.
California has a fault-based system when it comes to auto accident liability. This means that the state laws hold drivers financially responsible for the impacts of any accident they cause. When you are in a car accident caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of another, then he or she will be financially on the hook for the injuries and harm you suffer as a result of the accident. This can include compensating you for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, among other things.
Sometimes, however, the at-fault driver will not have insurance, despite it being legally required, or the driver will leave the scene of the accident and will not be able to be found or identified. Should you be injured by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver, any UM benefits you have on your own auto insurance policy will kick in to cover your qualifying expenses.
In the alternative, you may have been injured in an accident caused by a driver whose insurance coverage is not sufficient to fully compensate you for the losses you sustained in the accident. In this case, you will need to show your insurance company that you have exhausted the available bodily injury liability coverage and still have outstanding expenses caused by the accident. Then, any underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage you have on your insurance policy will kick in and payout on your outstanding damages up until your limits are exhausted.
Personal Injury Attorneys
To protect yourself in the event of an accident, you should consider having UM or UIM coverage. Should you be in an accident, reach out to the trusted personal injury attorneys at Compass Law Group to help make sure that your legal rights to monetary compensation are fully enforced. Contact us today.