What Your Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Protection Covers
Even though California mandates that all drivers have vehicle liability insurance coverage, the state still has the most uninsured drivers in the country. Also, the minimum insurance coverage that California requires might not be enough to get your car accident damages fully compensated.
If you are injured in a car accident with a driver who doesn’t have sufficient car insurance to pay for the harm you suffered, you still have options. Your own policy’s uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) might be able to offer you payment for your injuries and damages. Although this line of coverage is not required in California, it is commonly included in standard insurance policies.
Your uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage will kick in to pay for your damages if the other driver doesn’t carry sufficient liability insurance or if the other driver fled the scene of the accident and cannot be identified. The overall UM/UIM coverage limit you’ve signed up for will determine how much of your bodily injury and property damage costs are covered.
Insurance companies in California commonly provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that equal a driver’s liability coverage limits. In California, the minimum liability coverage for an injury to one person is $15,000 and $30,000 for injury to more than one person. However, insurers need not offer UM/UIM coverage with limits in excess of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per incident.
If you file against your UM/UIM coverage, it doesn’t mean your entire claim will be paid. The insurer will still analyze the causes and circumstances of the accident to determine whether you share in the fault. If you do, your UM/UIM benefits will be reduced according to your percentage of the blame. For example, if you were 20 percent at fault, you would recover only 80 percent of your claim. A skilled auto accident lawyer can assist you throughout the claim process.
The costs of a car accident add up quickly. If you have to go to the hospital after a car accident, your medical bills could easily exceed the UM/UIM coverage available. You may need to also file a claim with your health insurance company for your treatment and hospitalization expenses.
For over 30 years, Patterson Law in Santa Barbara has represented people throughout California seeking compensation for injuries suffered in automobile accidents. To learn more about how we can help you, please call 888-479-4589 or contact us online.