California requires all drivers to provide proof of financial responsibility for vehicles operated within the state. Most individuals purchase car insurance coverage to meet the requirements for financial responsibility. The state has set minimum coverage amounts for liability insurance that each driver must purchase.
The current car insurance requirements for California drivers are:
- Bodily injury coverage (liability coverage) in the amount of $15,000 for injury or death to one individual
- Bodily injury coverage of $30,000 for injury or death per incident
- Property damage coverage in the amount of $5,000
The bodily injury and property damage coverage are not the only two types of car insurance you can purchase. There are benefits of increasing the coverage amount and purchasing additional car insurance coverage. However, some of the terms may not be familiar, especially for first-time drivers.
Our Sacramento car accident attorney discusses some of the common car insurance terms you should know before you are involved in an auto accident.
Car Insurance Terms You Should Understand Before a Traffic Accident
Required Car Insurance Coverage
- Bodily Injury Coverage or Liability Insurance — This type of car insurance compensates victims for their injuries and damages when you cause a traffic accident. The insurance company is only liable for the policy limits. Therefore, to protect your personal assets, it may be wise to purchase higher amounts of liability insurance than the state requires.
- Property Damage Liability Insurance — Property damage coverage pays for the damage to other vehicles when you cause a motor vehicle accident. This insurance coverage may also pay for damage to other items of personal property that is damaged in the crash. It does not pay for your property damage.
Optional Car Insurance Coverage
- Collision Insurance Coverage — Collision coverage pays to repair damage to your vehicle if you hit another object. It also pays to repair your vehicle if you cause a traffic accident. Lenders typically require collision insurance when vehicles are used as collateral for loans.
- Comprehensive Insurance Coverage — This type of coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from other perils, such as fire, theft, falling objects, and most natural disasters. Lenders also require comprehensive insurance when you use your vehicle as collateral for a loan.
- Deductibles — Your deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of your pocket before your insurance provider pays any benefits under a collision or comprehensive insurance policy. In most cases, people choose high deductible to lower the premium for insurance. Unfortunately, this choice may hurt them after an accident if they do not have the funds to pay the deductible.
- MED Pay — Medical payment insurance coverage pays medical expenses if you are injured in a crash, regardless of who is at fault. It can be very useful even when another driver causes the crash because you can get help with medical bills immediately instead of waiting until your car accident claim settles.
- Personal Injury Protection — PIP is another type of no-fault insurance that can be very helpful. They type of car insurance pays for a portion of your medical bills and lost wages after a traffic accident, regardless of fault. It may also pay for other expenses, depending on the policy.
- Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage — UM and UIM coverage is very important, even though it is optional. UM insurance pays for your damages if an uninsured driver causes the crash. UIM insurance pays for damages caused by another driver who does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay all damages.
Talk to Your Car Insurance Agent
There are other options available in addition to the above types of coverage. It is important to discuss your needs and your budget with your insurance agent. It is typically best to purchase as much car insurance coverage as you can afford to protect yourself, your family, and your personal assets.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney for Help
For a free consultation, you can contact The Tiemann Law Firm by calling (916) 999-9000 or by visiting our website.
Every person in California is required to maintain minimum liability insurance coverage in order to operate a motor vehicle legally within the state. The state requires each driver to carry a minimum liability insurance of $15,000 for the death/injury to one person, $30,000 for the death/injury to more than one person, and, $5,000 for damage to property. Failure to maintain insurance may result in fines and the suspension of your vehicle registration. Unfortunately, some drivers do not abide by the insurance laws in California.
Who Pays My Bills in a Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you are in a California motor vehicle accident, the driver responsible for causing the car crash is liable for your bills and damages. Typical damages in a vehicle accident include, but are not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, physical pain, emotional suffering, property damage, and funeral expenses. Other damages may be compensable depending on the facts and circumstances of your accident.