Everyone knows that California requires all drivers to carry auto insurance. The legally required minimum insurance is a policy that provides coverage after an accident in the amount of $15,000 per person, not to exceed $30,000 per accident. This is commonly referred to as a 15/30 policy. It means that if you are the victim of an accident that is no fault of your own and the other driver has this policy, the most their insurance would pay to you, regardless of the injuries suffered, would be $15,000. If you had multiple people in your car, and all were injured, the most the insurance would pay would be $30,000 for all of the occupants to split among themselves.
In today’s economy and with the exceedingly high cost of health car, a 15/30 policy is rarely sufficient to make someone whole after they have been injured in an automobile accident. A trip to the Emergency Room with and MRI alone will come close to $10,000. While there certainly are higher value automobile policies available, the majority of Californians have 15/30 policies and there obviously is no way to ensure that the person that injures you or a loved one has sufficient insurance.
There is one way Californians can protect themselves and ensure that if they are a victim in an accident (even if hit by a car while on a bicycle). There is a type of insurance called Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage (UM/UIM for short). Put simply, this insurance coverage protects you in the event that you are injured by someone with insufficient insurance to compensate you for your injuries. Uninsured Motorist applies when the person has no insurance, and Underinsured Motorist applies when their insurance limits aren’t enough to cover your injuries. Your insurance company basically steps into the shoes of the negligent driver and provides reasonable compensation up to the UM/UIM coverage limit.
Too many times have we seen people who were significantly injured by another’s actions who later to find out the other driver has little or no insurance. At that point, they have no remedy under the law to help with medical bills, time off of work, or the pain, suffering and discomfort that accompanies injuries. It is incredibly unfair, but at least there is a way for people to protect themselves.
Please call your automobile insurance company and discuss your coverage in the UM/UIM area so that you and your family are protected in the unfortunate event you are injured in an automobile accident.
If you have questions or need to speak to an attorney, click here to view the Brandi Law Firm website.