The One Reason Why You Might Need More Car Insurance Coverage
Even though there are serious penalties for driving without car insurance in California (license suspension, citation, car impoundment, and large fines), California still has the highest number of uninsured motorists according to the Insurance Research Council.
Approximately 4.1 million drivers in California are driving without any car insurance coverage. Why is this bad? This is bad because if one of these uninsured motorists hit you, you won't be able to recover anything for your bodily injury or property damage from an insurance company. Worse yet, because uninsured drivers typically don't have any assets to compensate you for the damages you suffered, you won't be able to recover anything for your damages from the at-fault driver either.
What Can You Do If an Uninsured Driver Hits You?
You hope and pray that your car insurance policy includes uninsured motorist coverage. People often believe that because they have "full coverage" that their car insurance company will take care of them no matter what when they're involved in a car accident. This is not true. In fact, full coverage does not truly exist.
Types of Car Insurance Coverage
Generally, when people refer to full coverage, they are referring to a policy that provides the following:
- Liability Coverage: pays for the bodily injury and property damage that you cause in an accident.
- Collision Coverage: pays for the property damage to your vehicle in a car accident.
- Comprehensive Coverage: pays for the property damage to your vehicle that was not caused by a car accident (e.g. theft, vandalism, fallen tree).
While this may sound like plenty of coverage, there are still many situations where it will prove to be grossly inadequate:
- Medical Payments: payment for medical treatment necessitated by a car accident.
- Rental Reimbursement: payment for a car rental while your car is being repaired after a car accident.
- Uninsured Motorist: payment for property damage, bodily injury, medical treatment, and pain and suffering in the event you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
- Underinsured Motorist Protection: payment for property damage, bodily injury, medical treatment, and pain and suffering in the event you are involved in an accident with an insured driver whose policy limits are insufficient to compensate you for your damages.
- Gap Insurance: payment for the difference between how much you owe on your car and the value of your car if your car has been totaled in a car accident.
- Emergency Roadside Service: payment for the towing and labor on your car if your car needs to be towed.
Why You Might Need More Car Insurance Coverage
As you can see, even if you have "full coverage" your insurance coverage may come up short if you are involved in a car accident. For example, if you have full coverage and are hit by an uninsured motorist, your collision coverage will pay for the repairs to your car (after you have paid your deductible), but you have no available coverage for your medical bills and pain and suffering. However, if you had uninsured motorist coverage and were hit by an uninsured motorist, your uninsured motorist insurance will pay for your medical bills and compensate you for your pain and suffering up to your policy limits.
If you don't have uninsured motorist coverage and you are hit by an uninsured driver, you may have coverage for your some property damage and some medical bills, but you probably won't be able to recover anything for your pain and suffering.
Check Your Car Insurance Policy Today
Take the time to know the extent of your car insurance coverage so you won't be left footing the bill for a car accident that wasn't your fault. Uninsured motorist coverage is often a small additional fee and could be very well worth it in the end.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lem Garcia
West Covina car accident law office, Lem Garcia Law, was opened to give people who were injured in a car accident a place to turn when they need help the most. I am a lifelong resident of West Covina and my goal is to help the area as much as I can. I am the youngest of three boys and the son of an engineer and hairstylist. I went to public schools in West Covina and went to college at Cal Poly Pomona. I went to law school in Western State University College of Law. I believe that by helping injured victims, I am making a difference in their lives.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.