Uninsured and Under-Insured Motorist Insurance Coverage
You just got in a horrible accident that’s put you in the hospital. The medical bills are piling up. You want the person that hit your car (the negligent/at-fault party) to pay and pay big. After all, they ran a red light, or they were gabbing on a cell phone not paying attention, or they were intoxicated.
Few would disagree that such a person should have to pay for everything they’ve put you through; costs for medical care to date, costs of future medical care, loss of income, etc., but the reality is generally the only monies available is what auto insurance coverage, specifically body injury auto insurance coverage, that another person possesses.
California law only requires drivers to minimally possess $15,000.00 per person/$30,000.00 per incident coverage. In other words, if someone crashes into you, putting you in a hospital for days at the cost of tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars, if the negligent driver only has the minimal $15,000.000/$30,000.00 bodily injury insurance coverage, then you only have $15,000.000 available to you. If the accident involves multiple vehicles and multiple people, and the fault is determined to rest solely on one person. One person only has $15,000.000/$30,000.00 bodily injury insurance coverage, then the most anyone individual can obtain is $15,000.00. The most the people in all the cars can collect collectively may be only $30,000.00.
For this reason, you must carry your own under-insured/uninsured motorist automobile coverage.
BEST TIP I can give you - Carry at least $100,000.00/$300,000.00 in uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage. That way, you know that regardless of how much insurance coverage the at-fault driver possesses, you will have $100,000.00 available to you personally through your own insurance. If passengers in your car got hurt as well, each would also have $100,000.00 available up to a maximum of $300,000.00 for everyone combined.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to injured people, facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in outstanding medical bills as well as loss of employment, only to find that only $15,000.00 is available from the negligent driver. In other words, as the saying goes, you cannot get blood from a stone. No matter how horrible the negligent/at-fault driver is, unless you’re hit by Bill Gates or Donald Trump, most people only have a finite amount of insurance coverage with few personal assets. Most in California carry only minimal coverage...or do not have insurance at all. Studies have shown that one-third (1/3) of drivers are uninsured.
Do yourself a favor and make sure you carry at least $100,000 per incident/$300,000 per accident in uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage (or as much coverage over that as you or your family can afford). On a rainy day (and hopefully, that rainy day never comes for you), the extra few dollars paid in insurance premium will be worth it.