No one expects a car accident to happen. However, more than 200,000 people sustain injuries in motor vehicle crashes every year in California. While it’s impossible to be ready for any injuries and property damage that may result if a crash does happen, there are ways to be financially prepared. Below are a few tips to protect yourself before an auto accident with the right auto insurance.
Have Strong Insurance, Not Just the Minimum
California law requires drivers to demonstrate financial responsibility, which means carrying auto insurance. Unfortunately, a study found that more than 15 percent of California drivers are uninsured. Failure to obtain proper liability insurance may preclude recovery for pain and suffering in California.
Review your auto insurance policy to make sure you have sufficient coverage. Hospital and medical bills can become enormous in the event of a car crash. Be sure to have as much coverage as you can afford, rather than settling for the required minimum. If necessary, consider raising your deductible to reduce the cost of premiums in exchange for much greater coverage. Always carry proof of insurance and registration in your vehicle.
Consider an excess/umbrella policy in case of a catastrophic injury. Because the risk of such a loss is small, such policies are often surprisingly affordable and will protect you if you, unfortunately, are severely injured or your family.
Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage is an extremely important form of insurance. It protects against the risk of suffering serious damages without funds available for compensation. It protects you, your family, and others who suffer damages caused by an at-fault driver that either does not have auto insurance at all, or who does not have enough insurance coverage to compensate you fully for your damages.
Even if the at-fault driver has insurance, the legally required limits in California are only $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Given the high costs of healthcare, that coverage can be exhausted by ambulance transport and emergency care. There could then be no available coverage for ongoing healthcare needs, let alone other damages like lost wages, or pain and suffering. In this scenario, underinsured motorist can supplement the inadequate coverage carried by the at-fault driver.
UM/UIM also protects you and your family if you’re injured by a driver with little or no insurance while you are walking, riding a bike, or riding as a passenger in another person’s vehicle. We recommend that you purchase as much UM/UIM coverage as you can afford.
It’s important to be aware of liens and reimbursements you may be expected to pay back after obtaining compensation through an auto accident lawsuit. In other words, you may need to pay back insurance, health care providers, or others who paid your bills initially. An experienced car accident lawyer can help navigate that field.
At CaseyGerry, it is our hope that you never need to use your auto insurance. However, in the unlikely event, you do fall victim to a car crash, you’ll want to have protected yourself and loved ones as much as possible.