Each state has laws dictating the minimum automobile insurance requirements for that state. California is an at-fault state for insurance purposes. Therefore, the state requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $15,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person and $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident. Drivers must also carry $5,000 in property damage coverage per accident.
Liability insurance pays for the damages of other persons when a driver causes an automobile accident. The victim may be a passenger in that driver’s vehicle, another driver, a passenger in another vehicle, a pedestrian, or a bicyclist. Any person injured by the at-fault driver can file a claim to recover damages. However, if the driver carries minimum insurance, the victim may be limited to a recovery of $15,000. This is one reason you might want to consider purchasing additional insurance coverage that can help protect you in the event you are injured in an accident with a driver who does not have sufficient insurance coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Insurance and Underinsured Motorist Insurance
Many motorists carry the minimum insurance requirements in California while some drivers choose to ignore the law and driver without insurance. If you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, you could be stuck with paying thousands of dollars in medical bills and other damages. Even if the driver has insurance, your damage could easily exceed the $15,000, and you could be left paying the difference between the insurance payment and the actual cost of the accident.
Uninsured motorist coverage pays compensation when you are in an accident with an uninsured driver. Underinsured motorist coverage picks up when your claim exceeds the policy limits of the at-fault driver. Both types of insurance are usually very affordable, especially when you consider the potential value of these types of insurance coverage if you are seriously injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Personal Injury Protection Insurance
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is sometimes referred to as no-fault insurance because it covers you regardless of who is at fault for the car accident. In other words, your PIP insurance can pay a portion of your lost wages and medical bills even if you caused the crash. In some cases, it could take months or years to settle a complex car accident claim. Even when another driver is responsible for the crash, you can file a claim against your PIP coverage to assist with medical bills and lost wages while you wait for your claim against the other driver to be settled.
As discussed above, the minimum property damage amount for drivers in California is $5,000 per accident. This amount is extremely low when you consider how much it costs to repair some vehicles and the cost of new vehicles. If you are involved in an accident, and your car is totaled, the most you can recover from a driver with minimum insurance is $5,000. If you have a loan on your vehicle and the loan exceeds the value of the vehicle, you could be left with a very expensive debt if the amount between the value of the vehicle and the payoff is above $5,000.
With GAP insurance, your insurance provider pays the difference between the value of the vehicle and insurance proceeds and the payoff of the loan. In other words, the GAP insurance pays off your loan so that you do not owe any money out-of-pocket on a vehicle that has been totaled.
Call a Stockton Car Accident Attorney for Help
Our Stockton car accident attorney can help you file an insurance claim to recover money for your losses and damages when a negligent driver causes a crash. Contact the attorneys of Torem & Associates for a free consultation by calling (559) 500-5000 or 1-800-954-4444 or by using the contact form. Our office is located at 4557 Quail Lakes Drive, Stockton, CA 95207.