Understanding California’s auto insurance requirements is crucial to ensure that you’re following the law and are protected if a crash happens. Some types of coverage are mandatory, and others are optional. The Los Angeles car accident lawyers at Custodio & Dubey LLP always recommend purchasing the most insurance you can afford to get the best possible coverage after an accident. Here’s what you need to know:
Bodily Injury vs. Medical Payments Insurance
Bodily injury coverage is a type of liability insurance. It covers the costs associated with other people’s injuries if you are at fault in an auto accident. While some states allow policyholders to use bodily injury insurance benefits to pay for family members’ medical expenses and other passengers in a crash, California does not.
Bodily injury liability insurance can cover the expenses of other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians who are injured in accidents when you are at fault, such as:
- Medical expenses (e.g., hospital stays, surgeries, emergency care, prescriptions, and medical equipment, etc.)
- Lost wages, if injured individuals miss time at work
- Pain and suffering
- Final expenses such as burial, funeral, or cremation costs
- Your legal costs if another driver sues you
Medical payments insurance, commonly referred to as “MedPay,” covers expenses related to the injuries you, your family members, or your passengers sustain in an accident. MedPay coverage is available to policyholders regardless of who was at fault in the crash.
MedPay insurance can pay for the following types of expenses incurred by you, your family, and those in your vehicle:
- Hospital stays, ambulance rides, and doctor’s visits
- Diagnostics tests and surgeries
- Dental care
- Medications and medical devices
- Rehabilitation and long-term care
- Funeral, burial, or cremation costs
California Insurance Requirements
California auto insurance policies can vary widely, but the state imposes the following minimum insurance requirements for vehicle owners:
- At least $15,000 per person in bodily injury liability coverage
- At least $30,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
- At least $5,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
California drivers must show proof of minimum liability insurance coverage to register their vehicles in the state. Driving without proper insurance is illegal and may lead to license suspension or vehicle impoundment.
Insurance providers in California are required to offer uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, though drivers are not required to carry either. If you wish to opt out of UM and UIM coverage in California, you must provide your insurance provider with a signed waiver.
UM and UIM insurance can help pay for injuries or property damage if you are involved in a crash with a driver who does not carry insurance or does not have enough coverage to pay for your accident-related expenses. It also applies in hit-and-run accidents. For that reason, Custodio & Dubey LLP highly recommends that you purchase UM/UIM coverage.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
If you were involved in a California car accident, look no further than the experienced personal injury lawyers at Custodio & Dubey LLP. We can help you understand the limits of your insurance policy and pursue the compensation you are eligible to recover after a collision. Contact us today to learn more in a free initial consultation.