If you have ever purchased car insurance in California, you likely had a “fun” time going over the mandatory liability minimums each driver needs to buy, or else they break the law when going on the road.
California uses a 15/30/5 minimum, which means:
- $15,000 coverage for injury or death to one person
- $30,000 coverage for injury or death to more than one person
- $5,000 in property damage (vehicles or otherwise)
But the legal necessities are not the only types of insurance available to you, and they really aren’t the only kinds you should buy. In particular, you may have noticed an option to purchase uninsured and underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage. Since it is only optional, you probably don’t need it, right?
Here’s three reasons why that assumption might be wrong:
- Faster resolution: If you get in a car accident with a driver who has no car insurance, and you don’t have UM/UIM coverage, the only way you can get compensation is through a personal injury claim. While this is better than having no options at all, if you had purchased uninsured motorist coverage, you could get your money faster if your coverage amount actually met all of your damage requirements. Furthermore, personal injury claims filed by plaintiffs who have UM/UIM coverage – which would be the case if your damages exceeded what your coverage offers – tend to see their cases close in a lesser amount of time.
- Excess expenses: An insured driver that hits you but cannot cover all of your necessary medical bills and repair costs with their insurance policy is technically an underinsured motorist. With UIM insurance on your policy, you can gain the maximum amount allowed by the liable party’s insurance and the excess remaining through your own. Essentially, there is less of a chance that you will be left without the coverage you require.
- Hit-and-runs: When you are unable to collect identifying or insurance information from the other driver before they leave the scene of the accident, it is a hit-and-run. What you may not have realized is that uninsured motorist coverage will take care of you during a hit-and-run accident, even if that means you came back to your car after shopping to find that someone put a dent in your bumper.
As it can be seen, there are numerous reasons why you should probably talk to your insurer about getting UM/UIM motorist coverage added onto your policy. It is not, however, the only way to seek compensation and damages after a car accident. An injury claim may be your best option in some cases, regardless of the type of insurance you own.