You leave your house to drive to work or take the kds to school feeling very comfortable with your automobile insurance coverage. You feel protected because your policy has high liability coverage limits, so there’s nothing to worry about. Correct? Not so fast. Don’t forget to evaluate your uninsured motorist coverage.
A very large number of California automobile drivers hit the road each day with woefully inadequate insurance coverage. By some estimates, as many as one third of all drivers fall into this category; many are uninsured, some are underinsured. Either way, those drivers represent a great risk to themselves and others. Is there a way for the remaining two thirds of drivers to protect themselves? The answer is, yes.
Let’s start with some basics. What is uninsured motorist coverage (or “UM” as it is commonly called)? UM coverage is an essential part of any automobile insurance policy in the state of California. UM covers you if you are in a collision where the other driver is found to be liable, and where that driver has either no insurance or insufficient insurance to compensate you for your injuries and the related damages. By law, insurance companies must provide UM coverage as part of every automobile policy. The only exception is if the policy holder specifically declines in writing.
How UM coverage much do I need? Insurance companies are only required to issue policies with a minimum of $30,000 per person/$60,000 per incident, even if your liability coverage limits are higher. And if your liability limits are $15,000/$30,000 (the minimum the law allows in California), then the UM coverage will be issued in that same amount. Neither of the above amounts will serve you well if the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured.