What does it mean to have “FULL COVERAGE?”
Many people tell me they have full insurance on their car. However, that is a very relative term and really could mean different things to different people. Most people are not really FULLY COVERED, even though that’s what their insurance agent or broker told them. I think most Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers will tell you the minimum California insurance policies are way too low to protect you and your family.
Liability Insurance:
$15,000 for injury/death to one person.
$30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
$5,000 for damage to property.
Liability insurance compensates a person other than the policy-holder for personal injury and property damage. Comprehensive and collision insurance coverage, on their own, do not meet vehicle California’s financial responsibility insurance requirements.
California requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $15,000 per person liability insurance to cover injuries to other people, and $5000 insurance to repair damage to other people’s property, such as cars or other damaged personal property, rental car costs, towing and storage. DMV California Insurance Requirements That’s it; so technically you are fully covered according to California’s legally required insurance limits if you have that very small and too often insufficient insurance policy. For example, if God forbid you cause a car accident , with the price of car repairs, especially in Los Angeles where people drive expensive cars, that $5000 to cover the car repair is not going to be enough. You will be on the hook for the rest of the car repair, towing charges, rental car bill, etc.
The situation could be even worse if the car accident causes injuries. With the high cost of emergency rooms in Los Angeles, and the expense of MRIs, it may not take a very big car accident to cause the need for testing and treatment that may cost more than a $15,000.00 policy limit. What most people don’t realize is that it usually costs very little extra money to bump your liability coverage up for injuries and property damage to higher coverage, such as $100,000/$300,000 bodily injury liability, and $100,000 property damage coverage. You can also add umbrella coverage for all your vehicles, home or apartment (renter’s insurance), that will raise the overall protection to $1,000,000.00…also for a reasonable premium if you shop around a bit.
Insurance is another important requirement to make sure you get what you deserve in compensation after a car or motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, California. California passed Proposition 213 back in 1996. That proposition was turned into law and codified as California Civil Code Section 3333.4 . That proposition and code say that you will not be reimbursed for your pain and suffering if you were uninsured when the accident occurred, even if the other driver was 100% at fault. You can get compensation for your past and present medical bills and lost earnings, but no other damages such as pain and suffering compensation. Motorcyclists and car driver’s should also get enough insurance. The law only requires you to get liability insurance to pay for someone else’s injuries and property damage that you cause. The minimum required coverage that you must buy is $15,000 to pay for injuries, and $5000 to fix the other driver’s car. The minimum required insurance coverages do not pay for your own injuries and medical treatment; and do not cover repairs to your own car.
Also, motorcyclists should buy enough insurance, and by that I mean uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM insurance coverage), not just liability to pay for the other driver’s property damage and injuries. Most motorcycle crash injuries are serious and substantial, and most car drivers either don’t have enough insurance to pay for the motorcycle rider’s injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering; or many car drivers are uninsured and don’t have any car insurance to cover the accident. I recommend as much UM and UIM coverage as a motorcycle rider can afford, a minimum of $100,000 in coverage. It usually costs very little to add UM/UIM, and even less to raise the UM coverage from $15,000.00 to $100,000.00, and the motorcyclist can also purchase umbrella insurance coverage with uninsured motorist coverage to bring the protection coverage up to $1,000,000.00, for maybe $250 to $300 per year. Buy the insurance protection you need because most negligent car driver’s are underinsured and will not have the assets to pay for your injuries and medical care.
Get the right insurance and get more than the minimum. When the insurance salesperson tells you about FULL COVERAGE, ask them what that really means. Find out what your coverage really protects you from; and consult with an experienced lawyer to find out the details and options for insurance protection.
Related Sources: Wrongful Death Damages
California Prop 213 Motorcycle Crashes
California DMV Car Insurance Requirements