Understanding California Liability Car Insurance

Posted on: 15Jan,2016

California state law requires that you are financially able to cover the costs of property damages and physical injuries that are associated with an auto accident that may have been your fault. The most common way that California drivers meet these requirements is by purchasing the minimum amount of liability coverage that you must have in order to be a legal driver in the state. These minimums include:

• $15,000 for the death of or injury to one person
• $30,000 for death of or injuries to more than one person
• $5,000 for property damages

There are other types of coverage that you can consider in addition to liability coverage. Those will be discussed later in this content.

Understanding Liability Coverage Limits

California liability car insurance protects you financially and legally should you ever get into a car accident and found to be at fault. It covers any injuries that occur to the other driver and his or her passengers as well as the damage you caused to the vehicle. Liability coverage is comprised of bodily injuries and property damages but does not cover any damage to your vehicle or your physical injuries.

Furthermore, if you are the at-fault driver, your liability coverage will pay for:

• Compensation for the other driver’s loss of wages
• Death-related expenses such as funeral costs
• Medical costs related to bodily injuries
• On-scene emergency care
• Your legal defenses along with any person listed on your policy

In addition to the above, if you are found to be at fault in an auto accident and there are damages to the other driver’s vehicle or property, your liability coverage will pay for:

• Damage repairs or replacement costs of the other vehicles involved
• Homes, buildings, storefronts, and other structural damage
• Repairing damages or the replacement of other stationary objects

Additionally, when you are shopping for California liability car insurance, you will usually see something like this – 15/30/5 – this stands for the state minimum liability limits listed above in the first paragraph. The amount of these limits will determine how much you will pay to have that specific liability coverage.

How to determine the Amount of Liability Coverage that you will need

Before you decide on the liability and other coverage limits of your policy, you should determine the amount that you feel best addresses your needs. Here are two helpful tips that will help you to determine this after you review your state’s minimum requirements:

• Calculate what your personal assets are worth – be mindful of the fact that you will be sued for damages if you have insufficient coverage for any medical costs and/or damage expenses that are associated with an accident that you cause. If your personal asset’s values are not that high, the minimum coverage should suffice.

• You may need additional policies – if you have a number of higher valued assets and you are categorized in one of the highest tax brackets, you should consider paying for an additional policy so that you can maximize your liability coverage. This will ensure that you are not legally forced to sell those assets in order to pay for damages that your policy does not cover. You might want to think about discussing this matter with a financial advisor or planner so that you can make a well-informed decision about your coverage.

Determining the amount of liability coverage to purchase can be a bit challenging. But the best way to determine this is to follow these helpful tips and choose the most affordable coverage for your personal needs. Increasing your coverage as little as 5% or 10% could help you avoid a financially devastating lawsuit in the future.

Additional Coverage Considerations

Although California liability car insurance is the only type of coverage that the state of California requires, you should consider additional coverages including:

• Collision coverage
• Comprehensive coverage
• Funeral services and medical coverage
• Labor and towing coverage
• Rental car coverage
• Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

In most instances, adding collision and/or comprehensive coverage is optional, unless you are financing the purchase of a new vehicle. The leasing or lending company that has financed your purchase will require that you purchase these coverages. If you need more information regarding these coverages or any of the above liability coverage issues, you are advised to discuss this with your current insurance agent.