What Types Of California Car Insurance Do You Need?
Posted on: 15Jan,2016
Without exception, if you are going to drive legally in California, you have to carry the minimum liability coverage required by state law. Although getting the proper insurance coverage means understanding this requirement, you may need additional coverage based on several factors. Granted, car insurance is one of those things that most people see as being a necessary evil. In fact, many individuals who have never been involved in an auto accident think car insurance is a waste of money. However, the reality is that not having car insurance can result in financial devastation.
Understanding the Different Types of Coverages
It goes without saying that having a thorough knowledge of the different types of coverage currently available is vital to ensuring that you have the proper amounts of coverage while not paying too much for it. Sometimes, understanding these different forms of coverage can be considerably challenging based on the variety of legal terminologies that are used in most insurance documents.
So for the sake of knowledge and the elimination of cranial stress, we have assembled the following guide to the different types of coverages that are currently available in today’s insurance marketplace. In addition to the different types of coverage, we have also listed the minimums required by California state law as well as the coverage amounts that the average driver carries.
Bodily Injury Liability – covers expenses that are injury related including the death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian that dies as a result of a vehicular accident that is your fault. The per-person limit in California is $15,000 while $30,000 is the minimum amount of coverage required per accident. The average amount of liability carried is $100,000 per individual and $300,000 per accident.
Collision – covers repair or replacement costs for your vehicle when damages result from an accident. This coverage is not required in California, but the average driver has a $500 deductible which means that they must pay the first $500 in expenses before their insurer pays the rest. (NOTE: although this coverage is not required by law, you may have to have it if you are financing the purchase of a vehicle.)
Comprehensive – covers repair and replacement costs for damages to your vehicle that are not accident related such as storm damage, theft, or vandalism. This coverage is not required in California, but the average driver has a $250 deductible, meaning that they are responsible for the first $250 in repairs or replacement costs. (NOTE: although this coverage is not required by law, you may have to have it if you are financing the purchase of a vehicle.)
Medical expenses – this covers funeral and medical expenses if you and any passengers get injured in an auto accident or die as a result of those injuries. Although this coverage is not required under state law, it is recommended that you carry it. The average medical expense coverage carried by the average California driver is $5,000.
Property damage liability – as the name implies, this covers the damages to another individual’s property and the repair or replacement expenses that result when you are the at-fault driver. Property is defined as buildings, homes, vehicles, or other types of structures. The minimum coverage amount required under California law is $5,000. Interestingly enough, the average driver carries $100,000 in property damage coverage.
Uninsured motorist – if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who does not have car insurance and they are at fault, this covers any medical expenses that you incur. This is not a state-required coverage. However, it is recommended since 1 out of every 7 drivers in California is not insured. Average limits of this coverage are $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.
Underinsured motorist – covers the same that Uninsured Motorist does and is usually grouped in with that coverage on your policy. The same statistics apply with the exception that 1 out of every 10 drivers is either uninsured or underinsured. Since it is grouped in with Uninsured Motorist coverage, the coverage limits are not applicable.
Your current car insurance agent can provide you more information such as how much and what coverages they recommend for you and other drivers in your family.