Common Types of Car Insurance in California
The law requires that car owners obtain the minimum auto insurance requirements. This type of insurance can offer financial protection. It helps cover the cost of repairs and medical bills that the driver at-fault will need to pay if you are the victim of an auto accident. Not only does auto insurance protect individuals during situations such as these, but obtaining it provides extra protection for any vehicle damage due to natural disasters and severe weather.
Even classic cars can be insured. The Insurance Information Institute (iii) states that regular car insurance is not enough to protect your classic car from unforeseen events such as weather damage or loss.
So when buying a new car, some of the first questions that come to mind even after leaving the shop concern insurance and what type of insurance you should get. Do not get fooled by auto dealers that will likely offer the most expensive coverage options and will probably try to fool you with buzzwords.
Knowing about the common types of car insurance will save you the hassle of going through tons of paperwork without really knowing what to look for. As your prime personal injury attorneys in California, we feel that it is our duty to show you the most common types of insurance coverage. This is so you can make an informed decision when shopping for auto insurance coverage.
The most common types of insurance are:
- Auto liability coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Collision coverage
- Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage
Depending on your local jurisdiction, some of these coverages might be mandatory, while some might be optional. We explain each of the types of coverage in detail below.
California Auto Liability Coverage
This is the most basic coverage and is mandatory in many states. As its name implies, auto liability insurance covers the damages you might cause if you are the at-fault driver in a car accident. Drivers are required by law to get at least the minimum liability coverage set by their state laws. In California, the minimum rate is about $200, and the average is $606. It is divided to cover:
- Bodily Injury Liability: to pay for the costs of another person’s injuries if you cause an accident
- Property Damage Liability: to pay for the material damages incurred
Because of the limits of the auto liability coverage, it is advisable to increase the coverage above the state’s minimum requirements. Any expense that exceeds its policy limits and minimum coverages would have to come out of your own pocket.
Comprehensive car insurance helps pay for vehicle replacement or vehicle repair in case it is damaged or stolen in an incident that did not involve a collision — commonly referred to as “something other than collision” coverage. This helps you against damages from fire, vandalism, fallen objects, and theft, among other things.
If you are looking to finance or lease your car, the lender most likely requires comprehensive coverage. If you fully own the car, then this coverage is optional.
This coverage is one of the most known types of insurance. It protects you if you are involved in a collision against a vehicle or an object, such as a fence, lamp post, or tree. With comprehensive insurance, if you are still paying or leasing your car, collision coverage might be required by the lender. If the car is yours, it is an optional (albeit extremely recommended) coverage package.
Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you are involved in an accident where you were not at fault, this is where underinsured coverage and uninsured motorist insurance comes in. If the negligent party that caused the incident is not insured, or their policy limits cannot cover the expenses of the accident, you will need a personal injury lawyer to help you. While in some states these coverages are bundled together in a single package, each one is defined differently. But it mostly means that either:
- The party that caused the accident does not have liability coverage and cannot pay for the cost of damages
- The liability limit is insufficient to cover your repair and medical bills after an accident
- Liability limits are less than or equal to your underinsured motorist coverage limit
Are There More Types of Insurance?
While the previously mentioned insurance types are the most common, there are a myriad of optional packages to add to your policy that will adjust to your needs. While it would be easy to only consult with an insurance agent about what optional coverage is best for your vehicle, you must remember that they are there to get clients and revenue for the insurance company.
Before deciding what insurance coverage suits your needs, the best course of action is to consult with your attorney. An accident attorney will be able to analyze the ins and outs of an auto insurance policy and will not let the auto insurance carrier take advantage of you for their profit.
Is California a No-Fault Insurance State?
Now that we’ve covered the most common types of car insurance, it is important to note that California is not a no-fault state for auto insurance. As previously stated, it is of utmost importance to obtain the minimum mandatory auto liability insurance coverage — regardless if you live in an at-fault state or no-fault state.
So how does California’s ruling affect insurance policies after an accident? Because California is a no-fault state, this means that during the insurance process fault needs to be determined. If you are injured in an accident, you could file a claim for compensation to the insurance company of the driver at fault. But remember that you are not their client — and they will most likely try to trick you into accepting a poor settlement or find ways to lower their client’s liability to avoid offering a higher compensation amount. This is where a personal injury lawyer comes in handy.
If You Need Help, Contact an Accident Attorney in California
Even though we need to be on top of our insured vehicles, in case anything ever happens to ourselves or our property, just settling for what insurance companies offer or cover is not enough to truly compensate for the damages a car accident might cause.
That is why you should always call a personal injury attorney in case of an accident. It has been proven that involving an attorney in your accident claim will get you better settlement amounts, better handling of property damage claims, and access to doctors and treatment.
Our expert California personal injury attorneys are here to help you with any type of legal claim against a negligent individual or party that caused you harm. We are available 24/7. Contact us or call us at (844) 824-2955. The best part is that you do not have to pay us a cent! No Fees Unless We Win! We speak English and Spanish.