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AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE EXPLAINED

97Christian Accident Attorney10

Below is a clear and simple explanation of automobile insurance coverage in California.

Definitions:

"Deductible" means the amount of money you agree to pay to help repair or replace your car if you have a claim covered on your insurance policy.  You pay the deductible, and the insurance company pays the balance.

"Policy Limits" means the maximum amount that the insurance company will pay for a claim by you or another against your policy. 

Caveat:
The descriptions below are general or typical coverage descriptions.  But specific terms and provisions in insurance policies may vary from the descriptions below.

Type of Coverage Protection Provided Vehicles Covered Persons Covered Required or Optional?

Other  Information
Bodily Injury Liability
The items listed below are payable to other people involved in an accident which are caused by your or a covered person's  negligence:

-Medical costs

-Loss of income

-Funeral costs 

-Pain and suffering



-Vehicle(s) listed on policy declaration;

-Any car you rent or borrow.

-You (Policy Holder);

-Resident at your home with driver's license;

-Anyone you give permission to use your car.
CA law requires you to have at least $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident coverage.

But you may elect to pay for higher coverage amounts.


Your insurance company will also pay to retain attorney of their choice defend you in the event of a lawsuit.

Your insurance company is responsible to pay up to the "policy limits" of coverage.

Any recovery above the policy limits will be the responsibility of the negligent driver (and/or in some cases the owner).
Property Damage Liability
The items listed below are payable to other people involved in an accident which are caused by your or a covered person's negligence:

-Repair or replace vehicle

-Rental cost while car is being repaired or evaluated.

-Vehicle(s) listed on policy declaration;

-Any car you rent or borrow.
-You (Policy Holder);

-Resident at your home with driver's license;

-Anyone you give permission to use your car.
CA law requires you to have at least $5,000 per accident coverage.

But you may elect to pay for higher coverage amounts.
Insurance company will also pay to retain attorney of their choice defend you in the event of a lawsuit.

Your insurance company is responsible to pay up to the "policy limits" of coverage.

Any recovery above the policy limits will be the responsibility of the negligent driver (and/or in some cases the owner).
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage
(UM / UIM)
Pays bodily injury related and property damage caused by negligence of another who is uninsured or underinsured (and might also apply if you are a pedestrian struck by a car).

Sometimes there is separate coverage for UM/UIM property damage.



Optional but highly recommended in most cases
Recommended to have at a minimum $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident, but, in most cases, coverage ought to be substantially higher.

Purchasing UM / UIM coverage is typically relatively inexpensive.

Medical Payments
Can help pay some of your medical costs or funeral expenses if you or anyone in your vehicle is injured in an accident (or if you are a pedestrian struck by a car)



-Many companies use an excess coverage language wherein they pay only what your health insurance does not pay.

-Limited to the reasonable medical costs and services reasonably necessary incurred within a certain time-frame (example within 1 year after the accident date)
Collision Coverage
Pays for damage or loss to your car if you collide with another car or something else (example, building, tree, etc.), or if your car is struck by another vehicle while parked.




Optional but  recommended in most cases For such coverage, you may be responsible to pay a "deductible" amount that you selected.
Comprehensive Coverage
Pays for damage or loss to your car caused by something other than a collision (examples: theft, vandalism, fire, adverse weather, striking  an animal).


Optional  but recommended in many cases For such coverage, you may be responsible to pay a "deductible" amount that you selected.
Rental Reimbursement
Pays or reimburses you for rental car costs while car is in the repair shop being repaired; often limited to 30 days maximum.


Optional

Towing and Labor  Costs
Reimburses you for towing and basic roadside assistance expenses if you are stranded on the roadway.



Optional

Disclaimer: The above is general information whose accuracy is not guaranteed, is not legal advice, and is not insurance purchasing advice.  Insurance policies are complex.  The above is a simplified explanation of insurance coverages.  Other coverage types not listed above may also be available.  Laws change frequently which may make certain statements herein obsolete or no longer accurate.  Therefore, don't rely on the information above in making final determinations regarding purchasing auto insurance.  But consult with an experienced and knowledgeable insurance professional for advice and to tailor a coverage plan that is suitable, beneficial and adequate protection for your situation and financial status.  Further, this article is limited to discussion about coverage for individuals, not businesses.   See also further disclaimer.

Contact Christian accident lawyer, Matthew B. Tozer for a free consultation.

Related article: Vehicle Insurance Property Damage Claims

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