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What all California drivers need to know about policy limits

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The total cost of a car crash could be anywhere from a few hundred dollars in property damage expenses to hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. The kinds of vehicles involved, the speed of the vehicles and numerous other factors will determine how much a crash actually costs.

People often assume that car insurance will take care of them following a collision, but many people learn that there isn’t enough insurance after a crash. Drivers in California need to understand policy limits and how the state requirements can leave them without the financial support they need.

Inadequate coverage is a serious financial risk

Policy limits reduce how much you can receive, regardless of how much a crash eventually costs you. When someone purchases liability insurance coverage, they pay for the insurance company to provide up to a maximum amount of coverage.

California requires both property damage and bodily injury liability coverage. However, drivers only need to have $5,000 in coverage to repair damaged property and just $15,000 per person or $30,000 per crash in bodily injury coverage. Drivers who only carry what the state requires may not have nearly enough insurance given the expenses the crash generates.

It won’t matter what your total costs are if those fences are higher than the policy limits. The insurance company will never pay more than the maximum coverage available given the terms of someone’s policy. You have no control over how much insurance another driver has on their vehicle, but you can add more protection to your own policy.

Underinsured motorist protection and collision or comprehensive coverage can help pay for some of your costs after a crash. While it would be best to recover as much as possible from the other driver’s policy, it can absolutely benefit you to have additional coverage on your own policy in case the person at fault for the crash has very little insurance.

In a situation where a wreck leaves you with catastrophic injuries or makes your vehicle unsafe to drive, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver whose coverage isn’t adequate. Knowing how insurance works after a California car wreck can make getting the benefits you require a little easier.