If you own and operate a vehicle in California, you should be familiar with the state’s auto insurance laws. This is not only because there are auto insurance requirements you must be in compliance with in order to legally operate your vehicle in the state, but also because, in the event of an auto accident, many of these complex laws will come into play. Here, we will discuss what auto insurance is required in California as well as an overview of some of the more relevant state insurance laws.
What Auto Insurance is Required in California?
First, it is important to be aware of the fact that California follows a fault system regarding auto accident liability. In a “fault” based system state, drivers are held financially responsible for the impacts of any car accident they are responsible for causing. Furthermore, there are minimal restrictions on those injured in the car accident when considering the pursuance of an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party. Should you be injured in a car accident in California, you can file a claim under your own insurance policy, should you have the applicable coverage. In the alternative, you may pursue a claim with the liability insurance carrier for the at-fault party or a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at fault party.
Instead of a fault system regarding auto accident liability, some states are considered “no fault states. In a no fault state, any driver injured in an auto accident must first pursue recovery through his or her own person auto insurance policy to seek coverage of expenses such as medical bills and lost wages. This is true regardless of who is at fault for causing the accident. This is why it is called a “no fault” system, because first pursuing recovery with your own insurance company should occur no matter who is at fault for the accident. In order for a person injured in an auto accident to recover beyond his or her own insurance policy, the injured party must meet threshold requirements to step out of the no-fault system and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver.
Now that we have covered a basic element of California auto insurance law, let us take a look at what type of car insurance the state required. California drivers are required to carry liability coverage in the amount of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. Additionally, drivers must carry $5,000 in property damage coverage. Liability insurance provides coverage for parties involved in a crash that have been injured. Property damage coverage will pay for property damage incurred.
These are only the minimum coverage amounts and you should feel free to expand on your insurance policy coverage should you feel it would be prudent to do so. Optional coverage may include personal injury protection (PIP) or MedPay that can be used to cover your expenses should you be at fault or not at fault in causing a car accident. You may also want to consider uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage which could prove valuable if you are seriously injured by a person without insurance limits adequate to cover the extent of the harm you incurred.
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SoCal Injury Lawyers are here to provide you with dedicated legal counsel on all matters related to personal injury and auto accident law. Feel free to get in touch with us with any questions you may have. Contact us today.