How much uninsured motorist insurance coverage should I get?
I’ve discussed in detail why you should get uninsured motorist insurance coverage to make sure that you're covered if you're hit by somebody who is either uninsured or doesn't have much liability insurance coverage. Another important thing to think about is the amount of your uninsured motorist insurance coverage. I recommend at a minimum that you get $100,000 in UM coverage. Note that you will be required to carry equal or higher liability coverage compared to the uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage you get.
California doesn't even require that you carry any uninsured motorist insurance coverage.
And, California only requires that people carry $15,000 worth of liability insurance. California doesn't even require that you carry any uninsured motorist coverage, and only requires that people carry $15,000 worth of liability insurance.
California's average cost of living is one of the highest in the country, and our required liability limits are among the lowest! Even largely rural states like Idaho and Iowa boast higher minimum limits. Additionally, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley or Los Angeles, medical costs are even higher than the rest of California.
If you are in an accident, what does that $15,000 state minimum of liability insurance cover?
Well, here’s a rough estimate of costs our clients incur in their traffic accidents:
$2,500-$3,000 = Ambulance ride
$2,500-$5,000 = Emergency room visit
$500-$5,000 or more = X-rays, MRI’s or CT scans
$5,000-$25,000 or more = Surgery(s)
$5,000-10,000 PER NIGHT = Overnight hospitalization
A LOT MORE THAN $15,000!
This doesn’t even cover stuff like orthopedic follow up’s, physical therapy and prescription medications.
There's no way that somebody's $15,000 state minimum liability coverage is going to be enough to pay for the bare minimum medical needs if you are in even a moderate – let alone serious – personal injury accident. Even if you are lucky enough to get out of an accident relatively unscathed, you are still looking at around $5-10,000 just to get checked out by a qualified emergency medical professional. That is why it's important to get uninsured motorist insurance coverage at the highest possible amount you can afford. Note that your liability limits will have to be set at this same amount.
Shouldn’t my health insurance cover all of my accident-related expenses?
I understand that if you have a health insurance it should cover most of your medical expenses related to a traffic accident, however if you bring a personal injury claim, your health insurance has a contractual right to be reimbursed for anything that they covered. If you have to reimburse your health insurance out of a mere $15,000, that leaves nothing for you to compensate you for your loss of earnings and all the pain suffering and inconvenience you had to go through because someone else hurt you and caused your injuries.
Make sure you check your uninsured motorist coverage limits TODAY!
It’s easy! Just pull up your “declarations page” on your insurance company’s website, OR call your insurance agent or company and ask them to email you a cop of your “dec page.” If you have anything less than $100,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, I highly recommend you increase it. I would suggest you carry $250,000 if possible. Note that most umbrella insurance policies require $250,000 for you to be covered under the umbrella policy.
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