Do You Have Full Protection With Your Automobile Insurance Coverage?

Even though everyone is required to carry auto insurance in California, few people understand what amount of coverage they should be carrying or why.

The first task is to understand the general types of auto insurance coverages, then we can start to understand what you and your family might need.

A typical auto insurance policy breaks down coverage into:

• Bodily Injury Liability
• Property Damage
• Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury Coverage
• Medical Payments
• Collision
• Comprehensive

The best way to understand these types of coverage is by breaking them down into 3rd party and 1st party coverages. 3rd party coverages cover other persons and their vehicles when you are at fault in an accident. 1st party coverage covers you, those in your vehicle, and your vehicle in the event of an accident. So now let's breakdown the coverages again.

3rd party coverage - covers other people

• Bodily Injury Liability
• Property Damage

1st party coverage - covers you and your passengers

• Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury Coverage
• Medical Payments
• Collision
• Comprehensive

Bodily Injury Coverage

This covers a claim for injury or death to others, when you cause an accident. This will cover their medical bills, income loss, pain and suffering or any other damages you can be legally liable for to others for injuries or death caused by you in an auto accident. California, like most states, requires a certain minimum amount of bodily injury coverage. In California that minimum is $15,000/$30,000 which means $15,000 per person, up to $30,000 per incident.

Property Damage Coverage

This covers the claims for damage to other people's property caused by you in an auto accident.

Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury Coverage

This covers the claims for injury or death for you, your family, and those in your car in the situation where the other person that caused the accident does not have adequate insurance to cover your losses. This will cover your medical bills, income loss, pain and suffering or any other damages for injuries or death suffered by you, your family, or your passengers as a result of an auto accident.

This is perhaps the single most important insurance coverage, as it is the only one that protects you and your family or your passengers. This even covers you and the family members living with you, if you are injured in an accident in someone else's car or as pedestrians hit by a car. The number one rule of buying insurance coverage is that you are planning for the worst, and that means not relying upon others to cover you.

Remember those state minimum bodily injury coverages? California only requires a minimum of $15,000 per person. ER bills can easily reach $20,000-$30,000, then add ongoing treatment, income loss, and pain and suffering and you can easily exhaust the $15,000 per person limit.

Medical Payments

This covers the claims for medical treatment caused by an auto accident regardless of who is at fault. This is some of the most under-rated insurance coverage that everyone should have. It's one of the least expensive ways to add coverage for you, your family, and your passengers.

Collision

This covers the damage to your car caused by an auto accident.

Comprehensive

This covers the damage to your car caused by anything except an auto accident such as a theft, vandalism, etc.

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