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Protecting yourself from uninsured drivers in California

The odds of being hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver in California are not in your favor. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that approximately 15 percent of drivers in California are uninsured, as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists claims to all claims for bodily injury.

A much higher percentage carry the minimum bodily injury coverage, which in California is $15,000 per person or $30,000 for all persons injured in an accident. $15,000 will not even pay for one night in a hospital. There are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Buy the most UM/UIM insurance you can

When you last bought auto insurance, your insurance agent probably did not try to sell you a higher level of uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Insurance companies are required to provide it, but most will try to sell the minimum amount. Why? They know how many uninsured and underinsured drivers are out there.

Your liability and UM/UIM insurance should be the same amount, and that amount should be enough to protect your family if you are involved in a serious accident. UM/UIM is a bargain for what you get. If the driver who injured you does not have insurance or does not have enough to pay for your damages, your UM/UIM will kick in and pay for your losses. UM/UIM also covers you:

  • If you are injured by a hit and run driver
  • If you are injured by someone driving a stolen car or driving a car without permission
  • If you are struck by a car while you are riding a bike or walking.

It's important to get legal help when resolving a UM/UIM claim. Your insurance company may try to pay you less that you should receive. It could also deny your claim if you make an error.

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Head On vehicle collision with U. S. Border Patrol Agent. Result: $3,650,000

Dog Attack on USPS mail carrier. Result: $600,000. Dog owner’s insurance and the insurance company for the landlord of the dog owner each paid policy limits

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