California Lawyer: Auto Insurance Coverage
People assume an auto insurance broker is a professional, and rely on the broker’s advice when choosing coverage. Unfortunately, the broker is more frequently interested in earning the highest possible commission than in selling the best policy for the customer’s needs.
What does “full coverage” mean?
Unless you ask the right questions, the broker may not describe all provisions available, what each provision actually provides, why you need it or don’t need it, and how much coverage you should carry. In the broker’s mind, “full coverage” may be very close to minimum coverage.
Uninsured motorist policy coverage
California law requires your auto insurance policy to include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage unless you specifically, in writing, decline it. Yet this is one of the elements commonly missing from a car insurance policy. You will face underinsured drivers every day on the road, yet your insurance agent, in an effort to underbid the competition, may fail to inform you of the benefits involved in this important coverage. For more information, see The Answers to Six Important Questions About Your Automobile Insurance Policy
Medical payment (med pay) auto insurance coverage
Medical payment (similar to personal injury protection) provisions in your car insurance policy pay for medical expenses from your own injuries, and injuries to others in your vehicle. A catastrophic injury will quickly exhaust a minimum med pay allowance. Personal injury lawyers suggest carrying the maximum medical payment coverage your policy allows. In combination with your health insurance this will help cover medical expenses from a serious accident.
Health or med pay — which insurance should you use first?
If you have been injured in a car accident, turn your bills in to your health insurance provider first. Even if you later get a settlement and have to reimburse your carrier, your lawyer will be in a better position to negotiate an arrangement that will maximize your actual compensation.