Getting a new car is an exciting feeling. With it comes the responsibility of insuring your motor vehicle. But what happens when you are in an accident with another motorist who is at fault and does not have an insurance policy which covers your losses or medical expenses incurred by the accident? Even worse, how can you protect yourself when you are involved in an accident when the driver who is at fault does not have insurance at all?
Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Coverage is a type of insurance coverage that you would purchase with your insurance provider in order to protect yourself in situations like these.
Insurance Coverage Minimums in California
If you own and operate a motor vehicle, you know that at the time that you purchased your car, you were required to purchase insurance along with it. Insurance provides protection from costs associated with accidents including costs for damages to physical property as well as any physical injuries you or your passengers may incur.
In California, motorists are required by law to have the following insurance coverages in case they are involved in an accident where they are at fault:
- $15,000 coverage for bodily injuries or death per person
- $30,000 coverage for total bodily injuries or death per accident, and
- $5,000 coverage for property damage to the other vehicle
Insurance Coverage Minimums in Nevada
By contrast, as of July 2018 in Nevada, the regular motorist is required by law to have the following insurance coverages for accidents that they are involved in where they are at fault:
- $25,000 coverage for bodily injuries per person
- $50,000 coverage for total bodily injuries per accident, and
- $20,000 coverage for property damage
In many instances, even having satisfied the minimum insurance requirements may not be enough coverage in the case of an accident for some people. In addition, motorists are not required by law in either California or Nevada to purchase insurance that would protect them if they were hit by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Although the insurance payouts may not cover damages suffered from uninsured motorists, victims may still be able to recover compensation for their damages suffered with the help of a personal injury lawyer.
Protecting yourself against Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists
While there are insurance companies who offer higher coverage limits in exchange for paying higher premiums, some if not many motorists in California and Nevada are not able to pay the premiums associated with having the minimum insurance coverage required by law.
In this case, these individuals become uninsured/underinsured motorists, who, when are involved in an accident where they are the ones at fault can create a dangerous situation for yourself and your family. In addition, there are also individuals who cannot afford or choose not to purchase insurance, yet still operate motor vehicles.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Insurance Coverage
However, there is a solution. Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist (UI/UIM) coverage is a type of insurance coverage offered by insurance providers in both California and Nevada. This coverage is designed to protect you and your passengers if you are involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault and either (1) does not have insurance (uninsured motorist) or, (2) does not have enough insurance coverage (underinsured motorist) to pay all of the losses which you incur to your property, or medical costs to you and your passengers.
Many uninsured or underinsured motorists may not have adequate assets in order to collect adequate damages. In addition, in the case of inadequate coverage for medical expenses by insurance companies, some motorists may ask themselves why they should purchase UI/UIM insurance if they and their passengers have access to healthcare. However, not all healthcare providers will cover all treatments associated with injuries received in car accidents such as chiropractor care.
UI/UIM Policy Coverage in California
In California, drivers are not able to collect for injuries that were caused by UI/UIM when this amount is more than the amount of the insured’s policy limit.
In this case, California allows their motorists to purchase insurance coverage which is equal to their coverage they have if they are involved in an accident where they would be at fault.
If a California motorist would like to have more insurance coverage than the maximum UI/UIM coverage available in California, then motorists are also able to purchase umbrella policies. However, since this type of coverage is not mandatory, most California motorists actually elect to waive UI/UIM insurance.
UI/UIM Policy Coverage in Nevada
In Nevada, drivers who purchase UI/UIM coverage through their insurance companies are able to collect for the cost of all damages which are caused by uninsured/ underinsured motorists.
When purchasing UI/UIM insurance in Nevada, both of these types of coverage are included together. For example, if you are purchasing insurance to protect yourself against an uninsured motorist, then you are automatically also purchasing coverage to protect yourself against an underinsured motorist.
In both California and Nevada, motorists are offered the option to purchase an optional form of insurance called “Medical Payments Insurance Coverage” which would cover physical injuries for you and your passengers regardless of who is at fault. This type of insurance would also cover you if you are the passenger in another vehicle that is struck.
However, this can present problems as the maximum coverage can usually be very low. In Nevada, the maximum coverage is only $10,000. By contrast, In California, motorists can purchase insurance that will cover up to $1,000 worth of medical expenses. As medical procedures and costs associated with accidents can be costly, these coverages are usually not enough to make sure that your loved ones are insured and cared for in the case of being involved in an accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist in either California or Nevada.
If you or someone you know find yourself in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist and did not elect to purchase UI/UIM insurance, an experienced auto accident lawyer could help you recover costs associated with this accident.
Many times, motorists feel unsure of how to proceed in situations like these, as they may feel like they have exhausted all of their options. However, our experienced personal injury attorneys possess the qualifications and experience needed to review and handle these cases.
Heidari Law Group can help you recover expenses incurred if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Whether you’re in California or Nevada, Heidari Law Group will be there to assist you. Heidari Law Group also has offices in Fresno, California, Sacramento, California, Los Angeles, California, Irvine, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada. Call for a free case evaluation today!
***Disclaimer: This blog is created by Heidari Law Group for educational purposes. This article provides a general understanding of the law. It does not provide specific advice. By using this site and reading through this blog, there is no attorney-client relationship created between you and any member of Heidari Law. Further, due to the constant change of the law, some parts of the information above may no longer be good law.