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Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage If I Have Health Insurance?

Two Angry Motorists Arguing Over Responsibility For Car Accident

Car insurance is expensive.  Even the minimum coverage required by law can cost California drivers thousands of dollars a year.  It is, however, a necessary evil.  Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is meant to cover accidents with someone who has violated the law by driving without the appropriate insurance coverage.  We recently discussed how your rates might be affected when you are forced to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your insurance.  But do you actually need uninsured motorist coverage?  Is it enough to rely on your health insurance for these sorts of accidents?  Continue reading for a discussion of uninsured motorist coverage, and reach out to a seasoned Pasadena car accident lawyer if you’ve been injured in a car accident in Los Angeles.

California minimum insurance requirements

All drivers on California roadways are legally required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance.  California law requires the following minimum coverage:

  • $15,000 for the death or injury of one person
  • $30,000 total coverage for the death or injury of multiple people in a single accident
  • $5,000 for damage to another person’s property

California law also requires car insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage, but drivers can choose to sign a waiver indicating they do not want uninsured motorist coverage.  The baseline uninsured motorist policies track the 15/30/5 model of the minimum regular car insurance coverage.  California drivers are thus not legally obligated to carry uninsured motorist coverage, but we still recommend that you do so.

Uninsured motorist coverage is still a good idea

Even though California law allows drivers to get around uninsured motorist coverage, it is still highly recommended.  Health insurance coverage has several key limitations that could leave you insufficiently covered after an accident with an uninsured driver.

First of all, your health insurance may be tied to your employment.  You could quit or lose your job and suddenly find yourself uninsured.  It is good to have full car insurance coverage as a fallback in case you get into an accident during a period where you lack coverage.

Secondly, health insurance coverage is limited to medical bills.  Health insurance will not cover your wages lost as a result of missing work due to an accident.  Moreover, uninsured motorist coverage will compensate you for pain and suffering to account for the additional damages you could sue the at-fault driver for if they had appropriate coverage.  Health insurance, again, does not, nor does health insurance cover the damage to your vehicle or other property, which can easily range into the thousands.  Health insurance also often carries high co-pays or deductibles before you get to the covered amounts, which you can avoid through uninsured motorist coverage.

We highly recommend that you carry uninsured motorist insurance and more than the minimum required liability insurance.  Any accident that sends someone to the hospital is likely to cost well more than $15,000 in medical expenses alone.  Even though it is more expensive up front, you do not want to face a situation where you owe hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of injury to yourself or someone else and your choice to limit your coverage.

Call Pasadena Car Accident Attorney Andrew Ritholz

If you’ve been injured in a California traffic accident, consult with an attorney who understands your rights and can represent your claim for damages thoroughly and expertly.  Contact Pasadena traffic accident lawyer Andrew Ritholz for a free case evaluation at 626-844-7102.

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