Partner David Fiol recently was asked to write a blog posting for United Policyholders addressing the question of whether consumers purchasing automobile insurance should select the minimum limits required under state law. The blog post can be found here. It highlights the fact that the minimum limits for automobile insurance have not been changed in most states for years, if not decades. California’s limits have never been changed since they were first enacted in the 1970s. They are woefully inadequate, and leave drivers exposed to the possibility of losing their valuable assets – even their homes. Today, a person who suffers even a modest injury such as a broken arm is likely to recover in excess of $50,000 to recover the cost of medical care, lost earnings and pain and suffering, yet the millions of drivers have coverage limits of only $15,000 per person. In such a case the injured plaintiff will look to the underinsured driver’s personal assets to make up the difference.
Many drivers (about 1 in 7) on the road today do not purchase any coverage at all. Driving without insurance is against the law, and it has serious consequences. In California, you can lose your license if you are involved in an accident and don’t have insurance, even if you were not the one at fault. Moreover, if you are seriously hurt in that accident, you will be able to sue to recover your lost earnings, but that is just about all you will receive. As punishment for driving without insurance, you lose the right to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, disfigurement, loss of function and other harms.
If you have any questions about the kinds and amounts of auto coverage you should buy, don’t be afraid to speak to your broker or insurer, and do your research on reputable web sites like that of United Policyholders.