Jeff Manos is a Personal Injury Attorney with offices in San Francisco and Redwood City

Are You Covered? How To Get The Car Insurance You Need.

1. Bodily Injury Limits

This is the coverage most people know about, probably because it is required by California law. It covers the other party's losses when you are at fault for an automobile accident.

However, you can be at risk personally if you are involved in an accident which is your fault and your bodily injury limits are not enough to cover the other party's losses.

How much bodily injury insurance is enough? This is a personal question and probably depends on what assets you have to protect.

A policy with a minimum of $100,000/300,000 in coverage should provide adequate coverage for most losses.

2. Property Damage Limits

If you are at fault for an accident, you will also want to have enough coverage for property damage you cause to another's vehicle or property.

With the high cost of repairs today, a policy with a minimum of $50,000 in coverage is generally recommended for most losses.

3. Medical Payment (Medpay) Coverage

Medpay is one of the most important and often overlooked coverages offered by automobile insurance companies.

For just pennies a day, your car insurance company will pay your medical bills when you are injured in a car accident, regardless of who was at fault.

Without Medpay, many drivers are left with no way to pay for the medical treatment they need when they are involved in a car accident.

Also, most insurance companies require that you pay them back if you recover damages from the party who caused the accident. This may sound only fair, until you consider that some insurance companies don't require that you pay them back at all!

Make sure you ask about Medpay reimbursement when you choose your car insurance.

4. Uninsured Motorist Coverage

You may be surprised to discover the alarming number of drivers who do not have any insurance at all. Yet they drive around and cause accidents all the time.

What happens if someone who is not insured hits you?

If you have uninsured motorist coverage, and the other party is at fault, your own insurance company will pay you a negotiated settlement up to your policy limits.

We strongly recommend uninsured motorist coverage with minimum limits of $100,000/300,000. This coverage typically only covers your personal injury claim and does not cover damage to your car or other property.

Many insurance companies offer a rider to include property damage as well. If you have collision coverage, you probably don't need the property damage rider, but it's something to consider.

5. Underinsured Motorist Coverage

If you are seriously injured, the other driver's bodily injury coverage may not be enough to cover your losses.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage fills the gap between the other party's insurance and your own, as long as the other party is at fault and your coverage limits are greater than the party who hit you.

Many people carry only the minimum bodily injury coverage required by California law, which is $15,000/30,000.

This may be far less than your losses due to medical treatment, time off work, and pain and suffering. That's where underinsured motorist coverage comes in.

Limits of at least $100,000/300,000 are generally advisable to cover most losses.

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