Car insurance is technical due to the fact that it is a legally binding document and every aspect of your car insurance policy has been thoroughly challenged in the court system. By understanding car insurance terminology and concepts, you can buy California car insurance with confidence and already save some money along the way.
California Car Insurance Policy Terminology 101
- Liability Limits – This is the part of the policy that shows how much protection your have in the case of either a bodily injury or character damage accident. In California, the state requires a minimum of $15,000 for injury or death to one person, $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to character. Your car insurance policy may state 15/30/5 limits or if you have greater limits, they may read 100/300/100 or 250/500/100 or many other variations. If you do not carry liability insurance, your drivers license may be suspended, your means registration may be suspended, you may be ticketed, your means may be impounded and in the case of an accident, you will be personally liable to compensate for any damages you caused.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage (UM/UIM) – This car insurance coverage is commonly misunderstood by consumers and is an important part of your California car insurance policy. If another driver causes an accident that you are injured in, and they carry low liability limits or worse, no insurance at all, your UM/UIM coverage will kick in to pay for your medical bills. This is coverage for YOU, not the other driver.
- Medical Payment or Personal Injury Protection Coverage – This coverage is considered “no-fault” coverage and pays for medical expenses of you or your passengers in your car. What most consumers don’t know, is that this coverage may apply if you are injured as a pedestrian or while entering or exiting a means.
- Comprehensive or Other-than-Collision Coverage – This coverage protects your means for damage from anything other than collision with another means or object. The exception is a collision with a bird or animal, which falls under comprehensive coverage. Examples of covered claims are hail, fire or flood.
- Collision Coverage – This coverage pays for damage to your means when it hits, or is hit by, another means or object. If you are involved in a car accident, your collision coverage is the protection that will pay to repair your means.
- Roadside Assistance or Towing Coverage – Insurance companies use different descriptions for this coverage, and benefits may differ between carriers. This coverage will provide reimbursement if your means needs towed or other roadside assistance such as a flat tire.
- Rental Reimbursement – In the event that your means is damaged and is required to be in the repair shop, this coverage will pay for a rental means for you to excursion. Limits are usually stated on a daily basis and a total limit, such as 30/600, which would provide coverage at $30 per day up to a limit of $600.
- Deductible – This is the amount that you choose to pay before the insurance company will pay any amount for comprehensive or collision claims. Deductibles allow you to lower your California car insurance premiums by choosing a higher deductible.
These are the most shared terms found on your California Car Insurance policy. Each car insurance company has their own additional features and benefits that are rare to their policy, so it is important to read your policy and understand what coverages you truly have. By understanding the basics of how your California car insurance policy works and the coverages provided, you can buy California car insurance with confidence and make sure you get the coverage you need at the price you can provide.