Protection from uninsured motorists in the state of California

Uninsured motorists are a problem in California, but there are steps that drivers can take to ensure they are protected.

With few exceptions, California state law requires that motorists maintain auto insurance coverage. However, many drivers are uninsured, or underinsured, despite the law. A study recently conducted by Wallethub.com estimated that 14.7 percent of all California motorists are not insured. If uninsured motorists are involved in a collision, it could leave those who are injured without the assistance they need. Generally, California drivers cannot know for certain that other motorists are insured. However, there are measures they can take to help protect themselves from uninsured drivers.

Know the state's laws

In order to help protect themselves from uninsured drivers, it is important for California motorists to understand the state's laws. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers in the state must have liability insurance for any vehicle operated or parked on the state's roadways. The minimum requirements are $15,000 for the injury, or death, of one person and $30,000 for the injury, or death, of more than one person. Additionally, they must carry liability coverage of $5,000 for damage to property. Failing to comply with the state's insurance requirements could leave the liable party financially responsible for damages resulting from collisions.

Obtain additional coverage

Beyond maintaining the state's minimum auto insurance requirements, drivers may also consider adding uninsured motorist coverage to their policies. Many motor vehicle insurance companies offer this type of coverage to help protect motorists from underinsured or uninsured drivers. With this added protection, the damages, including medical expenses, resulting from auto accidents may be covered, even if an uninsured driver is at fault.

Document everything

It is generally a good idea to document everything following a motor vehicle accident. This can be particularly true when the collision involves a negligent driver without insurance, in case legal action is required. It is generally a good idea to get the contact information for any witnesses to the collision, as well as for any other motorists who were involved. Drivers may find it helpful to take pictures of the involved vehicles and the scene following an accident. It is also advisable to obtain a copy of law enforcement's auto accident report.

Drive defensively

One of the best things that motorists can do to protect themselves from uninsured drivers is to avoid being in an accident. Although not all collisions can be prevented, practicing cautious, defensive driving may help. This can include avoiding distractions, which may take motorists' attention away from the task of safely driving. It is also important for drivers to watch other vehicles on the roads. When another motorist is driving unsafely or erratically, it is typically best to let them pass or move into another lane.

Seek legal counsel

It can be difficult for auto accident victims in California to obtain damages, especially when the at-fault driver does not have insurance. People who have experienced this type of situation may find it of benefit to seek legal counsel and representation. An attorney may explain their rights and options, and help them determine how best to proceed.

Keywords: uninsured, underinsured, motorist, accident