These are tough economic times and everyone is looking to cut back on expenses,
including auto insurance expenses. Be careful how you cut costs on your
automobile insurance costs. Saving money on your auto insurance could
end up hurting you if you are involved in an accident.
Uninsured motorist coverage (also underinsured motorist coverage) and medical
payments coverage are additional coverages and are not required by California
law. However, these inexpensive coverages could end up saving you a lot
of money if you are involved in an accident. California law only requires
that drivers carry liability coverage, which protects others from your
driving mistakes. Uninsured motorist coverage and medical payments coverage
protects you and your passengers in the event of an accident caused by
someone else's driving mistake.
In general, uninsured motorist (UM) coverage applies if you are involved
in an accident with a driver who does not have auto insurance. Also, it
may apply in "hit and run" accidents under certain circumstances.
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage applies if the other driver has auto
insurance but not enough to cover your damages. These additional coverages
protect you by paying you for damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Medical payments coverage applies if you are injured in connection with
the use of a motor vehicle and must see a doctor. This coverage applies
to injuries resulting from accidents, but also any injury resulting from
the operation of a motor vehicle. For example, if you are hurt changing
a flat tire or if you get your finger caught in the car door. This type
of coverage can be especially important if you are without health insurance
or you have a very high deductible under your health insurance policy.
These coverages protect you and your passengers. These coverages are inexpensive
but they are extra. Talk to your insurance agent about them. You may be
surprised to learn that your "full coverage" policy does not
include these types of coverage.