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Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California: What You Need to Know


Auto insurance is necessary as it helps pay for injuries or property damage that can occur when you own and drive a vehicle in California. Under California law, you must carry auto insurance in case you are involved in an accident and injure someone else or damage their property.

The California law states that all drivers and vehicle owners must always be able to prove financial responsibility, plus they must carry proof of financial responsibility in their vehicle at all times. If you do not carry automobile liability insurance, you can be fined, your driver's license can be suspended, and the authorities can impound your vehicle.

Liability Coverage In California

Under California law, you are required to carry liability coverage, which helps pay for injuries and damage to others when you are the at-fault driver. Liability coverage does not pay for any injuries that you sustain, or to people in your family, however, you can purchase medical payments coverage in order to cover you and your family members.

Minimum liability limits in California:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for property damage

Uninsured Motorist Coverage/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

In addition to liability coverage, we highly recommend taking out uninsured motorist coverage (UMC)/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). This coverage kicks in when you are involved in an accident with a driver who is uninsured, or who is underinsured.

In California, all insurance companies are required to offer all policy holders UMC/UIM coverage. If you choose not to buy it, then you must sign a waiver stating that you were offered the coverage and elected to turn it down.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage. This pays for accidents when the other driver is at fault and does not have liability insurance, or has insufficient insurance coverage.

The bodily injury aspect of this coverage pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers, while the property damage coverage pays for the repairs to your vehicle that were not covered by collision coverage up to $3,500. However, this may not be necessary if you have collision coverage.

If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured or an underinsured driver, it important to understand your rights to compensation. Contact the Law Offices of Dean Petrulakis to schedule a free case evaluation with a Modesto personal injury attorney today!