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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Do I Have To Buy Both?

    2 minute read

    In California, if you drive, you are required by law to carry automobile liability insurance. Unfortunately, there are a lot of law breakers out there. Especially in these tough times, more people than ever are driving without insurance. That is why it is crucial to check your own coverage and make sure you are fully protected. If you discover that you are not, we can put together a quick quote for you.

    First, here’s a breakdown of the differences between Uninsured and Underinsured coverage. Uninsured (UN) Motorist Coverage means this: If you are hit by a person driving a car that does not have insurance, your Uninsured Motorist Coverage will cover you—your injuries and in many cases, time missed from work. Underinsured (UNDER) Motorist Coverage protects you from drivers who do not carry enough insurance to cover the cost of an accident.

    In California, the law requires auto insurance companies to offer Uninsured and Underinsured coverage to every person. However, some policyholders reject the coverage. Minimum coverage in California is only $15,000 per claimant or $30,000 per bodily injury claim. Oftentimes, that’s not enough to pay for anything more than a fender-bender.

    So let’s say you are in an accident and hit by a man carrying the minimum $15,000 in liability coverage. Your car is totaled and you have injuries. If you have an UN/UNDER Bodily Injury coverage of $100,000, your policy will cover the difference from the policy limit of the guy who hit you. In other words, you will have $85,000 to cover the cost of medical bills.

    Your UN/UNDER policy would also apply if you were in a hit and run accident. A lot of drivers who do not carry insurance will typically flee the scene of an accident.

    Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage works differently.  If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage to cover the damage to your vehicle, and you’re hit by an at-fault uninsured motorist, UMPD will pay up to $3,500 to repair your car.  If you do have comprehensive and collision coverage, and are hit by an at-fault uninsured motorist, your deductible will be waived if you purchase UMPD.

    Here’s the good news: Under California insurance code, if you buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage, you will automatically get Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Adding on this type of coverage is usually inexpensive, especially when you consider all the protection and peace of mind it offers.

    This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements. The definitions, terms and coverages in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.