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Are You Prepared For An Accident With An Uninsured Motorist?

Posted by Denis Zilberberg
Filed in Car Accident

If you drive on the highways and byways in California, you should be aware of who else is driving on the same roads and what could happen if you should get into an accident.

California has the most licensed drivers of any state in the US. The Golden State also has the poorest road conditions and the worst traffic congestion. Add to that, it is estimated over 4 million of the state’s drivers are driving without insurance.

That means if you get into an automobile accident and an uninsured motorist is responsible, your own insurance is the only available coverage. If you don’t carry uninsured motorist coverage you could find yourself paying out of pocket for your injuries and property damage.

At the Law Office of John B. Richards, our Santa Barbara uninsured car accident attorney has helped hundreds of clients involved in uninsured motor vehicle accidents recover from their insurance companies as well as the uninsured motorist.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage in California

Uninsured motorist coverage provides coverage for you in the event that the motorist responsible for causing an accident does not have adequate insurance to pay for the damage to your vehicle and any medical treatment you may require.

Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist coverage is not mandatory in California.  When you purchase your auto insurance you must be given the opportunity to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and if you do not want to buy it you must sign a form declining the coverage.  Basically, you are saying that you are assuming the risk that a motorist you may be involved in an accident with has no insurance.

Why Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Insurance is a Good Idea

In 2018, California had just over 27 million licensed drivers – 10 million more than second-place Texas.   Of those drivers, 15.2% are estimated to drive without automobile insurance.

Even if a motorist does carry the minimum insurance limits, they may be woefully inadequate to cover your medical expenses and car repairs in today’s dollars. The minimum liability insurance limits for private passenger vehicles are:

  • $15,000 per person for injury/death
  • $30,000 for all people for injury/death
  • $5,000 for damage to property

If you decide to purchase UM/UIM coverage, the limits for injury/death will be the same as your liability limits. The property damage coverage is limited to $3,500.  And according to, the average cost to add UM/UIM to your auto policy in California is $105 – which is pretty reasonable considering the additional coverage you are getting.

Of course, you may still try to recover from the uninsured/underinsured motorist for your damages but someone who resorts to driving illegally or without adequate insurance probably doesn’t have much else to compensate you with.

What to Do if You Are in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

If you are in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist you may be dealing with your own insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, and the other driver if you end up filing a personal injury lawsuit.  That is a lot to manage during what is often a very stressful time.

At the Law Office of John B. Richards, our Santa Barbara uninsured car accident lawyer has a proven track record of negotiating the best possible settlements for clients involved in accidents with uninsured motorists. Contact us for your free consultation today by clicking here or calling 805-683-2736.


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