California requires that you carry liability insurance on your vehicle. To legally drive, you need proof that you have coverage in case you wreck someone else’s vehicle or cause them significant injuries.
You have probably been paying for insurance since you were old enough to start driving your parents’ car back in high school. You likely even invest in coverage well beyond the very minimal basic policy that California law mandates. More coverage helps protect your assets and your future income from claims related to a wreck.
Unfortunately, you can still have a lot of financial risk if a driver without insurance on their vehicle crashes into you.
Uninsured drivers are everywhere in California
Although the state mandates insurance, many people drive around without enough coverage to fully protect themselves. Choosing just to pay for the minimum policy required by law could mean that there are thousands of dollars in vehicle damages or medical expenses that the policy won’t cover. As if that weren’t concerning enough, there are also many drivers out on the roads without any insurance at all.
According to insurance industry information from 2019, over 16% of drivers in California do not have insurance on their vehicles. These drivers pass the costs for their bad decisions on to you in two different ways.
You pay more for insurance
Every driver has to absorb a little bit of the costs that come from people without coverage. Many drivers protect themselves by paying extra for uninsured and underinsured motorist protection. This additional coverage limits your financial losses in a crash caused by a driver without enough insurance.
You won’t have to pay much compared to the overall cost of your policy, but you still do incur extra costs protecting yourself from these irresponsible individuals. In fact, pretty much everyone has to pay a little bit more in insurance because of all of the uninsured drivers.
You are the one with the medical and car repair bills
When an uninsured driver causes a crash, the people that they hurt won’t get the compensation that they deserve. Unless they carry extra insurance or pursue civil litigation against the uninsured driver, they will be the ones left with a big bill to repair their vehicle or weeks of lost wages.
Taking legal action against an uninsured driver requires patience, as court proceedings take time, but it can protect you by holding someone else accountable for the thousands of dollars in losses you have suffered due to a crash. Learning more about insurance and liability rules can help you take the right steps after a motor vehicle collision hurts you or damages your vehicle.