Getting your car insured is a necessity among all automobile owners not only in California but in the entire United States of America. The purpose of it is to serve as a financial aid which will cover certain bills and fees for you in case of a road accident. Medical bills, car repair payments, or legal fees are some of the monetary aid that auto insurance covers.
Meanwhile, California imposed certain standards for auto insurance, one of which is the Insurance Code 11580.1b. The statute basically states that 15/30/5 is the minimum liability insurance requirement in the state. That is:
- $15,000 for one injured/deceased individual;
- $30,000 for two or more injured/deceased individuals; and
- $5,000 for damage to property.
Keep in mind that these fees will be reimbursed to the innocent party, not to the driver who caused the accident even if he/she was also injured by the event. Likewise, it also excludes individuals who were in the offending party's vehicle even if they were also injured in the event. There is a separate kind of insurance that will cover the expenses of the at-fault drivers.
It is also essential to emphasize that this is only the minimum standard set by the law. There are instances where the medical bills or the car repair payments exceed the coverage of the defendant's liability insurance. In fact, the average auto liability claim was found to be around $15,443 -- almost half a thousand dollars more than the legal minimum. In that case, the driver will be forced to take funds out of his/her own pocket to compensate for the rest of the bills or charges.
Now, let us expand the 15/30/5 insurance in a more in-depth discussion. Let's say you crashed into someone else's vehicle because you did not step on the brakes soon enough. The driver of the damaged car sustained multiple non-fatal injuries which will cost up to $10,500. Your insurance will only pay the exact amount to the injured party even if it is lower than the limit of your insurance. However, if the medical bills total up to $20,000, you will have to pay the other $5,000. Meanwhile, let's say the other driver had three passengers on board and all of them sustained non-fatal injuries. Most people mistakenly believe that their insurance will pay $15,000 each person, but if you only have a 15/30/5 type of liability insurance, then only $30,000 will be covered regardless of the number of the passengers involved (given that the number is more than two). Finally, only a maximum amount of $5,000 can be offered to the other party to pay for the property damages. If the car repair payments exceed this amount, then you will also have to cover the rest of the amount.
Obviously, there are other insurance companies that offer more than the standard 15/30/5. If you can afford anything higher than that, then go for it as it would also be for your best interests.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
The law would not care about the type of insurance you have as long as it complies with the requirements of the law. But if you drive in California without any auto insurance or one that does not meet the specifications of the state, here are the possible penalties:
- A fine between $100 and $200 for a first offense;
- A fine between $200 and $500 for a second offense; and
- Have your vehicle impounded or towed away.
Other fees and sentences may be added on top of the aforementioned penalties if the driver violates a separate ordinance. For example, the driver hits a pedestrian and fails to present any insurance to the responding police officer. In this case, the driver violates both Insurance Code 11580.1b and Penal Code PC 20002.
Get Legal Assistance from California Defense Lawyers
The calculation of how a person's injury is worth is mostly processed in personal injury courts. The unfortunate reality, however, the fact that there are some personal injury attorneys who exacerbate the actual fees and most of the time, it is far too heavy for the other party's budget. To prevent that from happening, California defense lawyers at The Office of Raoul Severo are ready to offer you their expertise and quality service. Ask legal assistance today.
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