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Oxnard & Ventura Personal Injury Attorneys

Do you understand auto insurance coverage?

car accident insurance


Anyone that owns or operates a motor vehicle is required by law to have auto insurance. This protects other drivers on the road as well as yourself. However, most people don’t take the time to understand the different types of coverage and how they affect you. It is absolutely critical to understand these basic principles.

The current minimum auto insurance coverage in California is:

  • $15,000.00 for bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000.00 for bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000.00 for property damage per accident

Starting January 1, 2025, these minimums will increase to:

  • $30,000.00 for bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000.00 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $15,000.00 for property damage liability per accident

This change is a good thing for anyone on the road although it does not happen without additional cost. For a detailed discussion of this change please see our Blog dated January 9, 2024 on our website at

The above coverages are the basics and we take this opportunity to talk about different types of coverage and why they are important.

  1. Collision Coverage:

Collision insurance is designed to cover damages to your vehicle resulting from a collision with another vehicle or an object, such as a tree or guardrail. Whether the accident is your fault of another driver’s, collision coverage helps pay for the repair or replacement of your car. This is extremely important because it covers your losses. If the other party does not have adequate limits this will protect you.

  1. Comprehensive Coverage:

Comprehensive insurance protects against non-collision related events. This includes:

  • Theft. Coverage for the theft of your vehicle.
  • Vandalism. Protection against damages caused by vandalism.
  • Natural Disasters. Coverage for damage caused by events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and hailstorms.
  • Fire. Protection against damages resulting from a fire.
  • Falling Objects. Coverage for damages caused by objects falling onto your vehicle, such as tree branches or debris.
  1. Liability Coverage:

This has two main components:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: Covers medical expenses, lost wages, and legal fees if you are at fault in an accident that injures another person. This is the coverage that is listed above with a $15,000.00 current minimum that increases to $30,000.00 in January of 2025. It is important to remember that if you cause injuries that have a value in excess of your limits you will be personally responsible for those damages. The higher your limits the more you protect yourself and your assets.
  • Property Damage Liability: Pays for damages to another person’s property, such as their car or other structures like fences or buildings, when you are at fault. Again, the higher your limit the more you are protected. If you total an expensive Ferrari and your limit is $2,000.00 you may very well be responsible for paying the remaining damages.
  1. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage:

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you are involved in an accident with a driver either does not have insurance or when the other driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover your damages. This is a very important type of coverage and you should make sure your limits are as high as you can possibly afford.

An example would be that you are involved in an accident and sustain serious injuries. If the other at fault driver has the current minimal policy you would only be covered through that persons insurance up to $15,000.00 even if your medical bills are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you had uninsured/underinsurance coverage you would be additionally protected up to your limits. If your uninsured/underinsured limits were $100,000.00, you would subtract the $15,000.00 from the other driver and you would have an additional $85,000.00 worth of coverage.

  1. Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay):

MedPay coverage helps pay for medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of who is at fault. It can cover costs such as hospital visits, surgeries, and X-rays, supplementing health insurance and PIP coverage.

  1. Gap Insurance:

Gap Insurance is particularly useful for those who have financed or leased their vehicle. It covers the difference between the actual cash value of the car and the amount still owed on the loan or lease if the car is totaled or stolen.

  1. Rental Reimbursement Coverage:

Rental Reimbursement coverage helps pay for a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired due to a covered claim. This ensures that you have transportation while your car is out of commission.

  1. Roadside Assistance:

Roadside assistance provides services such as towing, battery jump-starts, flat tire changes and locksmith services if you are stranded due to a breakdown or other issues. This coverage can offer peace of mind, knolwing help is just a phone call away.

If you are unsure whether you are covered by your automobile insurance it is always best to seek an attorney that is knowledgeable. There are many situations where you may be covered and not even know it. For example if you are hit and injured while riding your bicycle but have automobile coverage on your vehicle, you may very well be covered for injuries you received while riding your bike.

Interestingly (and surprisingly) there is a current case on appeal that may very well provide coverage to a woman that was infected with a sexually transmitted disease while having sex in a vehicle that had automobile insurance.

The important takeaway is that even if it does not seem like there might be insurance coverage, it is important to speak to an attorney.