How to Protect Yourself Against People Who Drive Without Insurance in Bakersfield
There is no such thing as a desirable car crash. But if you had to make a choice, you’d probably at least hope that the other driver has insurance.
Unfortunately, many accident victims find themselves facing the worst of both worlds: not only is the at-fault party negligent in their driving but they are also negligently uninsured.
Actually, that very scenario is becoming more and more common in California. During the economic challenges of the last ten years, a record number of drivers have decided to forego auto insurance, hitting the road and rolling the dice.
Do you know what you’d do if that happened to you? Imagine facing massive medical bills, with a totaled car to boot, and learning there’s no one to pay for them.
After all, if a careless driver can’t afford to carry auto insurance, they probably can’t afford to compensate you for your injuries either.
It’s a daunting hypothetical, but fear not. There’s something called uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage in California, and if you get it now, you can protect yourself in case an uncovered driver careens your way one day.
As Bakersfield auto accident lawyers, we’ve seen the benefits of uninsured / underinsured auto insurance up close. Below, we’ll map out the pros and cons (and we’ll also offer some guidance to those who might have already missed their chance).
Every Driver Has to Have Insurance
It should probably go without saying that California requires every motorist to carry at least minimal car insurance.
So if an uninsured driver hits you, he or she is absolutely breaking the law. But while that person might be in hot water, their punishment won’t necessarily help you.
(Note: in some limited scenarios, a driver might be able to make other arrangements with the California DMV. For example, drivers are allowed to make a $35,000 deposit with the DMV instead of carrying car insurance. Alternatively, some companies can obtain a surety bond for corporate vehicles and their drivers. These provisions rarely apply, but if they are relevant to your case, our Bakersfield auto accident lawyers can help you sort them out.)
What Is Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist coverage is an optional add-on to your existing auto insurance policy.
It is a special provision that will require your own auto insurer to cover you (up to your policy limits) in the event that you suffer damages or an injury caused by an at-fault driver who does not have enough (“underinsured”) or any (“uninsured”) auto insurance.
- Most Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist policies stand in for the other driver’s liability insurance (e.g. paying for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, etc.). These provisions are sometimes referred to as UMBI (uninsured motorist bodily injury) and UIM (underinsured motorist).
- Some insurers might also offer Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage (UMPD), which extends to property losses (e.g. damage to your car).
The “underinsured” aspect is very important. Even if the other driver is obeying the law by carrying insurance, very many California drivers carry the smallest possible amount of coverage — often far too little to pay for your injuries.
Without these provisions in place, your own auto insurance policy will not cover your damages in such an accident (generally speaking).
How to Obtain Uninsured / Underinsured Car Insurance in Bakersfield, CA
You should contact your existing California car insurance provider and ask about getting Uninsured / Underinsured car insurance in Bakersfield.
Generally speaking, Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist policies are relatively inexpensive. In many cases, you can add these provisions to an existing policy for just a few dollars a month. It is worth it.
As Bakersfield auto accident lawyers, we have much more leverage in negotiating these cases when our clients have one of these uninsured motorist policies in place. Having seen the tremendous benefits for so many drivers and their families, we strongly urge all Southern California drivers to secure one of these policies as soon as possible.
In fact, you might have already one. Insurance companies sometimes include these provisions in their policies from Day One. In fact, they are required to offer them when you sign up (and you must sign a waiver to turn them down).
Nevertheless, drivers sometimes don’t even know they have these provisions in place! If you aren’t sure, you should find out right away. Call your provider today.
What If You’ve Already Been Injured and Didn’t Have Uninsured Coverage?
Don’t give up. While getting fair compensation is more difficult in these situations, our Bakersfield auto accident lawyers can often find a way.
When you hire our firm, you can count on us to exhaustively search through every opportunity to maximize your potential compensation — all at no out-of-pocket cost to you.
Please don’t make assumptions about your rights or options. Talk to The Law Offices of Mickey Fine first.
Contact Our Experienced Bakersfield Car Accident Lawyers ASAP
We are here to help you get every penny that you deserve. Please call us, text us, or contact us online. There are very strict timelines in place for cases involving uninsured motorists, so please do not delay. Contact us right away.