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What options are there for uninsured motorist coverage?

While you can be responsible, drive defensively and always carry car insurance, you cannot guarantee that other motorists will act with such due care. Unfortunately, some drivers in California drive without insurance. Should you get in an accident with an uninsured motorist, it may be difficult to seek recovery.

However, there is something you can do in this situation. You can choose to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own policy. In California, insurance companies must offer this type of coverage to their customers. If a customer decides not to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, he or she must sign a waiver stating that he or she was offered uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage by the insurance company, but decided not to purchase it.

There are three specific types of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The first one is uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This coverage applies when you are in a collision in which the uninsured motorist is the party at fault. The second one is underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage applies when you are in a collision with a driver who does carry enough insurance to cover your bodily injury damages. Finally there is uninsured motorist property damages. This coverage applies to compensate for damages to your automobile if you are in a collision with someone who does not have car insurance and that person is at fault. There is a limit to this type of coverage however -- it is capped at $3,500.

This is only a brief overview of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in California. In the end, if you are involved in an uninsured/underinsured motorist accident, you may also want to explore other avenues of compensation, including filing a lawsuit if necessary.

Source: California Department of Insurance, "Automobile Insurance Information Guide," accessed Jan. 23, 2017

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