Auto Insurance – Main Coverage Options and Explanation of Coverages

The main coverage options and an explanation of coverages. This is a simple explanation of the major coverage options for auto insurance in California.

Liability Insurance

The liability covers all of your responsibilities. Your insurance company will cover the cost of any damage you cause to another vehicle, person, or property. California’s minimum auto insurance limits are 15/30/5. 15/30/5 refers to $15,000 per person for bodily injury, $30,000 per occurrence for bodily injury, and $5,000 for property damage. The insurance company will not pay for any damages beyond what you are liable for. A minimum of 100/300/50 coverage is recommended for homeowners. If you lease your vehicle, the leasing company will likely require you to have at least 100/300/50 liability coverage.

Uninsured Driver (UMBI & UMPD).

Uninsured motorist coverage is an option, but it’s highly recommended. Many motorists can’t afford to have liability car insurance even though it is a legal requirement. In the event of an accident involving uninsured motorists, your coverage will cover you up to the policy limit. Uninsured motorist coverage cannot be provided if someone is held responsible for you being hit. To be eligible for coverage in the event of hit-and-run, you must obtain a license plate number. Uninsured Motorist Bodily injury (UMBI), starts at $15,000 per person, with a maximum coverage of $30,000 per accident. Higher limits are possible. Your insurance company will pay you, your passengers and any bodily injuries sustained up to the limits of your policy if an uninsured driver is found liable for the accident. This coverage may also be offered by your company to underinsured motorists. If the driver who hit you isn’t insured, your insurance company will cover the difference. The coverage for Uninsured Motorist Property Damage is typically $3500. Your company will pay up $3500 to repair your vehicle if an uninsured driver is held responsible for your accident. Your collision coverage can be canceled if you have purchased collision coverage. This means that your collision coverage will cover the deductible.

Health Insurance

No matter who is at fault, medical payments provide coverage for medical bills up to the policy limits. Medical payment limits can be purchased starting at $1,000 and ending at $10,000. If you choose to purchase $1,000 medical payment limits, each car owner would be covered up until $1,000 per accident. Medical payments are voluntary and not mandatory.

Comprehensive & Collision (Comp/Coll)

Your auto insurance policy covers both collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage protects your vehicle in case of an accident that occurs while you are driving. Comprehensive coverage, also known as collision coverage, covers your vehicle for damage that could occur while you aren’t driving it. This includes fire, theft and tree falls. These coverages are not limited in price, but they can be combined with a deductible. The deductible is the first amount that you pay, then the insurance company pays the rest. Most people choose to have a deductible of $500 or $1000. Your premium will rise if you have a lower deductible. This is because the insurance company covers more. Your financing company may require that you have these coverages until your vehicle is paid off.


In the event that your vehicle is damaged or unable to be driven, rental coverage will pay for the cost of renting a vehicle up to the policy limits. When deciding on the coverage limits, you’ll often see numbers like 20/30 and 30/40. The first number indicates how much they will pay per day and the second is the maximum amount they will cover. 20/30 is the maximum amount your auto insurance company will pay per day. This covers up to 30 days. Towing coverage covers you for towing your vehicle in an accident, up to your policy limits. The policy limits are typically listed in dollar amounts of $50 and $100. This means you will be covered for towing per disability up to the amount. These coverages are only applicable in the event that an accident occurs and do not cover roadside services. Roadside service is now an option for most companies.