Why Having the Minimum Auto Insurance Policy is a Bad Idea

October 28, 2021

Why Having the Minimum Auto Insurance Policy is a Bad Idea Post Image

Searching for the best car insurance can be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure how much coverage you need or if you feel like you are overpaying. An enticing price point can make minimum-coverage insurance policies appealing – but minimum-coverage auto insurance policies are a bad idea.

Why do I need car insurance?

Car insurance is required on all vehicle operating or parked on California roads and you are required to carry evidence of that insurance in your vehicle. Click here to read an earlier blog post on how to understand insurance policies so that you can pick the right type of insurance and coverage amount to meet your needs.

Car insurance, in general, covers the costs associated with accidents involving you and your vehicle – whether you are at-fault or you’re the victim. This can include damage to property, like your vehicle (or any other vehicles involved), or physical damages, like whiplash or a broken leg. So, think of car insurance as a payment to ensure that you are protected financially even in an accident.

What if I’m not driving?

In California, if your vehicle is parked on a California road, you are still required to have car insurance. However, there are some circumstances where you will not be driving your car. For example, if you are going to be overseas for an extended period of time, your car will not be operational for several months, or if you’ve suffered a severe injury and will be home-bound for some time. In these cases, you may still benefit from having more than liability insurance; comprehensive insurance will be able to cover damage to your vehicle in the case of vandalism, theft, or environmental damage (like a tree branch falling on your car).

What types of insurance do I need?

  • Liability Insurance

Generally, the minimum amount of car insurance required is liability insurance – which means that any damage caused by you will be covered up to a certain amount. The minimum insurance required to legally park or drive on California roads does not include insurance that protects you if your own vehicle is damaged or if you sustain injuries in an accident. Generally, you should purchase enough liability insurance to cover what you could lose in a lawsuit against you after a car accident.

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance pays for your medical bills if someone at-fault in a car accident does not have liability insurance (or does not have enough liability insurance) to cover your costs, including medical expenses, lost wages, damage to your vehicle, and more. Generally, you should purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance to match your liability insurance.

  • Collision and Comprehensive Insurance

Collision and comprehensive insurance both provide coverage for costs associated with vehicle repair and are often sold together. If you have a car loan or are leasing your vehicle, your lender or leasing company may require you to carry both types of insurance.

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers medical bills for you and your passengers regardless of who caused the accident. It also covers costs like lost wages or funeral expenses. Some insurance companies include coverage for replacement services for tasks you cannot accomplish because of your injuries, like cleaning services, or child or pet care.

  • Medical Payments

Medical payment coverage will cover expenses for you or your passengers regardless of who caused the accident. Unlike PIP, it would not cover lost wages. Medical payments insurance can be used to supplement PIP policies because it pays medical costs quickly, has no deductible or co-pay, and still offers coverage to you even if you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle or if you are taking public transportation.

What types of insurance are optional?

  • Gap Insurance

If your car is totaled in an accident covered by your insurance policy, gap insurance covers the difference between the cash value of your vehicle and how much you owe on loan or leases. However, if you own your vehicle outright, you likely would not need gap insurance.

  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance

If your vehicle is being repaired due to an issue covered by your insurance policy, this coverage would pay for a rental vehicle (or other forms of transportation, like commuter train or bus fare) during repairs. If you can temporarily share a vehicle with a family member or partner, you may not need rental reimbursement insurance.

  • Roadside Assistance Insurance

Roadside assistance is beneficial if you run into issues like locking your keys in your car, or if you need a tow-truck or someone to help jump-start your vehicle. However, if you carry jump-start cables in your vehicle or a reliable friend or family member who can help you in an emergency, you may not need roadside assistance.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today


After any car accident, you should speak to an attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of this situation. An attorney can offer guidance so you can take the right steps following an automobile accident, especially when dealing with insurance claims and policies. The car accident attorneys at B|B Law Group have a wealth of experience when it comes to auto accidents and can answer your questions. Contact the B|B Law Group to schedule a consultation today!

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