When planning your estate, have you considered how much insurance you carry, or even more importantly how much insurance do you carry for under or uninsured motorists? I recently had a case where one of my own expert witnesses had a family member involved in a horrible crash. He stood to lose everything he owned because he only carried a small amount in liability coverage. Even worse, what if you are hurt in a crash, can’t go back to work, and the at fault party has only a $15,000 insurance policy. Where would that put you? Make sure you have enough coverage to protect yourself and your assets.
About Liability and Uninsured Motorist Insurance
Liability insurance is insurance you purchase in case you hurt someone else or damage their property. The State of California requires everyone who owns a car to have this type of insurance. If you take out a loan on a new car or a used car, the car finance company may require you purchase additional insurance in case your car is damaged. This is generally called collision insurance.
The bodily injury portion of liability insurance pays for claims and lawsuits as well as attorney’s fees to defend you in a personal injury lawsuit against you. The property damage portion covers damage to other people’s property or cars that you may have damaged during the accident.
Uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage pays benefits to you if you have injuries caused by another driver who does not have insurance (or not very much ) if you are hurt while in a car, riding a bicycle, on a motorcycle or walking as a pedestrian.California Law only requires that your insurance company sell you minimum coverage of $15,000 per person. Many people only buy the minimum coverage against uninsured motorists. That may be a tragic mistake. I cannot begin to tell you how many times in my career I have had clients with serious injuries caused by persons with only $15,000 of bodily injury insurance. Many of my clients would have been financially destroyed without the money they received from their own under-insured motorist policy.
A probate and trust attorney will be able to help you plan your estate beyond your liability and uninsured motorist insurance, such as creating a trust, will, powers of attorney and other estate planning options to help you protect your assets and save estate taxes. If you have any questions please feel free to call our office for a consultation at 858-792-5988.