What Types of Auto Insurance Cover Accident Injuries in California?

Teddy bear wrapped in bandages injured in car accident

Injured in a Collision? Find Out What Types of Auto Insurance Cover Accident Injuries

Have you been injured in a California car accident? If so, you need to make sure you know how to secure coverage under your and/or the other driver’s auto insurance policy. There is a lot you need to know, and this starts with knowing what type(s) of claim(s) you can file. Keep reading to learn what types of auto insurance cover accident injuries.

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Types of Auto Insurance That Cover Accident Injuries

Some types of auto insurance cover injuries from California car accidents, and some do not. As a result, if you need to seek coverage, one of your first steps is to determine what type(s) of coverage are available to you. This could potentially include coverage under your auto insurance policy as well as the policy held by the driver who hit you.

There are four main types of auto insurance that provide coverage for injuries sustained in California car accidents:

1. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Coverage

One of the most-common types of auto insurance that covers accident-related injuries is personal injury protection (PIP). Many states require PIP (check your state’s auto insurance laws), and it is available as optional coverage in others.

Personal injury protection is what is referred to as “no fault” auto insurance. This means that you can file for PIP regardless of who was at fault in your accident. If you have PIP insurance and you suffered accident-related injuries, you can file a claim, and your insurance company should pay.

However, just like fault-based insurance claims (which we discuss in detail below), securing PIP coverage for accident injuries often proves challenging. As a result, you will want to hire a lawyer, and many California car accident lawyers do not charge anything for securing PIP coverage when they are pursuing fault-based coverage as well.

For states that require PIP insurance, minimum coverage limits vary from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. But, you have the option to purchase more. Personal injury protection provides coverage for medical expenses and loss of income, and you must pay a deductible since this is coverage under your own policy.

2. Medical Payments (MedPay) Insurance Coverage

Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage is less common than PIP, but it is required in a handful of states and optional in some others. MedPay is similar to PIP in two important ways: (i) it provides “no fault” coverage (see discussion above), and (ii) it only provides partial coverage for accident-related injuries. Specifically, MedPay auto insurance covers medical bills only. MedPay policy limits are usually fairly low, but filing a claim is still important if you have been injured in a collision. Similar to PIP claims, California car accident lawyers often will not charge anything for assisting with MedPay claims.

3. Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) Insurance Coverage

When most people ask, "What types of auto insurance cover accident injuries?", they are usually thinking about fault-based coverage. Bodily injury liability (BIL) is the main type of fault-based auto insurance that covers accident injuries. In most cases, recovering just compensation after a California car accident involves filing a California car accident insurance claim under the at-fault driver’s BIL policy. Many states require drivers to carry BIL insurance, and the minimum policy limits are generally in the range of $20,000 to $50,000 per person per accident.

Filing a BIL claim is very different from filing a PIP or MedPay claim. In addition to the amount of coverage that is available, the main differences are:

  • BIL insurance provides fault-based coverage. In order to file a successful BIL claim, you must be able to prove that the insured driver was at fault in your California car accident.
  • BIL insurance covers all injury-related losses. Unlike PIP and MedPay, when you file a claim for BIL insurance coverage, you can seek to recover all of your injury-related losses.

Filing a successful BIL claim is not easy; and, before you even think about accepting a settlement, you need to make sure that you accurately calculate your injury-related losses. This includes your current and future losses; and, in order to figure out the right number, you will need to work with an experienced California car accident attorney.

4. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Insurance Coverage

When it comes to understanding what types of auto insurance cover accident injuries, perhaps the most-important type of insurance is uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. UIM insurance is similar to PIP and MedPay in that it is insurance you purchase to cover your own losses, but it is similar to BIL in that it provides fault-based coverage (and the policy limits are typically higher).

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is available in three scenarios:

  • The driver who hit you does not have auto insurance.
  • The driver who hit you has minimal auto insurance that does not cover your injury-related losses.
  • You were injured in a hit-and-run accident.

Since UIM is fault-based coverage, you must be able to prove fault in order to file a successful claim. As a result, even though you will be dealing with your own insurance company, you will still need to hire a California car accident lawyer to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

What Types of Auto Insurance Cover Accident Injuries?

Types of Auto Insurance That DO NOT Cover Accident Injuries

While PIP, MedPay, BIL, and UIM auto insurance policies provide coverage for accident injuries, other types of auto insurance policies do not. If you have one (or both) of these types of coverage, then you may be able to get your car repaired or replaced, but you will not be able to use this insurance to cover your medical bills and other injury-related losses.

There are two common types of auto insurance that DO NOT provide coverage for injuries sustained in California car accidents:

Collision Insurance Coverage

Collision insurance provides coverage for property damage. As a result, when it comes to what types of auto insurance cover accident injuries, collision coverage is not on the list. However, filing a collision claim is still important for minimizing the financial costs of your accident, and you will want to make sure you take full advantage of the coverage that is available.

Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive insurance coverage also pays for property damage; but, unlike collision coverage, it applies in cases involving damage from incidents other than vehicle-on-vehicle collisions. It does not cover injury-related losses. If you have collision coverage under your auto insurance policy, you can use it to cover your repair or replacement costs if you hit a deer, your vehicle is damaged in a storm, your vehicle is vandalized, or your vehicle is damaged in another similar type of incident.

What Types of Injury-Related Losses are Covered?

So, that covers what types of auto insurance cover accident injuries. Now, what types of injury-related losses does auto insurance cover?

As we mentioned above, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers medical bills and lost wages, and medical payments (MedPay) insurance covers medical bills only. If you have a bodily injury liability (BIL) or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) claim, then you can recover losses including:

  • Medical bills
  • Prescription costs
  • Therapy and rehabilitation costs
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. transportation and housekeeping costs)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Other types of non-financial loss (i.e. loss of enjoyment of life)

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