In California, we think we are so progressive. But when it comes to automobile insurance requirements, we are bottom dwellers.
We are one of the only states that still have $15,000/$30,000 mandated minimum coverage for liability insurance. Only Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania have the same limits. The only state that has lower liability limits than California is Florida, where they require $10,000/$20,000. Absurd.
Just to review, liability insurance is what you can sue for or collect from the driver who causes your injuries when you are involved in an automobile accident.
There are 36 states that have $25,000/$50,000. For example, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, and Oklahoma, where the cost of living is substantially cheaper than in California (meaning a visit to the hospital or doctor is far less), have higher limits one can collect if an inattentive driver crashes into you. Alaska and Maine have $50,000/$100,000 limits. Now we’re talking!
In California, if you are in an automobile accident and end up in the emergency room due to your injuries, this minimum coverage of $15,000 will basically cover the cost of that one visit. Heaven forbid you have to spend a night or two in the hospital.
California also mandates a minimum of $5,000 for property damage. As we all know, if you’ve ever had any body work done, $5,000 to repair an automobile does not go very far. California drags the bottom with New Jersey and Massachusetts having this same limit. All other states range from $10,000 to $25,000.
California’s limits were established in 1976, 45 years ago. At that time a brand-new Ford Pinto sold for $2,625. Today that 1976 dollar is worth 21 cents, a fifth of it’s old buying power. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed 31-fold since the 1970’s when per-capita the health care spending was $353 per person a year. In 2019, that figure was $11,582.
Try Googling why California has not kept up with the times about and raised our limits. You will find nothing. It should be an easy fix. Right? It appears the last time a bill was introduced to bring California into the 21st Century was February 2020. It was sent over to the state Assembly’s insurance committee where it died of neglect.
It’s time we do something to get these minimum requirements raised. We need to call and write our California legislators and demand action. The difference in the cost of raising these minimums to something that reflects the cost of being involved in an automobile accident, would likely be measured in Starbuck’s coffees. I’ll gladly give up an occasional Starbuck’s Frappucino to be able to cover my medical bills, lost wages, and other costs incurred, in case I’m in an accident with a California driver who carries the minimum insurance.
Contact us today for a free auto accident claim consultation or for any questions regarding insurance coverages.