Detailed Answers:

1. Every vehicle needs to be on each of its drivers’ policies. Insurance companies allow policy holders to combine all vehicles and drivers on one policy, often resulting in cheaper premiums for the owner. eZine

2. Yes. Aside from the fact that many states require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage, it can prevent the hassles and financial hardships associated with being involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Andy Gillin says, “The increase in people without necessary levels of insurance means drivers who do insure must do so at higher levels as a mode of self protection.”

3. Many auto insurance policies cover most of the items car rental companies charge $10/day or more for. It is worthwhile for people to speak to their personal insurance agents about raising and broadening the coverage they would otherwise have to pay for daily on rental cars. Then it becomes an economic calculation on the part of the individual. When renting a car for business, coverage may be more limited. Andy Gillin counsels drivers to consult their agent or employer about these coverage questions.

4. There is no magic number, but there are guidelines that can be offered by sophisticated insurance brokers and agents. GJEL Accident Attorneys recommends that when insurance policies are offered in a range of lowest to highest, people purchase the highest limits they can afford.

Both as a matter of social responsibility and preventing financial ruin, obtaining the highest limits available will allow a person to sleep much better at night. In California, the minimum limits required for bodily injury insurance are $15,000/person and $30,000/accident.

Andy Gillin says that in his personal view, these limits are extremely inadequate, and he considers it a great risk for anyone to drive with limits that low if they have other alternatives available to them.

5. With respect to family members who ride in a family car, they are typically covered by any automobile medical payments coverage, as well as any uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. With respect to family members who drive a car, the answer depends o how the insurance policy is written.

Some insurance policies have a “drop-down provision” which provides the full amount of the insurance policy liability limits to the named insured, but drops down to the state’s minimum for others. This is really a matter of reading the insurance policy carefully and talking to the agent or broker about exactly what is or what is not covered.

6. Drivers are required by law to carry auto insurance. Because minimum liability levels remain low in many states across the country, those people who pay for higher coverage end up footing the bill for people who make claims with inadequate insurance. Motorists involved in an accident with an under-insured driver can make a claim against their own policy to cover the lack of adequate insurance for the other driver.

Andy Gillin advises people to purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to the maximum affordable limit recommended by the insurance broker so families are protected against under-insured or uninsured motorists.

7. Drivers between 16 and 25 account for one third of all uninsured drivers involved in accidents and more than a quarter of all accidents on the road, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute. Heads of households would do well to ensure the entire family has enough liability coverage to account for other young drivers who lack enough coverage.

Andy Gillin suggests that purchasing liability coverage at appropriate levels can be less than $100 per year more on a policy. Although the economy has created challenging financial times for many families, it’s important to consider the consequence if coverage doesn’t meet the demands and costs of today’s medical expenses.

DISCLAIMER: These answers do not apply to all automobile insurance policies and are meant only as general observations. It is always critical to read the policy and consult with a competent agent. These answers apply to many insurance policies, but certainly not all and no assumptions should be made based on the general advice given here.

Many states have minimum requirements for what has to be in an insurance policy. Those requirements vary from state to state and requirements only apply to a very small portion of the insurance policy. Therefore, any advice given above about an insurance policy is best used as an indicator of what to ask an insurance broker or agent to include.

Always be a smart consumer and always ask specific questions. It’s important to know what you are getting and how much coverage you have.


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Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.