Auto Coverage Must Haves

If you are like many people cutting expenses where you can, reducing your insurance coverage to the minimum seems like a good idea. However, keep in mind that even the most basic coverage may not fully protect you or your property.

In California, the minimum liability limits are as follows:

  • Bodily injury liability for one person in an accident – $15,000
  • Bodily injury liability for all people injured in an accident – $30,000
  • Property damage liability for one accident – $5,000

In case of an accident, liability insurance compensates a person other than the policy holder for personal injury or property damage. It does not cover any of your expenses. California does not require personal injury protection (PIP), or uninsured motorist coverage, protecting you in the event that the other motorist is at fault and under or uninsured. But, just because it’s not required does not mean that it’s not a good idea.

Comprehensive and collision auto insurance coverage is not legally required, but just as essential. Comprehensive covers your vehicle for theft, fire, break-in, vandalism and anything else that can happen to your car other than a collision.  Collision insurance covers your vehicle for physical damage when you are in an accident and at fault. For new cars that are leased or financed, collision and comprehensive coverage is required.  For older cars, it makes sense to drop the collision coverage and self insure your vehicle for physical damage. Although comprehensive or collision insurance does not meet vehicle financial responsibility requirements in California, it’s still a justifiable expense.

Before you purchase any type of auto insurance coverage, study your other insurance policies so you don’t end up paying for something you don’t need. Check with your agent to discuss discount opportunities, annual mileage and double-up coverage, as in roadside assistance memberships, personal medical policies, rental car coverage and/or new vehicle warranties. You can also take a higher collision deductible on newer vehicles to save premiums, as this coverage comes into play only when you are at fault in an accident.

Julia Burdick, CIC, CISR, Personal Lines Manager, License #0B97339

Julia Burdick is a licensed California Insurance Agent, a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) and holds the designation of a Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR). As the Personal Lines Manager, Julia insures clients in all 50 states and works with more than 20 carriers. Specializing in high net worth clients and business owners, Julia lends her 16 years of experience to policy holders of every size. For more information please visit, Julia can be contacted at (310) 221-0917 or via email at