Russell & Lazarus March 2019

Exclusively handling serious and catastrophic personal injury claims as well as wrongful death claims due to the negligence of individuals or business entities.

The Right Help When You Need It Most!

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March 2019


LUCK OF THE IRISH? Better to Be Smart Than Lucky When Involved in a Car Accident

The second important provision of your policy is property damage liability coverage. This coverage protects you in case of an accident that causes damage to another driver’s vehicle. Here in California, where high-price cars are all over the place, it is easy to get into an accident where you cause more than $100,000 in damage to one or more vehicles. We recommend that you should have at least $100,000 in property damage liability, if not $150,000, if you have any assets. If you are the starving college student, the minimum of $5,000 will do. What we consider to be the most critical coverage to compensate you and to keep you afloat financially when you are injured by another is uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Incredibly, 1 out of every 2 drivers on the road in California either has no insurance or only the legal minimum, which, as I indicated, is $15,000. Therefore, it is important to protect yourself by purchasing sufficient uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage, which is amazingly inexpensive. For about $4 a month, you can get $100,000 in coverage. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone driving a car in the state of California, it’s to make sure you have at least $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage.

I’ve had more than a few friends and family members who were involved in car accidents and were unaware they were underinsured until the accident occurred. This usually happens because people don’t know how insurance works or how it applies to real- world claims. This is especially true for someone who’s been driving a car for 40–50 years and has never been in an accident. They have no reason to know how insurance is applied and have thought little about their coverage, even though their finances may have dramatically changed. There are three very important coverages everyone who drives a car in California should have. Although there are other coverages you can purchase, in our opinion, these three are the most critical. The most important coverage, of course, and the only coverage one needs to drive a car legally in California is bodily injury liability coverage. This coverage protects you from being sued for bodily injury if YOU cause an accident. The rule of thumb is that your liability limits should be at least equal to the amount of your assets. If you are a college student and all you have is debt, then you wouldn’t need more than the minimum $15,000/$30,000 ($15,000 for each person you may hurt and up to $30,000 for everyone hurt in either car). If you are a 55-year-old female who has $300,000 in home equity, $50,000 in checking, $200,000 in investments, and a $55,000 car, then your personal injury liability coverage should be at least the total sum of those assets.

With St. Patrick’s Day in the rearview mirror, don’t risk the chance of being involved in an accident without the right coverage. It’s better to be smart than lucky when involved in a car accident. One of the questions we hear a lot at Russell & Lazarus is, “What kind and how much insurance coverage is best for me?” In terms of auto policies, many people are confused. We are the experts looking under every rock for coverage for our clients and, consequently, we know better than any insurance agent what kind and how much insurance our clients should have. We even offer free evaluations of our clients’ policies to ensure they have the right coverage.

Chris Russell

RUSSELL & LAZARUS APC 1401 Dove Street | Suite 310 | Newport Beach, CA 92660 Direct: 949-851-0222 Toll Free: 800-268-9228


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