This week’s question comes from a reader identified only as “Bob” in Los Angeles who asks, “I was reading your columns online and I see that you write a lot about Lyft and Uber. I drive for both. While driving recently late at night from LAX I was sideswiped by a pickup truck driver who changed lanes suddenly without looking. I slammed on my brakes to try and avoid colliding with the truck but it hit the front of my car forcing me into the concrete dividing wall. The front and left side of my car is wrecked. My airbag went off and both the passenger and I were injured. The police came and took a report but I don’t have the license plate of the pickup truck driver. I told the company and they told me to submit a claim with my insurance company. What should I do?”
This week’s question comes from Alex in San Bruno: “I want to buy a new car. What does ‘full insurance coverage’ mean?
Alex, thank you for your question. Buying automobile insurance unfortunately can be a time-consuming and confusing process. Minor traffic collisions are a financial drain and hassle. Major auto collisions can be financially and physically devastating. It’s vital that all drivers be fully insured. I am glad to help you understand what this means.
Riding a motorcycle can be freeing; you feel the elements, have more freedom to maneuver and can go places larger vehicles can’t. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle doesn’t offer you the same protections as a larger vehicle. For instance, if you slide on the road, it’s more likely that you’ll be thrown from your vehicle than be able to recover and continue on your way.
This week’s question comes from Zach L from the Castro: “I was recently hit by a car that ran a red light on Mission Street at the intersection of 19th St. I just bought the car that I was driving two days earlier and I had yet to purchase insurance. I broke my arm. The police found that the other guy was a fault and although I didn’t do anything wrong I’ve been told that I can’t recover for my pain and suffering because I didn’t have insurance on the car at the time that I was hit. Is this true? This doesn’t seem fair.”
Zach, I’m sorry to hear about your collision. Although you did nothing wrong to cause your injuries, I am sad to say that this may indeed be true.
This week’s question comes from T.J. in the Outer Sunset who asks: “I was recently hit by a car while I was parked in my car listening to music. My car was wrecked and my shoulder got hurt. I called my insurance company and they said that my policy had lapsed. I had moved a while back and my old roommate didn’t tell me that the bill had come in. I would have paid it had I known. I called a lawyer and he said that even though it wasn’t my fault I could get my car fixed, my hospital bills paid, my time off work paid but nothing for the pain that it cost. How can this happen? I didn’t do anything wrong.”
In 1996 the voters passed the “Personal Responsibility Act,” commonly known as Proposition 213 and codified in the California Civil Code at Sections 3333.3 & 3333.4.
This week’s question comes from Carey C. in the Sunset: “I have a scooter that I use to commute to work Downtown, but I am thinking about getting a car, so I can get out of The City sometimes. I know I have to have liability insurance. A friend said I should also have uninsured-underinsured motorist coverage on my insurance policy. Is it really necessary, if I already have health insurance?”
Dear Carey: I talk with clients about uninsured-underinsured motorist coverage all of the time. Attorneys and people in the insurance industry often refer to it as “UM-UIM” insurance. Unfortunately, by the time clients come to me they have already been injured and it’s too late for the UM-UIM discussion. The best time to think about insurance is before you need it.