California, like other states throughout the country, requires that drivers purchase liability automobile insurance coverage. Liability coverage protects motorists with whom a driver may be involved in an accident. For instance, when someone with liability coverage causes a crash and damages property or injures people, his or her liability policy will pay for the damage to those who were hit, up to the limit of his or her policy, explains a California personal injury attorney. Liability coverage does not provide protection to the insured for either injury or property damage; additional coverage would need to be purchased by the insured if such protections were desired.
Liability coverage is required because California is a fault state. This means that a party who is at fault for causing an accident is expected to bear the financial burden that results from that accident. Under California tort laws, a car accident victim may sue or otherwise make a claim against the person who caused the accident in order to collect compensation for property loss, medical bills, and lost wages arising from an injury, as well as for pain and suffering and emotional distress related to the injury.
To ensure that the party who caused the accident can pay these damages, California law generally requires that all drivers purchase a policy minimum of $15/$30/$5. This essentially means that they must purchase $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage that will pay a single person they injure up to $15,000. The $30,000 refers to the total amount of bodily injury coverage purchased (i.e. if more than one person was injured in a single accident, the insurer would pay up to $30,000 total spread among those who were injured). The $5,000 refers to property damage coverage.