How to Read A Car Insurance Declaration Page

If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident.  One of the most important tools in helping you navigate through these difficult times will be to clearly understand your auto insurance policy. Below, we will discuss the various car insurance coverage options and what they mean.


Types of Auto Insurance Coverage on Your Policy


Bodily Injury Liability

Property Damage Liability

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist

Collision Coverage

Medical Payments / Personal Injury Protection

Towing & Storage

Rental / Rental Reimbursement

Ultimately, your car insurance policy is supposed to protect you and your family. Learn more about your policy and how it can help you when you need it the most.

Bodily Injury Liability

The section titled Bodily Injury Liability applies to other people on the road or your passengers.  For example, if you are at-fault for an accident, the bodily injury liability provides you coverage up to your limits.

What is the minimum Bodily Injury Liability coverage in California?

In California, the minimum Bodily Injury Liability coverage is $15,000/$30,000  (per person/per accident). California Insurance Code §11580.1b

Below is a sample declaration page that indicates the limits for Bodily Injury Coverage as being $100,000 each person/ $300,000 each occurrence.

If this were your policy, you would be protected up to $100,000 per person injured and up to $300,000 per occurrence (each accident, multiple injured people).

understanding insurance policy

Property Damage Liability
What is Property Damage Liability?

The Property Damage Liability coverage on your policy determines the amount of coverage available to pay for repairs or the replacement of another drivers vehicle if you were at fault for the accident.

In this example, the insured has up to $100,000 in property damage coverage for each occurrence.  Meaning that any property damage caused by you, up to a total of $100,000 is covered. The minimum coverage in California is $5,000.

Property Damage Insurance Coverage

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist

One of the most important car insurance coverage you purchase for you and your family is Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Typically referred to by the acronym UM, this is the insurance coverage on your auto policy that applies to you and your family.

In Depth UM Coverage Post
Collision Coverage

Collision Coverage refers to the insurance coverage that applies to your own vehicle if you are involved in an accident.  Regardless of who is at-fault for the crash.

What does collision coverage cover?

Medical Payments / Personal Injury Protection
What is Medical Payments Coverage?

Medical payments coverage (Medpay) or in some states referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is the insurance coverage on your auto policy that pays for some of your medical expenses or the medical expenses of those injured in an accident you cause.

You should be careful in that most insurance policies have time limits on which you can use the Medical Payments Coverage available.

In this example, the insured has up to $25,000 available to them to pay for each person’s medical expenses.

What does medpay cover on my insurance policy?

Towing and Storage

Towing and Storage charges often cover the amount it costs to tow your car from the scene of an accident. Storage charges may or may not be covered.  It is important to read the specific policy language in each policy to determine whether its covered.

In this example, the insured’s policy covers up to $50 per each tow (disablement).

Auto insurance towing and storage insurance coverage

Rental / Rental Reimbursement

Rental / Rental Reimbursement provides you with the cost of renting a vehicle or being reimbursed a set amount for a rental vehicle while you wait to get your car repaired or find a replacement vehicle or settlement offer is made.

In this example, the insured is provided up to $30/day for a total of $900.00 or 30 days.

rental coverage on insurance policy

Understanding your car insurance policy is only the beginning. Knowing how to properly use it if you’ve been involved in an accident is the next step.  For a free evaluation or help on understanding your insurance policy, feel free to call and speak with one of our lawyers.

Important References:

  1. Uninsured Motorist Coverage Explained
  2. Understanding Your Police Report
  3. Order a Free Copy of Your Police Report


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