There are millions of drivers on the roads across California, and the vast majority of them comply with state obligations for carrying insurance. Unfortunately, there remains a minority of people who, either out of financial necessity, ignorance or selfishness, fail to maintain liability insurance policies on their vehicles despite driving on public roadways.

If you encounter one of these individuals and they cause a crash, they can leave you in a particularly vulnerable financial position. Understanding your rights in the event of a crash with an uninsured driver in California can help you push for the best possible outcome.

In some cases, your insurance could protect you

Generally speaking, your automotive liability policy provides protection from financial claims made by other people, not from the cost you incur as a result of a crash. However, it is possible to expand your policy to include additional forms of protection.

Riders that offer both medical and property damage coverage in the event that you get into a crash caused by an uninsured driver are a common example of extra coverage that can benefit drivers. In fact, getting underinsured driver coverage could also help protect you, as California only mandates $5,000 worth of property damage coverage, which could be far less than what it costs to fix your car.

Uninsured and underinsured driver coverage will help protect you from incurring financial losses if you get into a crash caused by a driver without insurance.

You have options even without uninsured driver coverage

There is a popular saying that hindsight is 20/20, which basically means that is easy to understand the need for an uninsured driver rider after you get into a crash where there isn’t insurance coverage. Thankfully, if you do get into a crash caused by a driver without insurance and you don’t have a rider that protects you from uninsured drivers, you still have the option of taking civil action against the driver.

You can bring a personal injury lawsuit against any driver who causes a collision and seek compensation for your costs and expenses such as medical care, lost wages and property damage. Reviewing the exact circumstances of the crash and terms of your policy can help you make a decision about what step to take next.