Q: I was involved in a car accident. The other person says they have insurance, but won’t tell me how much insurance they do have. Do they have to tell me?
A: No.That’s right. In California, a person involved in a car crash only has to disclose the name of the insurance company and the policy number.
The Insurance Privacy Act protects all other information unless the insured (ie the other driver) specifically authorizes the release of the information. Anything beyond that is confidential unless they choose to share it with you.
Why does this matter? If you are involved in a significant crash, the other person may not have enough insurance to pay for the repairs to your car, your medical bills, or your pain and suffering. Therefore, it is possible that you may not be fully compensated for your injuries, especially when you consider that the minimum insurance limits in California are $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident for bodily injury and only $5,000 for property damage. (There is actually a policy in California for low income individuals that pays even less – $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident for bodily injury with $2,500 for property damage.
These low limits are one more reason you need to make sure that you have uninsured motorist coverage, including uninsured motorist property damage and uninsured motorist bodily injury.