Do I have to pay for excess damage in California if my $5,000 property damage liability doesn't cover it?

I was at fault in an accident in Sacramento. I have state-minimum insurance, which covers up to $5,000 in property damage. The other person's car was totaled and valued at $10,000. Now the insurance company wants me to pay the additional $5,000. Does this sound right?

Answer provided by
Eric Schad
Answered on Apr 23, 2021
Eric Schad has been a freelance writer for nearly a decade, as well as an SEO specialist and editor for the past five years. Before getting behind the keyboard, he worked in the finance and music industries (the perfect combo). With a wide array of professional and personal experiences, he’s developed a knack for tone and branding across many different verticals. Away from the computer, Schad is a blues guitar shredder, crazed sports fan, and always down for a spontaneous trip anywhere around the globe.
“Yes, that sounds correct. Your insurance company paid the $5,000, as it was legally obligated to do so. The rest is on you.
If you have the $5,000 to pay for the damage, that’s probably your best move. If you refuse to pay, you’ll likely be sued. In this case, you’ll also have to pay for a defense attorney, court costs, and the final settlement, which will probably be way more than $5,000.
In the future, never settle for minimum liability insurance in California. It will only cover minor incidents, and you risk being sued over what your insurer won’t cover. Plus, upping your limits will likely only cost you a few extra bucks a month.”

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