Is Automobile Insurance Required in the State of Washington?
Washington State requires anyone who drives a motor vehicle or a motorcycle to carry liability coverage of $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 property damage per accident.
Proof of insurance is required in the event that a driver is pulled over or is involved in a collision.
When you drive a vehicle in Washington that is required to be registered in another state, you must have the type of insurance required by that state. You must be able to provide proof of this insurance to law enforcement if requested.
What happens if you are an At-Fault Party in an Automobile Collision?
If you drive a car without the required insurance, you could receive a fine of $550 or more. If you’re an at-fault party in an automobile collision and you don’t have insurance, your license may be suspended if you fail to pay the resulting damages and/or injuries.
What other Types of Insurance Coverage is Available?
In addition to bodily liability and property damage coverage, coverage for medical treatment is available, commonly called Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) and Underinsured/Uninsured (UIM) coverages can be purchased.
In my opinion, these coverages are important. PIP provides coverage for medical treatment if you or another person in your car suffers injuries in a collision. While many people have medical insurance, PIP coverage provides full coverage without deductions for co-pays. Most PIP policies provide $10,000 in coverage.
UIM coverage is because although Washington State has mandatory insurance laws, many drivers operate their vehicles without insurance. UIM provides coverage if you are injured in a collision and the other driver does not have insurance or the other driver’s insurance is inadequate to compensate an injured party.
How much coverage is enough?
This is a complicated question that needs a great deal of consideration. Some factors to consider are the cost of insurance coverage and protection for yourself and your family.
Obviously, the more coverage you purchase, the higher the cost. Liability coverage protects your personal assets if you cause a collision and injuries to other parties. My suggestion is that you consult with your financial advisor about the appropriate amount of coverage to protect your personal assets. In terms of UIM coverage, it is my opinion, that folks should consider having as much coverage as possible. All too often, I am retained by individuals injured by another driver only to find out that the other driver has inadequate insurance to compensate my client for the injuries and damages suffered.
When considering the purchase of automobile insurance, ask about the costs for various coverages. Many insurance companies offer excess or umbrella policies providing additional liability and UIM coverages.
In sum, this is a complicated issue.
Recommended Article: Car Insurance Washington State
What should you do if injured by another driver in an automobile collision?
Most injury attorneys provide a free consultation. Insurance companies are quick to assign a claims adjuster when one of their insured is involved in a collision. Obviously, the claims adjuster’s priority is to represent and protect their insured, so, it is important to have someone on your side to protect your rights and interest.
An attorney can assist you in determining what insurance coverages are available and in seeking just compensation for any injuries suffered.
I have been committed to representing people injured in automobile collisions for over 35 years.
Recommended Article: Who gets the PIP Check