Be prepared: Auto Insurance 101 from a Seattle auto accident attorney
Understanding auto insurance can be a very difficult task, and insurance companies don’t do the greatest job of making it easier on people. I have dealt with insurance companies my whole career, so I would like to shed some light on the three types of auto insurance you need to be aware of and make sure you have. These are: mandatory basic coverage, Personal Injury Protection, and Uninsured/Under-insured coverage.
- Mandatory Basic Coverage: In the state of Washington, it is required of every driver to have at least $25,000 in auto insurance coverage. In your insurance plan, this will typically be seen as “25/50.” This means that your insurance will cover any one person in an accident for up to $25,000, and up to $50,000 for any one accident. This level of insurance is only the minimum, though, and I would strongly advise getting more. Throughout my years as a Seattle auto accident attorney, I have seen a lot of accidents that produce damages greater than $50,000 in total.Because of the costs associated with most car crashes, it is very important that you get the highest level of insurance that you can afford. Other common levels of insurance are “50/100,” “100/300,” “300/500,” all the way up to $1,000,000 in coverage. My general suggestion on car insurance is to get as much as you need to cover your assets. For example, if you own a house with an equity valued at $300,000, you should get auto insurance of at least that much.This insurance coverage is the only requirement; however it is important that you protect yourself in other ways.
- Personal Injury Protection: Along with basic car insurance, one way to protect yourself in case of an accident is “Personal Injury Protection,” better known as PIP. This coverage will pay your medical bills for a car accident independent of whose fault it is. This no-fault protection would also cover lost wages and benefits. In other words, even if you had caused the accident, you could see whatever doctor you want with your PIP coverage. The most common level of PIP coverage is $10,000, but it can go all the way up to $50,000. If you can afford $50,000, or whatever the highest level your insurance company offers, I strongly suggest that you do so. In Washington State, PIP must be offered by insurance companies, but you do not have to accept it. In my opinion, even though it is optional, this is coverage that you should absolutely have.
- Underinsured/Un-insured Motorist Coverage: The other type of coverage that is not required, but you should definitely have, is “Uninsured/Under-insured motorist coverage,” better known as UM/UIM. These two are pretty similar and in the state of Washington, always offered together as one package. The “UM” part of this insurance will cover you when you have been in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have insurance. The “UIM” part of this coverage is for an accident with an at-fault driver that does not have enough auto insurance to cover your damages. As the economy continues to struggle, under-insured and uninsured motorists are increasing, so it is crucial to protect you and your family by purchasing coverage to protect against this trend. Also keep in mind that it is not very expensive to purchase high limits of insurance either. Getting 10x more coverage does not mean you have to pay 10x more. Ultimately, the more coverage you get, the better the deal is for you.
Our FREE book has more insurance tips
There is little in life more confusing and stressful than dealing with the insurance company after a serious auto accident injury. A experienced personal lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve, but you are much better off if you are sufficiently covered. The truth is, a lot of coverage can be purchased much more inexpensively than you think. Seattle personal injury lawyer Jason Epstein has years of experience dealing with insurance companies and has compiled his knowledge into an easy to read guide for motorists, The Truth About Buying Washington Auto Insurance. This book is available to you for FREE by ordering it from our website. Make sure your loved ones and assets are protected in the event of an accident.