Answering Your Auto Insurance Questions
Getting auto insurance is a difficult chore, whether you’ve been driving for years or have just gotten your license. Insurance companies have their own language, which can be confusing to those who are not in the industry. All the while, they pressure new customers to buy more insurance so that the companies can make bigger profits – and try to minimize payouts to people who get into accidents.
Experienced motorists know the routine that’s supposed to take place after a collision: Assess your injuries and receive medical attention if necessary, file a police report, exchange insurance information with the other drivers, etc. We may assume that everyone in Seattle has insurance coverage, but this is far from true. It’s unfortunate, but many people on the road drive with inadequate insurance or none at all. This can cause major issues for accident victims who need coverage for damages.
If you encounter this issue after a motor vehicle accident in Washington, our attorneys at Pendergast Law can explain your options to you. Give us a call at 888-539-9211 if you have questions.
I hired Mr. Pendergast to represent me after I was in a bad car accident last year. He and his staff are wonderful. They took all of the stress of dealing with the insurance companies away and let me get on with recovering from my injuries…
– Brent H., Marysville, WA
What Are The Auto Insurance Requirements In Washington State?
Washington insurance requirements give drivers three options:
- Carry liability insurance with minimum coverage of:
- $25,000 for injury or death of another person
- $50,000 for injury or death of all other people
- $10,000 for property damage
- Get a certificate of deposit for a minimum of $60,000 to pay for your liability insurance.
- Have a liability bond of a minimum of $60,000.
Other drivers who have additional considerations to think about include:
- The self-insured: If a person owns 26 or more noncommercial vehicles, they may qualify for self-insurance. To find out if you qualify, contact:
Department of Licensing
P.O. Box 9030
Olympia, WA 98507-9030
- Uber and Lyft drivers: Driving for Uber or Lyft can be profitable for people wanting to be their own boss or supplement their income. While both Lyft and Uber insure their drivers with $1 million in coverage, it’s important that drivers first check with their own car insurance companies, because there are many gray areas in which Uber and Lyft’s coverages don’t apply.
- Commercial truck drivers: Commercial truck drivers face a lot of insurance issues. For workers who drive for a company, the truck will likely be owned by the company, and the company will pay for insurance while the driver is on the job. If a truck driver is self-employed and owns their own truck, they will have to purchase their own commercial truck insurance.
- Underinsured and uninsured drivers: While the law does set out minimum requirements for car insurance coverage, not all drivers purchase that insurance before heading out on the road. For this reason, drivers may choose to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in case they’re in accidents with these lawless drivers.
When Does UM/UIM Coverage Apply In Washington?
Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) policies may provide victims of car accidents with coverage in the following situations:
- The at-fault driver has no auto insurance.
- The at-fault driver does not have sufficient auto insurance.
- The accident involved a hit and run or phantom vehicle.
Washington state law does not require drivers to purchase UM/UIM coverage, but insurance companies must make it available to customers. If your accident involved any of the above scenarios, our attorneys can review your insurance policy to determine whether filing a claim is an option for you.
Consult with your attorney before you speak with the insurance adjuster about your claim. You will need professional advice in order to ensure that you get the maximum coverage you deserve.
Insurance Fair Conduct Act
Recently, Washington took measures to protect drivers who are unfairly denied insurance benefits by their insurance company. Insurance companies want to pay as little as possible in benefits, because paying more takes away from their profits. Under the Insurance Fair Conduct Act, legal action can be taken against an insurance company that unfairly denies a claim or makes an unfair settlement in a claim.
Speak With An Attorney Today
If you’ve been in an accident and feel as though you’ve been treated unfairly by your insurance company, or if you’ve been in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact our Seattle car accident attorneys at Pendergast Law. Call 888-539-9211 for a free consultation or contact us online. You may feel as if you have no financial options when it comes to covering medical expenses and other damages. However, with our assistance, you may be exposed to new pathways to coverage that you had not even considered and get what you need for recovery.