Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In order to legally drive on the roads here in Washington, a driver is required to carry auto liability coverage and have proof of auto insurance. Auto liability coverage is the coverage that pays for the other driver's injuries and property damage if the insured was found liable in an accident.
But did you know? The Insurance Information Institute estimated that 17.4% of drivers in Washington state drove without insurance in 2015. This percentage is significantly higher than the national average of 13% and ranks Washington at #7 in the country with the most uninsured drivers.
How does uninsured motorist coverage work?
If you happen to be in an accident where the other driver is responsible but he or she does not have an active insurance policy in place, the uninsured motorist coverage on your insurance policy will cover for your car repairs and your injuries from the accident.
Without uninsured motorist coverage, if you were hit by someone without insurance, you would have to use your own collision coverage to fix your car damages and personal injury protection coverage to visit the doctor for injuries. If you didn’t carry collision or PIP coverage, you would have to independently pursue any accident-related costs directly from the responsible driver.
Covers underinsured drivers
Uninsured motorists coverage will also take care of you if the other driver does not carry enough insurance such as if he or she only purchased the state-mandated coverage amount. This is why you will see the coverage named uninsured/underinsured motorists on some policies.
In Washington State, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 coverage for damages to the other person's property. If you have a late model luxury vehicle, $10,000 is likely below the cost to fix significant damages to your car, and certainly below the cost to replace your car if it was totaled.
There is a deductible
For all uninsured claims, there will be a standard $100 deductible which is your out-of-pocket expense for the claim. You may receive reimbursement of the $100 deductible if your insurance company is successful in recovering the claim payout from the responsible driver.
Does the policy cover hit-and-run accidents?
Uninsured motorist coverage also provides the peace of mind of protecting you in a hit-and-run accident.
Hit-and-run accidents happen most commonly in parking lots, often during your trip to a store or a restaurant. It can be very frustrating to return from a store and find damages to your car, and then realize that the other driver had taken off without leaving a note.
Other common hit-and-run accidents examples are:
If any of these scenarios happen to you, contact your insurance agent right away to file a claim. With uninsured motorists coverage, your insurance company will take care of the repair of damages to your car.
There may be a deductible
What if I want to opt out of uninsured motorist coverage?
Per Washington state law, insurance professionals are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage to all customers.
If you choose to opt out of this coverage, you will need to sign a waiver acknowledgement form.
What if I didn't sign the waiver form?
Because uninsured motorist coverage is required in Washington, without signing a waiver form, even if you requested to not have the coverage, insurance companies may still require you to have it on your policy.