Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers
Although there are laws in place in all 50 states requiring drivers to carry insurance, it is estimated that in Washington State, nearly 20% of all drivers do not have insurance, making it the seventh-worst state in the entire nation for uninsured drivers. When an insured driver has their own automobile coverage, they can pay a deductible and make a claim on their own policy. In most cases, their insurance company will seek reimbursement from the uninsured driver. The issue, however, is that if there are any injuries or property damage, there is no coverage for that.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
This is where uninsured motorist coverage comes in. Uninsured motorist coverage is a rider that policyholders can have added on to their auto insurance policy that will pay for any injuries they sustain or damage to their property in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver. Another reason that uninsured motorist coverage is important is that hit-and-run drivers are also considered to be uninsured motorists. If someone hits your car in the middle of the night or gets into an accident with you and flees the scene before information can be exchanged, you would have to pay out of pocket without uninsured motorist coverage. One final reason that uninsured motorist coverage is important is if the other person’s insurance company simply refuses to pay the claim. This is one more situation that results in the same outcome as another driver simply not having any insurance at all. With uninsured motorist protection, you would still be covered.
What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Similar to uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage works much the same way. While most states have a certain minimum amount of coverage drivers need to carry, not all do. If the other driver does not carry insurance with coverage limits high enough to cover all of the costs of the accident, you would be left paying the rest, or you would have to try and take them to court to get compensation. For instance, if you drive a car that is valued at $35,000, but the other driver only has $25,000 worth of insurance coverage, then your underinsured motorist coverage would kick in to cover the gap. Uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage is a particularly important insurance to carry in any state where there are a high number of drivers driving without insurance. This would include Washington State.