Let's admit that at first brush auto insurance can be a bit confusing. While most people recognize the need for liability insurance, we often get questions about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. What is it? Why do I need it? I want to take a few minutes to address those concerns.
First, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (let's just call it UIM) steps in when an accident happens to you. Your liability coverage is for when you cause, or are liable for, an auto accident. But if you are found not liable that coverage doesn't apply. Rather, it should be the opposing party - the person responsible for the accident - whose insurance will step in to pay medical or repair bills. Let's say this accident was pretty severe...and the person that hit either has no insurance or not nearly enough? That situation - where there just simply isn't enough coverage, or no coverage at all - is when the UIM coverage on your policy factors into the equation.
If you think about the fact that around 16% of drivers in Washington are uninsured this becomes a very important part of your insurance policy. That means that out of the six cars you see on the road, one doesn't carry any auto insurance (yes, they are in violation of the law, but that's a discussion for a different day). If they hit you, and you don't carry the UIM coverage you may well be on the hook for medical and repair bills. But if you carry UIM coverage (usually at the limits you have for your liability) then you can proceed with the claim as you normally would. Depending on your policy you may even have a lower deductible for these types of claims.
Another thing to consider is the rising costs of medical bills and repairs to cars. Of the remaining 84% of drivers who are insured, there's no statistic to determine how many of them have enough insurance to cover the accidents they may cause. The state minimum limits when compared to the costs of hospitalization are really not all that significant. The state minimum limits are $25,000 per person, maximum $50,000 per accident for bodily injury (including hospitalization and medical expenses) and $10,000 for property damage. If you have a car full of people who end up with assorted injuries...how far do you think $50,000 is really going to go? Or in the case of one person with a lingering injury, what about that $25,000? This is why we also recommend underinsured motorist coverage. Then should you be the victim of an accident where the responsible party does have insurance, but it doesn't sufficiently heal you or put your vehicle back together, this can protect you.
This is quite a bit of information to present, but should you have any questions, please call our office. We are always happy to discuss coverages - that's why you choose to work with us!