An auto accident can easily result in tens of thousands in medical bills, and sometimes much more. Despite compulsory insurance laws, nearly 14% of U.S. drivers have no auto insurance. In Washington the rate is even higher.
If you do get hurt, health insurance is expensive and co-pays, deductibles and exclusions make it increasingly difficult for people to get the care they need following an accident.
How can drivers protect themselves from the often devastating financial impact that results from a car accident with an uninsured driver?
There are two excellent ways to do this: personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. PIP coverage pays for all reasonable and necessary accident-related medical bills regardless of who caused the accident. UM coverage provides you a recovery for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering when the person who caused the accident has no insurance.
Under Washington law, anyone who purchases auto insurance is presumed to have uninsured motorist (UM) and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, unless they have waived such coverage in writing, but most people don’t know whether they have this coverage or not.
Even if you waived PIP and UM coverage 10 years ago or more, your waiver remains in effect each year your policy renews – even if you got a new vehicle.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients come to my office telling me they have “full coverage” only to find that they waived their PIP and UM coverage years earlier. The only way to know for sure is to check your declaration page or to call your insurance company.
This is simply too important to wait until you’re in an accident to find out. Call your insurance company right now and make sure you have PIP and UM coverage. If you don’t, add it immediately and insist on written confirmation.
And if you have any questions regarding personal injury, insurance coverage, or anything else, please check out our or give us a call.