What do you do when your car has been damaged in an accident and you need to get around. Whether your car is a total loss or whether it can be repaired, you still need some alternative method of transportation while you are without a vehicle. If the wreck was caused by the other driver, they are responsible to provide you a rental car while your car is in the shop or until your total loss claim is resolved, but what if they don't have insurance? Even if they do have insurance, their insurance company may choose to engage in a lengthy investigation on liability, delaying any payments. But you need a car now. What can you do?
Earlier this week I posted about being hit by a Canadian driver on Washington roads. While being hit by a foreign national can be inconvenient, at least you can be pretty certain that a Canadian driver has auto insurance, and probably pretty good coverage too. Sadly, the same can't be said for U.S. drivers. Although Washington law requires that all drivers carry at least $25,000 in liability insurance, nearly twenty percent of Washington drivers have no insurance at all. So if you get injured in a crash caused by an uninsured driver in Washington, what can you do?
As a border state, Washington has a high level of interaction with British Columbia, Canada. Canadian trucking companies routinely travel on Washington highways, and Canadian drivers come to Washington for recreation and business. But Canadian laws regarding liability and car insurance are very different than Washington laws. What happens when you are hit by a Canadian driver here in Washington? And what happens if you are a visiting Canadian hit by a Washington driver? Who can help you?
As I discussed in my previous entry, I have given up my car and have been commuting using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft and car sharing services like Car2Go and ReachNow. Overall I have found the experience to be liberating and relaxing. As an added benefit, I'm saving money and helping the environment. But what about insurance coverage? As a personal injury lawyer, I am acutely aware of the need for adequate coverage whenever you are in a motor vehicle. What are the issues you need to know about when using rideshare and car sharing services?
Do you know what your auto insurance coverage is? Do you know how much your limits are? If you do, you're the exception. When I speak to groups and ask this question, usually less than 10 percent of the people raise their hands. The first step in optimizing your insurance coverage is to know what you already have.