Due to the pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued, a high number of Americans are yet unemployed. And since most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, this leaves people having to make tough choices. Do you make an Auto Insurance Payment or pay Rent? Do you make an Auto Insurance Payment or pay for Groceries? Usually making an auto insurance payment is lower on the totem pole of priorities for most individuals when it comes to food and rent. As such, insurance payments are missed and after some notices – the insurance company drops coverage.
Washington State has the 5th Highest Rate of Uninsured Drivers
According to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), in 2019, 21.7% of drivers in Washington State were uninsured. That’s one out of five drivers. The national average was far less at 12.6% of motorists, or about one in eight drivers was uninsured. Washington had the fifth highest uninsured drivers in the country, after Mississippi (29.4%), Michigan (25.5%), Tennessee (23.7%), and New Mexico (21.8%). This was the situation pre-pandemic. Now, post-pandemic, there are likely much more uninsured motorist drivers on the road. I wouldn’t be surprised if the uninsured rates are closer to 50% of all drivers. With all this said, we need to protect ourselves by getting better auto insurance coverage.
Do you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage?
Check your auto insurance declaration page and make sure you have Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage. When you have UM coverage, your auto insurance carrier will act as if they insure the at-fault driver by allowing you to make a claim under your own policy for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. UIM coverage will kick in and pay you for your losses if the at-fault driver does not have enough liability coverage, or is “under”-insured. Your UM/UIM coverage will also cover you if you get hit by an uninsured, or an underinsured, vehicle while you are a pedestrian, on a bicycle or a scooter. Last, in our state making a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will not cause your insurance premiums to go up. RCW 46.52.130(2)(e)(iii).
Here is the Minimum Insurance Coverage Amounts We Recommend
One point of which to be aware is that your UM/UIM coverage cannot be higher than your liability limits. Here are the minimum coverage amounts that we, Kode Law Firm, recommend:
– We suggest that all Washingtonians get at least $100,000 per person/$300,000 per collision liability and UM/UIM coverage to protect themselves and their families.
– If the family income is more than $100,000 per year, we suggest you increase your limits to $250,000/$500,000.
– For even higher-income earners, we recommend that you seriously consider purchasing an Umbrella Policy that includes large UM/UIM limits. Most umbrella policies do not include UM/UIM coverage so be sure to specifically ask your insurance agent. The cost of an Umbrella Policy with 1 Million UM/UIM coverage is usually around $300-$400 per year.
I decided to write this post because we have been seeing a huge increase of uninsured drivers causing collisions, and we don’t want you and your family to have to suffer the financial consequences as a result of someone else’s mistake. If you have any questions regarding insurance coverage, or an auto claim, please feel free to contact us. We are here to help.