It costs quite a lot to drive. Buying even a used vehicle is a multi-thousand dollar investment, and then you have to pay licensing and registration fees. Insurance could add another $100 a month or more in many cases to the total cost to drive. Then, you have to maintain and fuel your vehicle.
On top of all of those costs is the unspoken, constant risk of a crash occurring. A collision might leave your vehicle unsafe to drive or could leave you unable to work. Drivers in Washington who get hurt in a collision or who need to fix their vehicle will typically want to file an insurance claim related to the collision.
When the other driver was to blame for the wreck, their liability coverage should pay for your expenses. What happens when insurance won’t cover enough of your costs?
State requirements leave much to be desired
In theory, mandatory liability insurance helps to guarantee that those hurt in a crash can receive necessary medical treatment and can replace their damaged vehicles. However, the amount of coverage required has remained stagnant for years and does not accurately reflect the average cost of a vehicle or of medical care.
While new vehicles now often cost $40,000 or more, Washington only requires that drivers have $10,000 in property damage coverage. You may not be able to repair your vehicle with that much money if it suffered massive damage, let alone purchase a comparable vehicle.
The required medical coverage is even more of a concern despite having higher basic requirements. Washington only mandates $25, 000 of injury-related liability coverage per person hurt or $50,000 per crash, which may not even be enough for someone’s initial trauma care, let alone years of lost wages and months of intensive medical support.
Your options other than liability coverage
Many drivers in Washington protect themselves from the risk on the road by augmenting their own insurance policies. When you have uninsured and underinsured motorist protection, you could make a claim against your own policy when someone else is to blame for a wreck but cannot fully reimburse you for your expenses.
State law permits personal injury lawsuits in scenarios where one person causes a crash through misconduct or negligence and does not have adequate insurance. Although many people dislike the idea of seeming litigious, taking someone to court when they hurt you but can’t reimburse you is not a frivolous action. It may be necessary to defray your costs from the wreck.
Learning more about what protects you after a motor vehicle collision can take some of the stress out of your post-crash recovery period.