What is uninsured or underinsured motorist protection? If you're hurt in an accident, the at fault driver might not have enough insurance to cover you. In those situations, you can turn to your own policy to help pay for those costs.
Everyone in Washington State has this coverage automatically included in their insurance policies, unless the policy holder chooses to opt out of it. State law requires insurance companies offer this protection to all drivers. The particular Washington State statute that describes this right is here.
How does this work? Here's an example. Let's say you are driving down the road, coming up on a four-way stop, such as in this video of a near-miss hit by a drunk driver. Imagine if the driver of the pick up had been hit. It's very clear that it was the stop sign runner who is at fault, and would have been easily established since the car behind the pick up happened to be a State Patrol person. An accident like that at very high speed is likely to have caused some catastrophic injuries and totaled the vehicle. Now let's say that the at-fault driver only carried a minimal $25,000 to cover anyone's injuries and damages caused by his or her negligence. It's easy to imagine that amount being used up very quickly. The law has determined that the injured party can use their own policy's coverage to help make up the difference. And this is where your uninsured/underinsured motorist protection comes in.
I have a few videos on this where I talk about what accident victims need to know about this protection:
A key issue to keep in mind if you decide to file a claim with your insurance company for uninsured/underinsured motorist protection
Here's how UIM insurance works
Filing this kind of claim can be very complicated, so it's best to consult with a personal injury attorney beforehand to make sure you're not making any costly mistakes. In the above-described scenario or other serious accidents, it's best that the injured person simply focus on healing and getting well, and let someone else do the legal work.
Wishing you safe travels on the roads, and don't ever hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments.