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 Straight Talk Information About Washington Auto Insurance 
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Post Straight Talk Information About Washington Auto Insurance
Straight Talk Information About Washington Auto Insurance
by: Jason Epstein

In Washington State, a driver must have at least $25,000 per person limit or $50,000 per occurrence limit for liability coverage in case he or she causes an auto accident.

The straight talk is that with minimum coverage, the most an insurance company will pay to an individual will be $25,000 and the most it will pay for any one accident, regardless of the number of people injured, is $50,000. If you have minimum limits, that means that the most your insurance company will ever pay to one person is $25,000 and it will pay no more than $50,000 collectively even if the total claims exceed this. These numbers are usually seen with a ‘/’ on your insurance policy. The above example would look like 25/50. The first number is the per person limit, then slash, then the per accident limit. The most common amounts are 25/50, 50/100. 100/300, and 300/500.

In Washington, insurance companies are obligated to offer other kinds of coverage. This includes personal injury protection (or PIP). This coverage will pay for medical bills, wage loss and other benefits that are caused by an auto accident. PIP coverage is “no fault,” meaning that even if you are at fault for an accident, you still get your PIP coverage. When you first purchase your policy, you can reject PIP coverage but the rejection must be in writing. Even if you reject PIP, you may be entitled to benefits if the company cannot produce your signed rejection on file.

Also, the insurance company must offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (also referred to as UIM/UM). This coverage will compensate you for damages caused by either an uninsured motorist, or an insured driver who does not have enough insurance to compensate you fully.

Like PIP, this coverage can be rejected by a signed waiver. The UIM/UM rejection must also be in writing or else the insurance company must provide you with the coverage. The limits of this insurance coverage will be equal to the amount of your liability insurance unless you state in writing that you want a different amount.

Most people do not know that you must reimburse any insurance company (PIP, Health Ins., L&I) that paid any benefits for you out of any money you get at settlement. This means that if your health insurance paid for your doctor visits, you have to reimburse them. If your PIP insurance paid for medical bills and or wage loss, you have to give them some money back, too. It’s called “subrogation” and it’s a right the insurance company has written into its contract. It is the law, and unfortunately, we do not have a choice. If you don’t reimburse them, they can sue you for the money, take your house, your wife and your dog. They often will file a “lien” against the settlement. However, the good news is that there are rules about when and how much they can take. Usually, you don’t have to pay them back the full amount they paid, and sometimes you don’t have to pay them back at all. It takes an experienced attorney to know how to handle these claims and protect your money.

About The Author
Jason Epstein is the founder of Straight Talk Law. For more free “Straight Talk Law” information, please visit the website at where you can order free books on personal injury lawyers, Washington auto accidents, auto insurance and other valuable legal information, offered as a public service by Jason and his law practice in Seattle, Washington.
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Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:36 am
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