Opting Out in Washington: Beware of Being Cheap
Washington insurance offers incredible flexibility for people seeking auto accident coverage. Liability insurance and property damage insurance are of course mandatory. This is a guide about why you should opt into Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and under-insured/uninsured motorist coverage.
Personal Injury Protection and why you need itPersonal Injury Protection (PIP) is not mandatory in Washington. Every consumer can opt out in writing. This includes the ability to opt out when buying insurance through the internet. Personal injury protection provides the following minimum benefits: Up to $10,000 for reasonable and necessary medical expenses for each person injured in an auto accident. This is available for up to three years from the date of the accident in Washington. With personal injury protection you will have medical coverage with or without medical insurance. It is important because if you don't have personal injury protection then any treatment you have is subject to your deductible. Many tests that are common after a bad auto accident such as MRI or ct-scan will cost you $2,500 or more out of pocket. With personal injury protection, you don't have to worry about those initial costs.
But what if the other driver was at fault? Doesn't that driver's insurance company have to pay for my medical bills? Yes, they do. However, that is months or even years down the road. In the meantime, you are stuck with collection calls and having to deal with co-pays. Also, most personal injury protection plans are offered for around $4 a month. A small price to avoid $25 co-pays for physical therapy, $100 co-pays for the emergency room, and large deductible issues.
Under-insured and unisured motorist coverage and why you need itWhat about underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage? Why do you need that if everyone is required to have insurance? This is because a large portion of auto accident claims are for more than $25,000. Additionally, statistics show that 1 out of every 5 drivers does not have auto insurance at all and are driving illegally. If the person can't afford auto insurance, they are not going to be able to pay for your medical bills if they are in an auto accident with you. If they have minimum coverage of $25,000 and you have, for example, a broken arm that requires surgery, then the surgery and the follow up appointments will likely exceed the $25,000 limit, and you would be left with no money for pain and suffering. For about $10 a month, you can add this coverage to your auto accident policy.