1. What is the required auto insurance coverage of State of Washington?
The auto insurance policy must have limits of at least:
- $25,000 of bodily injury or death of 1 person in any 1 accident.
- $50,000 of bodily injury or death of any 2 people in any 1 accident.
- $10,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any 1 accident.
Required proof of auto insurance
Any time you drive in Washington, you must be prepared to show your auto insurance identification card to law enforcement. You will get this identification card from your auto insurance company when you buy a policy. The card must include all of the following:
- Name of the insurance company.
- Policy number.
- Effective date of the policy.
- Expiration date of the policy.
- Description of the year, make, or model of the insured vehicles, or the name of the insured driver. The word “fleet” may be used for more than 5 vehicles owned by the same person or business.
Failing to show this proof of insurance is a traffic infraction. Knowingly providing false evidence of coverage is a misdemeanor.
2. Do I have to purchase the Personal Injury Protection Coverage for my auto insurance?
If your current health insurance plan provides minimal coverage, you may want to consider supplementing it with a personal injury protection (PIP) policy. This way, if you’re injured in an auto accident your subsequent medical bills will be covered.
Personal injury protection covers―up to the policy limits―the following:
- Injuries sustained in a car accident, regardless of fault.
- Injury-related costs like day care, lawn maintenance, and travel costs to medical facilities.
- Lost wages.
- Funeral expenses.
Currently PIP is required in Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Washington D.C. In all other states it’s either optional or not available.
Supplementing Health Insurance With Personal Injury Protection
The no-fault nature of PIP makes it a smart supplement to limited health insurance coverage.
If, for instance, you sustain injuries in a car accident, your personal injury auto insurance will cover you―up to the designated limits―even if your negligence caused the car accident. This means prompt medical payments and peace of mind.
Unlike health insurance coverage, PIP will also compensate you for income you lose while recovering from injuries. Plus, personal injury protection will pay the medical costs of all injured passengers. If you’re a young parent, this is especially beneficial knowing all of your family members will be covered with adequate health insurance protection.
This is not to say you should substitute medical coverage with PIP, but instead to use it as an additional safety net. Especially if your health insurance coverage is inadequate at best. Compared to liability car insurance coverage, PIP is relatively inexpensive, allowing you to maximize coverage without breaking the bank.
When deciding on PIP coverage, weigh the following:
- Do you have health insurance? If no, PIP is a must.
- How extensive is your health insurance plan? If you maintain minimum protection, consider maximizing your PIP coverage.
- Do you have a family and often drive with family members in the vehicle?
NOTE: If your current health insurance plan provides maximum protection, you may want to think twice about buying personal injury protection. Otherwise, you may have insurance overlap; paying for coverage you do not need. Or, if you reside in a state that mandates PIP, only purchase the minimum amounts required for compliance purposes.