Washington state law requires that all drivers of cars and motorcycles have liability insurance and proof of auto insurance. While uninsured motorist (UM) coverage isn't mandatory in Washington, it can protect you and your passengers if the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance or if you're the victim of a hit and run. These are the coverages that protect you, your passengers and your car, so it's your choice if you want to protect yourself. You can (and in some situations should) have more coverage to protect yourself if a serious accident causes injuries or significant damage to the vehicle.
So what is liability coverage? It pays for medical bills, property damage bills, and other expenses for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who are injured or damaged to their vehicle in a car accident that you cause, up to coverage limits. You'll need different (additional) coverage for that if you're involved in a car accident and no other person's coverage applies to your losses. Your insurance company sends you a proof of insurance card when you start or renew your car or motorcycle policy. Read on to learn the details of Washington's auto insurance rules, how coverage is likely to affect a car accident case, and the types of penalties you can expect if you drive uninsured in the state of Washington.
Washington, like most states, requires vehicle owners and drivers to maintain certain types and amounts of insurance coverage, or to otherwise demonstrate financial responsibility for a potential car accident. For example, collision coverage (optional in Washington, although it may be required under the terms of a vehicle lease or financing agreement) can pay for repairs (or replacement) of the damaged vehicle after a car accident. After a car accident in a no-fault state, you must use the personal injury protection coverage of your own auto insurance policy to pay for medical bills and other losses out of pocket, regardless of who caused the accident. This means that the person who was at fault for causing the car accident is also responsible for any resulting damage (from a practical point of view, the at-fault driver's insurance company will absorb these losses, up to the limits of the policy).
Not only are Washington drivers required to have auto liability insurance, but it's also a smart way to protect you and your assets. Remember that, although insurance is not mandatory for the vehicles listed, you may be held responsible for damage or injuries that result from the negligent use of these vehicles. Remember that liability coverage does not apply to your own injuries or damage to the vehicle after a car accident in Washington. If you are found at fault in an accident and the bills exceed the limits of the insurance you purchased, you are responsible for the rest.
Once the policy limits are exhausted, you personally find yourself in financial distress, so higher insurance limits can help protect your personal assets in the event of a serious accident.