Are you uncertain about what your auto policy covers or maybe even which coverage you should purchase? Has your insurance company denied coverage for property damage or medical bills after an accident?
Here are some helpful tips to guide you when dealing with an auto insurer:
Make sure you always purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM)
PIP coverage pays for medical expenses and wage loss after any accident, regardless of who is at fault. Even if you have health insurance, PIP coverage is great because there are no co-pays or deductibles. Also, it is universal coverage, so you can go to any provider you want. You’re not limited to the network of your health insurer.
Plus, it will cover some of your wage loss if you are unable to work for a period of time. UIM coverage is crucial in the event you are in a collision with an uninsured driver. The UIM coverage will pay for any damages the other driver would have been responsible for. Without UIM coverage, you could end up with a damaged car or huge medical bills and no way to pay for them.
Collision and comprehensive coverage: key coverage to consider
Collision coverage takes care of any property damage arising from a collision, regardless of fault. If you cause an accident, your property damage will only be covered if you have collision insurance. Also, even if the other driver is at fault, sorting that out can take time. Collision coverage ensures that your car will be repaired or replaced immediately.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your vehicle from things other than collisions. This includes damage from theft or vandalism, and even unusual things like hail damage or a tree branch falling on your car.
Generally, these coverages are worth having unless your car is very old or in poor condition and it would not be a significant loss to you if it were irreparably damaged and you did not receive any replacement funds.
Your insurance agent can be a great resource for you
Insurance Agents are sales people who achieve success by building long-term relationships with their customers and earning commissions from the policies and coverage they sell. They are often very knowledgeable and it is in their interest to keep you happy. If you have questions about your coverage, they should be very willing to take time to explain it to you.
Unlike Insurance Agents, Claim Adjusters who get assigned after a collision have no interest in keeping you happy. Their job is to keep your claim as small as possible and even deny the claim if they can find a reason. If a claim adjuster is not being responsive or it seems like they are taking an adverse approach to your claim, a call to your insurance agent can often speed things up.
Contact the Insurance Commissioner
If you are clearly being treated unfairly, Washington State has an Insurance Commissioner’s office that takes a very strong approach to protecting consumers’ rights. They will promptly investigate any complaint.
Here is where to file a complaint with the commissioner: https://www.insurance.wa.gov/file-complaint-or-check-your-complaint-status
Get assistance from Lehmbecker Law if you’ve been injured
Everyone who has been injured in a collision by another driver’s negligence should hire their own attorney. As mentioned above, you cannot expect claims adjusters to treat you in a fair or friendly manner. And while insurance agents are anxious to help, documenting the extent of an injured person’s damages or the value of their claim is beyond what they can help with.
That’s also true of the Insurance Commissioner’s office. They are great if you have been denied coverage outright, treated in a discriminatory fashion, or if the insurance company just won’t respond to you. But again, they cannot document your personal injury damages and losses for you, or take the insurance company to court to make them pay full and fair compensation.
You need an attorney with decades of motor vehicle personal injury accident experience to ensure you receive the full compensation you are entitled to under the law.
Call Lehmbecker Law at 425-455-3186 for a free consultation.