1. It’s the Law.
Washington State law states that “no person may operate a motor vehicle… unless the person is insured under a motor vehicle policy with liability limits” of not less than twenty-five thousand dollars. The laws regarding this requirement are stated in RCW 46.30.020 and RCW 46.29.090. Further, the law requires that a driver be able to provide “written proof of financial responsibility” at the request of a law enforcement officer. A person must therefore not only carry insurance, but must also carry proof of insurance whenever they operate a motor vehicle. Failure to do so may result in a citation accompanied by a $250 fee.
2. It Protects You.
In 2009 alone, there were over 10.8 million motor vehicle accidents, according to the United States Census Bureau. Whether due to lack of experience, speeding or other risky behavior, or just inattention to driving, even the most careful drivers can find themselves at-fault for an accident at some point. In addition to the citation and fee discussed above, if you are found to be at-fault for an accident and don’t carry liability insurance at that time, you can be held personally and financially responsible for the property damage and medical expenses of the other driver and their passengers. Depending on the severity of the accident, this can quickly add up to tens of thousands of dollars. When a person carries insurance, a person’s insurance carrier handles claims on their behalf and the person pays nothing in addition to their regular insurance premiums. Carrying liability insurance as required by law protects a person from their own mistakes.
Additionally, by electing additional coverage as under an Uninsured Motorist (UIM) provision, insurance can protect a person when they are not at-fault and the person who is at-fault is not insured. By Carrying UIM insurance in addition to liability insurance, a driver can be assured that they are covered on all ends, in all situations.
3. It Protects Others.
The very reason that the law requires a person to carry auto insurance is to protect others. When a person is not at-fault for an accident, and carries only liability insurance as required by law, they depend on the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay for their damages. When the at-fault driver fails to carry insurance, the other driver is left with a damaged vehicle and bodily injuries, yet no way to pay for automobile repairs or medical treatment. In this situation, the other driver has few options aside from paying out of pocket. For a person with little or no expendable income, where that isn’t an option, they are likely to avoid seeking medical treatment regardless of how necessary it may be. A person who lives month-to-month can see their entire world fall apart when faced with this situation.
For each and every driver out there, it is absolutely essential to carry sufficient automobile insurance. Doing so is required by Washington State law, and protects all who may be involved in an accident.