“Full Coverage” What does that mean and do I have the right coverage if I’m in a car accident?
A lot of people are told by their insurance company they have “full coverage,” but what does that really mean? It doesn’t mean much actually…many times clients tell me they have full coverage and we obtain a declaration of coverage page (see attached photo as an example of a “DEC” page) and it shows that the client only has liability or has excluded many types of coverage. It is important to discuss these issues BEFORE an accident with your insurance agent so you are protected in the case of an accident.
In Washington State, you are required by law to have the following coverage:
- Liability for the following:
- $25,000.00 for injuries or death per person
- $50,000.00 for injuries or death per accident
- $10,000.00 for property damage.
- Liability is coverage that covers YOU or any other listed insured or a permissive driver if they CAUSE an accident.
As you can see, this is not a tremendous amount of coverage that is required. This is why it is so important to make sure you have your own policy with the correct coverages. MANY people are driving uninsured or with the minimum limits.
Additional coverage that helps significantly in an accident is:
- Collision: Coverage that pays for property damage to your vehicle if you are involved in an accident.
- This is important and used frequently as MANY insurance companies fight liability or drag their feet to delay a liability decision. In some cases, it is much more convenient to use your own coverage for vehicle repairs. Many insurance companies now waive the deductible in these situations if it is a clear case of liability and the at-fault party is dragging their feet.
- Comprehensive Coverage: This allows you to seek reimbursement for the loss of your vehicle and property due to theft or damage to your vehicle. (Think tree falling on your car in the driveway)
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Coverage for both property damage and bodily injury that covers you if you are hit by an uninsured or UNDERinsured driver.
- PIP Coverage: Pays for Medical Expenses, Wage Loss, and Essential Services if you are injured as a result of a car accident.
- Rental Reimbursement: If the at-fault party does not provide you with a rental car immediately after the accident, you can use your own coverage to provide a rental vehicle.
- Gap coverage: This coverage helps in a situation where there is a gap between the actual value of your vehicle and the loan amount. If your car is rendered a total loss-this coverage is also frequently sold by the auto dealerships or finance companies.