Drivers purchasing insurance in Washington must be offered Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Uninsured motorist protection (UIM). Many drivers fail to obtain these two most important types of coverage. Why are these coverages important? PIP is important because it pays for medical care and wage loss subject to the limitations purchased. PIP works more efficiently than health insurance and does not have co-pays, deductibles, or limitations on the number of visits. It also pays for a limited amount of wage loss. Additionally, PIP provides your attorney with an opportunity to enhance your overall settlement because of the manner in which repayment of medical bills and insurance law intertwines in Washington.
UIM insurance is that type of insurance that provides coverage to compensate you for your injuries in the event that the negligent driver did not have any liability insurance or not enough liability insurance. UIM protects you and anyone in your vehicle and should always be obtained.
Because these types of insurance are not big money makers for the insurance industry they are not pushed by brokers. Often they are not well-understood by brokers either. Washington State has deemed these coverages to be so important, however, that in order to not have them on your policy, you must make an informed written declination of each coverage. We cannot recommend enough having both coverages and for as high an amount as you can reasonably afford and obtain. Again, these coverages are specifically to protect you and anyone who uses or rides in your vehicles.
Please see the Washington administrative code discussing the written waivers below:
Mandatory offering of personal injury protection and required language when underinsured motorist coverage is rejected.
(1) Insurers issuing an automobile liability insurance policy must offer the minimum personal injury protection coverage limits required in RCW 48.22.095, and must make available, if requested, additional personal injury protection limits as defined in RCW 48.22.100. Insurers may also offer other personal injury protection limits, in addition to these required offerings.
(2) If the named insured rejects personal injury protection coverage, the insurer must promptly delete the coverage after the insurer receives the rejection notice from the named insured. The insurer must retain a copy of the rejection notice or request to delete coverage with the policy record.
(3) The written rejection of underinsured motorist coverage, as allowed by RCW 48.22.030(4), must include the following statement, “In order to provide for an informed decision of the potential consequences of rejecting underinsured motorist coverage; the undersigned acknowledges that by rejecting underinsured motorist coverage there is exposure to the risk of not being sufficiently insured for injury and/or damages when involved in an accident with a driver of an underinsured vehicle.” Such notice shall be prominently placed above the signature area and be bold.
(4) Insurers may use electronic forms, electronic signatures and electronic attestations, in accordance with 15 U.S.C. Sec. 7001, to comply with this rule. The insurer must maintain an auditable compliance record and provide this information to the commissioner upon request.
(5) This section does not apply to corporations, partnerships, or any other nonhuman entity named as the insured.
Underinsured, hit-and-run, phantom vehicle coverage to be provided—Purpose—Definitions—Exceptions—Conditions—Deductibles—Information on motorcycle or motor-driven cycle coverage—Intended victims.
A named insured or spouse may reject, in writing, underinsured coverage for bodily injury or death, or property damage, and the requirements of subsections (2) and (3) of this section shall not apply. If a named insured or spouse has rejected underinsured coverage, such coverage shall not be included in any supplemental or renewal policy unless a named insured or spouse subsequently requests such coverage in writing. The requirement of a written rejection under this subsection shall apply only to the original issuance of policies issued after July 24, 1983, and not to any renewal or replacement policy. When a named insured or spouse chooses a property damage coverage that is less than the insured’s third party liability coverage for property damage, a written rejection is not required.
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