Your auto insurance is really a package of several primary coverages, which together make up a standard auto policy. Each of these coverages has its own separate premium. There also are other add-on coverages.
Bodily Injury Liability
This provides protection if you injure or kill someone while operating your car. This is coverage you want to keep at a consistent level, even as your car gets older and declines in value. In the event of a serious accident, you want enough insurance (higher limits) to protect assets that may become subject to a lawsuit. This coverage is mandatory in Washington State for a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Property Damage Liability
This provides protection for the damage you cause to the property of others. Although this coverage is mandatory in Washington State for a minimum limit of $10,000, it is important to keep in mind that there are many autos that you could severely damage or even cause total loss that have a value in excess of $10,000.
Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury (UIM BI)
This pays for injuries caused to you and your passengers by an uninsured driver, an unknown driver (hit and run) or someone not carrying enough coverage to pay the losses.
Why do we buy uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when Washington State law requires all drivers to be insured?
Unfortunately, there are a small percentage of drivers who are not insured. Some individuals just choose to "risk it" while others may not have sent in their insurance payment on time or by some oversight have allowed their policy to lapse. We must protect ourselves in case we are involved in an accident caused by one of these drivers. It is also possible that even an insured driver may not have enough coverage to pay all of your property damage or medical costs.
This coverage is generally recommended but not mandatory and can be rejected by your signed acknowledgement.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UIM PD)
This pays for damage caused by individuals described in the UIM BI section who cause damage to your auto or other property. It is written only in conjunction with UIM BI but is also not mandatory and can be rejected by your signed acknowledgement. You should always carry a limit as high as the maximum value of your most expensive auto.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)/Medical Payments
This coverage is not intended to cover 100% of your medical needs. Although state law now requires companies to offer PIP up to $35,000, this still may not cover the extent of your injuries and those of your passengers. We recommend additional personal medical insurance either through a group (such as your employer) or an individual plan.
This coverage although generally recommended is not mandatory in Washington State and can be rejected by your signed acknowledgement.
This pays for damage by collision or upset to your auto regardless of who causes the accident. The cost of this coverage can be reduced by increasing the minimum deductible which varies among the companies. This coverage is not mandatory and should be reviewed with your agent each renewal period as your auto decreases in value with age.
This pays for damage to your vehicle caused by an event other than collision or upset, such as fire, theft, glass breakage or vandalism. Most companies offer this coverage only in conjunction with collision but there are exceptions.
The cost of this coverage can be reduced by increasing the minimum deductible which varies among the companies. This coverage is not mandatory and should be reviewed with your agent each renewal period as your auto decreases in value with age.
Coverage for a rental car while your auto is being repaired due to a covered loss is available through some companies. Ask your agent to inform you of the availability, coverage and cost with the specific company the agent is quoting.
Towing and Labor
This emergency road service coverage usually inclues fuel outages, stuck in mud/snow, lock out and flat tires etc. It covers the labor only at the site of the breakdown. It does not cover materials such as gas, tire patches, etc. Some companies do not offer this coverage.