Insurance companies are hard to deal with when you need to make a claim. They don’t make the process easy. They don’t always pay the bills they should pay. They don’t always make fair offers to resolve claims. They often delay, deny, and defend legitimate claims to boost their corporate profits. It is no surprise that insurance company are disliked by almost everyone.
Despite being disliked, most people should buy more insurance. The title of this article should probably read “Adequate Auto Insurance: A Necessary Evil” because just having auto insurance is not enough to protect you. Having adequate auto insurance can be the difference between escaping an accident relatively intact financially and being forced into bankruptcy.
Even though it is against the law to drive a vehicle in Washington without insurance there are far too many people on the road without insurance. In fact, according to the Insurance Research Council, 16% of the drivers on the roads in Washington do not have insurance. That means if you are involved in a collision there is at least a 1 in 6 chance that the other driver does not have insurance. The actual probability of being hit by an uninsured driver is probably great than 1 in 6 because the same people who are irresponsible enough to drive without insurance are also irresponsible on the roads. They may have been involved in several accidents or received several tickets and now cannot afford insurance. Do not let them destroy your life too.
Even if a person who injures you in a motor vehicle collision has insurance, they probably do not have adequate insurance. The minimum liability coverage that an insurance company must offer to a resident of Washington is $25,000. With the skyrocketing cost of medical care, $25,000 is not enough for most motor vehicle injuries. Even a “minor impact” collision can cause substantial harm both physically and financially. Most of our clients who are involved in rear-end collisions with relatively minor damage to the vehicles suffer back and or neck injuries. They typically treat with a combination of chiropractic care, massage therapy, or physical therapy. Just a few months of treatment can costs more than $5,000.
More serious injuries can cause the medical bills to skyrocket quickly. Just an initial visit to the ER with a CT scan or MRI will likely exceed $10,000. Any time a person is admitted to a hospital or needs surgery, the cost can quickly become too much for any middle class family to bear. With the right insurance coverage, however, those bills can be an afterthought and you can focus on your recovery.
When deciding what coverage to get, always error on the side of more. A policy with $35,000 in Personal Injury Protection is a good start. The Undersinsured Motorist Coverage should be at least $100,000 but $250,000 is much better. Never settle for the minimum policy even if it saves you a little money up front. No one expects to be involved in a collision but if you are, it is nice to know that you have a policy that can take care of your finances so you can take care of you.
Unfortunately just having the right coverage does not always mean you will be compensated. Stopping your insurance company from delaying, denying, or defending your legitimate claims is a subject that is too complex for this short blog post. If you have questions about forcing your insurance company to keep up their end of the bargain, please give us a call. Protecting the rights of the injured is all we do at Sadler Ladenburg.