Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance are additional layers of coverage offered by insurance companies in auto insurance policies to protect against the risk that an at-fault driver does not have liability insurance, or has liability limits that are too low to cover all medical expenses or damages.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance provides coverage to the insured when he or she is injured by another driver who does not have liability insurance. Uninsured Motorist coverage also covers “hit-and-run” accidents. Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance provides coverage when the insured is injured by another driver whose liability policy is insufficient to fully compensate the injured person. UM and UIM policies can also cover passengers and members of the insured household.
The importance of UM and UIM coverage cannot be understated. According to the Insurance Information Institute, approximately 13% of drivers do not have auto insurance. While the majority of drivers do carry liability insurance, many do not have large enough policies to cover injuries caused by a serious accident. The minimum amount of liability insurance required in Washington is only $25,000. Depending on the severity of the accident, this amount may not be enough to cover all of your medical expenses. By purchasing UM/UIM insurance, you may save yourself from having to pay for a car accident that was not your fault.
Insurance companies in Washington are required to provide UM/UIM coverage with all new liability policies, unless you sign a written rejection form waiving all or some of the coverage. For most individuals, purchasing this coverage should be a no-brainer: UM/UIM insurance protects you from financially irresponsible motorists.