You may be covered, even if you didn’t pay for it.
Uninsured motorist coverage can come in very handy. The coverage is used in situations where the driver who caused an accident is operating a vehicle without insurance.
Despite mandatory insurance laws in both Oregon and Washington, the state regulatory agencies estimate that close to one fourth of all drivers on the road don’t carry insurance. If they violate traffic safety laws and cause damage to your car or physical injury, despite the legal obligation to pay, all you may get is an apology.
True, an officer may issue a citation for driving without insurance and the charge may result in their license being suspended. However, many of these drivers will take to the road anyway, either caring less about the law and their legal responsibilities or having no choice but to do so in order to stay employed.
Many people just don’t have the money to buy insurance, particularly in a down economy. And with our mobile society and the limited public transportation options available, many people have to make difficult choices when it comes to getting around. Which is why it is so important to carry adequate limits of uninsured motorist coverage.
Oregon requires this coverage on every auto policy sold in the state. If you insure your car in Oregon, you have this coverage. Washington does not. Washington treats it like an option. However, the state does feel it’s very important for drivers to consider purchasing the coverage.
Laws in Washington require every insurance agent to offer it to you as part of a package when you buy insurance. In fact, Washington feels the coverage is so important, they require the insurance salesperson make you sign a rejection form if you decline to purchase the coverage. The law applies to companies who sell the coverage online too.
Many people unfortunately take this route, believing the other car will have insurance to cover their losses if they get in a wreck. This decision is often regretted. However, if you do find yourself in this mess, there is a little known legal maneuver lawyers who specialize in this area use to get you the coverage after the fact.
It has to do with the requirement that insurance companies must maintain the written rejection as a permanent part of your insurance file. The law in Washington requires the company cover you for an accident caused by an uninsured driver if they can’t produce the signed rejection from your file.
The first thing a lawyer will do in one of these cases is demand the company produce the written rejection. Insurance companies make mistakes and sometimes these files are not properly maintained. If they can’t produce it, the law requires the company provide uninsured motorist benefits on the claim, even if you didn’t pay for it.