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Washington Auto Insurance Rules and Regulations

Washington auto insurance rules and regulations are set into place to guide Washington state residents in the choices they make regarding their car insurance policies. The auto insurance laws of the state only mandate minimum coverage, so drivers are free to exceed these minimums if they so choose. But every driver must legally abide by the set of rules and regulations making up the state's auto insurance law. Financial responsibility is the law in Washington, as it is in many other states. Drivers must be able to sufficiently demonstrate the ability to take care of their financial responsibilities in the law's eyes in the case of an accident. There are a few different ways to go about doing this, but most choose the simplest and least expensive route.

Liability Auto Insurance in WA

In order to legally drive a vehicle on state roads, motorists must have some sort of proof of financial responsibility. Basically, the reasoning behind this requirement is to make sure that each driver is able to take care of his or her financial obligations in the event of an at fault accident. There are certain options for drivers to meet their end of the bargain, but most simply opt for a liability insurance policy. This option does not require significant up front capital, which makes it an attractive choice for the vast majority of us in Washington.

For those of us who do wish to explore these other options, they are as follows. A Washington motorist could leave a certificate of deposit for $60,000 with the State Treasurer's office; file a liability bond for that same amount with a state certified surety bond provider; or self insure. This final option is only for individuals or companies with at least 26 cars titled in their name [1].

Split Form Auto Liability Insurance

For those of us who only own a few cars and who do not have thousands of dollars in cash available, liability insurance is our only realistic option. Washington uses split form auto liability insurance, which means every policy is divided into three parts. The advantage is the lower cost versus a single limit policy, but the savings come from the fact that each of the three parts has its own limits and its own deductible. So a policy holder could potentially pay three different deductibles just for one liability claim.

The first part of a WA auto liability plan is for single victim bodily injury. It deals with the cost of medical care and other associated expenses for a single injured party in an accident. This part of your plan would be appropriate if you got into a crash with just one other car and that car had only a single driver and no passengers, or only one occupant of that car was injured. The minimum limits of coverage for single victim bodily injury liability are $25,000. When there are multiple victims injured, the second part of the policy kicks in, which is multiple victim bodily injury liability. The limits for that area of coverage are $50,000 [1].

Rounding out a liability auto insurance plan is property damage coverage. This covers not only auto damage to other vehicles, but any other property damage you might cause as a negligent driver in an accident. For example, you might run off the road and hit a fence and be found liable for the cost of repair. Your property damage liability insurance would cover those costs up to the limits of the plan, less deductible. Washington state auto insurance law requires at least $10,000 in property damage coverage [1]. Each of these limits of protection is a per accident limit, not a yearly or lifetime limit. With this being said, getting into too many liability accidents will likely get you canceled from your policy, so it is important to avoid scrapes the best we can.

Keep Insurance Proof in Car

It is important to note that motorists need to keep proof of insurance or financial responsibility with them at all times. For liability policies, this is just the proof of insurance your insurer provides. For others, it could be a form with a certificate of deposit number with the covered driver's name printed upon it; a self insurance certificate, with number, effective date, driver's name and vehicle description; or a bond number, with the name of the bond company and the name of the covered driver. Regardless of whether you carry liability coverage or choose another financial responsibility option, proof is required for law enforcement officials or others to examine as needed.

Getting the law straight and understanding all of your options as a Washington drivers can help you to make good choices about your personal auto insurance policy.

[1] http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/insurance.html Retrieved 2010-04-16.

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