Car Insurance Buying Tip: How much UM/UIM should you buy in WA?

Review your own automobile insurance policy. You will find a "Declarations page" which lists the various insurance coverages you have along with the premiums you are paying for each. If you cannot find your declarations page, call your agent and get a copy sent to you. 

Most important coverages:

The two most important items on that page are the limits of the liability coverage and the uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage. For both it will usually say something like:

                                                           $25,000/$50,000 or

                                                           $100,000/$300,000 or


These two numbers mean the amount available per person and per accident. If there is only one person injured in a car accident then the lower amount is the limit. If there are four people injured in an accident then they have to divide the larger amount between them, but no one person can get more than the smaller limit. 

Liability coverage is that amount of money your insurance company would pay in the event that you caused a car accident which resulted in an injury to another person. This coverage protects your personal assets. I strongly recommend that your liability coverage be at least $300,000.  In today's world of soaring medical costs, a serious collision can cause injuries with medical bills in excess of $100,000 which is the policy limit many people tend to carry.

In hard financial times, some people carry insurance in amounts less than $100,000. Call your insurance agent.  You may be surprised to learn that the cost of increasing your coverage to $300,000 or even $500,000 is not that much.

UM/UIM is the most important car insurance you can have!!

When it comes to uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) insurance companies often require your liability limit to match your UM/UIM limit. So you can't buy 25K in liability coverage and then buy 500K in UM/UIM. Why? Good question for your insurance agent. Mostly because UM/UIM is not a good deal for insurance companies and they don't like to sell it unless you've purchased a better liability policy on top of that.

If you ride a motorcycle or bicycle having a high UM/UIM limit is critical.  Here's an example of why UM/UIM is critical:

A motorcycle accident client suffered multiple broken bones that required surgeries and a hospital stay exceeding ten days.  A truck turned left in front of him and he slammed in the side of the truck.  The hospital bills alone exceeded 100K.  With missed work for many months and rehab treatment the client's out of pocket expenses exceeded 150,000. You can see why if most WA driver's have 100K or less in car insurance there could be a big problem if he didn't have good UM/UIM.  

Financial stress or ruin is a real possibility in an accident with serious injuries like this when there isn't adequate car or motorcycle insurance available. 

If you're buying or renewing your auto insurance and not sure what to do, order my free book Car Insurance Buying Secrets Unlocked. The book is loaded with lots of good tips and explanations on what the various coverage you can buy do for you.

Max Meyers
Connect with me
Max is a Kirkland personal injury attorney handling cases in Seattle, King County & surrounding in WA State.