Auto Insurance Favors Marriage

Need another reason to tie the knot with your special someone? How about lower auto insurance rates?

According to a study done by the Consumer Federation of America, marital status plays a significant factor in determining a driver’s auto insurance premium.

While this does not seem fair, and perhaps, even discriminatory, the auto insurance industry says its study finds that married couples are overall more responsible than single people, or, how it should be stated more accurately, unmarried people.

However, the logic here seems flawed, as a married couple, with two on the insurance, and good odds of a kids or future kids,  the automobile would get more use: from the couple or family running errands, taking the kids to after-school activities, etc.

Auto insurance is state-mandated.  In WA, a driver must carry a policy of at least $25,000 liability.  The New York Times argues that since state laws regulate auto insurance, auto insurers should be more transparent with how they determine their rates.

Becoming widowed or divorced, having a lower credit score, not having any club memberships (e.g., alumni associations or AAA), or living in a high-risk or car-dense zip code will affect your auto insurance rate, but you won’t know by how much.

Therefore, shop around, getting at least three quotes.  Based on these quotes you should be able to find the best deal on auto insurance for your circumstances.

Copyright 2015 The Filutowski Law Firm, PLLC. Disclaimer: This page is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued.

The Top 5 Things You Need to Do To Get A Deal On Washington Car Insurance

Up for renewal on your auto insurance?  Looking to maybe lower your rate, or get different coverage?

Here are the top 5 things you need to consider for getting better Washington car insurance:

  1. Shop til you drop!  Shop around, comparing different plans and rates.  Even if you have been with the same insurance company for years, that does not guarantee you the best rate.  Call a few other companies, to compare rates.  Esurance.com is a helpful resource for comparing multiple insurance companies.  Some companies value your membership in various organiztaions (e.g., AAA automobile club), or if you are a good university student, or have no claims on your auto policies for the past 10 years, and will reward you with a discount.
  2. Get at least the minimum limits.  Washington state’s minimum insurance law is $25,000/$50,000/$10,000.  This is how insurance policies are typically summarized.   It translates to: $25,000 available for claims by the one person you injure; $50,000 for claims brought by two or more people you injure and $10,000 for the damage you caused to the person’s car.
  3. Evaluate your value.  How much do you value yourself, your productivity at your work, your health and your vehicle.  If a lot, then get adequate uninsured or underinsured coverage (also known as UM or UIM).  This is coverage for you when the person who injured you had no insurance or inadequate coverage.
  4. Get your bills covered.  Get Personal Injury protection (PIP) with the maximum $35,000 limit.  This is no fault medical and lost wages coverage in the event you cause an accident, or are a victim of an accident…your bills will be taken care of, typically with no questions asked.  Nice.
  5. Carry your proof of coverage so you avoid a ticket and you can immediately report the incident and protect your interests on the claim.

Go out there and get the best Washington Car Insurance for yourself!

If you have questions about auto insurance claims following an accident, The Filutowski Law Firm offers free consultations.  You can complete the form below and we will be in touch with you shortly:

Copyright 2015 The Filutowski Law Firm, PLLC. Disclaimer: This page is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued.

 

Insurance Bullying The Defenseless

“I think they’re still hoping that we are what they originally thought we were: stupid people that they could bully.”

~  Joan Fischer, the mother of Katie Fisher, who was killed in a car collision in 2010, comments on Katie’s insurance company, Progressive.

Joan Fischer’s daughter, Katie, was killed June 19, 2010 in a car accident.  Katie’s insurance claim with Progressive made headlines in the New York Times yesterday.

On June 19, 2010, Katie was driving when she was hit by another car in an intersection.   Two years later, a legal battle ensued between Progressive and Katie’s family.

The dispute in any civil case is two fold: 1) who is at fault, 2) how much money will they pay?

The other driver (“third party”) and a passenger in Katie’s vehicle said Katie ran the red light.  A witness said Katie had a green light.

The third party insurer entered into settlement negotiations with Katie’s family and offered the insurance limits of $25,000 to avoid litigation. This sum was inadequate compensation for Katie’s life, so Katie’s family pursued a claim with Katie’s underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage on the Progressive policy.   The policy had a $100,000 limit.  UIM is available where the third-party is underinsured.

[Read more…]

Allstate Insurance Reveals Unfair Claims Handling Process

In response to a multi-state examination of its bodily injury claims handling software, Colossus, Allstate has agreed to pay $10 million to 45 states following findings of inconsistent and potentially unfair claims handling processes.

Allstate, home and auto insurer, infamously known for it’s motto of placing its insureds “in good hands,” uses a software program to limit the calculation of personal injury claims to a robot’s algorithm, with no exception.

[Read more…]

Drunk Driver Gets 8 Years in Prison in Snohomish County

The Seattle Times reported that yesterday Matthew McDonald, who plead guilty to four counts of vehicular homicide, received a sentence of 8 years in prison by Snohomish County Superior Court Judge David Kurt. McDonald had a clean record before driving through a stop sign in Marysville into the side of a car carrying four adults. The impact killed all four vehicle occupants: Brad and Melissa Agerup and Thomas and Hilda Woods.

If McDonald’s vehicle was insured at the time of the collision, then the survivors of the estates of the four deceased adults have a wrongful death civil cause of action against McDonald. McDonald’s insurance company will step in and handle the claims.

Minimum insurance policy limits in Washington State are $25,000.00 per person/$50,000.00 per accident. Maximum limits are typically $300,000.00/$500,000.00 and then any (typically, $1 million) umbrella limit will kick in thereafter.

Under Washington State’s wrongful death statute, the personal representative of the estate of the decedent may bring a cause of action against the tortfeasor who negligently caused the death. The beneficiaries of a wrongful death action include spouse, state registered domestic partner, and children (including stepchildren).

Copyright 2010 The Filutowski Law Firm, PLLC. This post is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued by reading this post. If you would like further information regarding the matters discussed herein, you may post a comment. If you need a consultation on a legal matter, contact Alexandra Filutowski.

Seattle Bicycle Commuters: Traffic Laws Apply

Biking originated as a recreational activity. Over time in an increasingly congested region, many Puget Sound residents have adopted bicycling as a form of transportation to/from work. The majority of bicyclist commuters abide by the Washington State bike laws, however, there are the few that do not and unfortunately inflict serious personal injury upon innocent bystanders or themselves:

Monday a helmet-less bicyclist ran a red light, leading to a Lexus colliding with him. The young man is now in critical condition at Harborview.

Tuesday another bicyclist ran a red light at Pike Place Market, colliding with a 6-year old boy. The boy sustained serious facial injuries, necessitating his jaw to be wired shut.

Cyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of a vehicle driver when riding on roadways (RCW 46.61.755). To ensure you, fellow cyclists and pedestrians are safe on the roadways, review applicable Washington bike and road laws.

In the event you are injured by a vehicle while riding a bicycle or walking as a pedestrian, and that vehicle has Personal Injury Protection (P.I.P.), you may open a claim to cover your medical bills, lost wages and other incidental expenses. If that vehicle has no P.I.P., but one of your vehicles does, then you may open a P.I.P. with that insurance company.

Special Rules for Vespas and Scooters In Seattle

Although they maneuver and fit in places that a bicycle can – vespas and scooters can not legally travel in the same places as bicycles do on roadways. Seattle Municipal Code 11.53.190 provides one exception: vespas and scooters may enter a bike lane only when maneuvering a turn, and only after first yielding to bicyclists.

Which Insurance Covers the Collision?

If you are injured by a car while driving a vespa, you can get your medical bills paid by the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance on the other vehicle. If they do not have PIP, and you do, then your PIP will cover the bills.

The rest of your claim, including your pain and suffering (general damages), will either be paid by the Liability coverage on the other vehicle or by your Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.

For additional information on insurance coverage, click here.

How to Select Auto Insurance Coverage That’s Right For YOU In Washington State | eHow.com

During an economic recession, everyone is pinching pennies – but your auto insurance coverage should not be one of those places. A few dollars savings now will not help you in the future, when there’s an accident, or accruing medical bills.

This article will walk you through the insurance requirements under Washington law and what all the insurance abbreviations stand for: BI, PD, PIP, UM, UIM, enabling you purchase the best coverage that protects YOU.

Things You’ll Need:

  • An assessment of your net worth.
  • Your vehicle’s year, make, model
  • Your zip code
  • Your past insurance coverage information
  • A credit card
  1. Know the law.

    Washington State law requires drivers to carry liability coverage, at a minimum. RCW 46.30.020 and RCW 46.29.090(1), requires that every driver within the state of Washington carry at least $25,000.00/$50,000.00/$10,000.00 in liability coverage.

    The first two numbers correspond to bodily injury (“BI”) – i.e., if you cause an accident, your insurance will pay to the other person(s) up to $25,000.00 per person or $50,000.00 per accident. If there are two or more people injured, they will have to apportion the available $50,000.00.

    The third number is property damage (“PD”) coverage. Washington law requires that you carry at least a $10,000.00 limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid for damaging another’s vehicle.

    If you fail to purchase liability coverage, you expose yourself to personal liability for causing the accident and a traffic citation. That means that the injured party can garnish your wages, force a sale of your car, home and other assets. Nobody wants to go through this uncomfortable process.

    So, make it easy for yourself and others, follow the law and at least purchase the minimum liability coverage.

  2. What are you worth?

    In selecting the appropriate liability coverage for your car, you need to consider the size of your income, the value of your home, your car and additional assets. The higher your personal net worth, the more liability coverage you should purchase to protect yourself from personal liability. Washington State bodily injury policies range from $25,000.00/$50,000.00 to $300,000.00/$500,000.00.

    Moreover, many vehicles are worth well in excess of $10,000.00. So, again, if you have a greater net worth and want to insure against someone suing you personally for additional money, purchase the additional PD coverage.

  3. Protect yourself against accruing medical bills.

    If you are the victim of a car accident, pedestrian-car accident, bike-car accident – your PIP will *automatically* cover your medical bills! No deductible, no contracted rate 50/50, 80/20, like with health insurance.

    PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. This coverage is *optional*, although *essential* if you want to have your medical bills, out of pocket expenses and lost wages covered adequately and immediately following the accident. PIP limits range from $10,000.00 to 35,000.00

    $10,000.00 is bare-bones coverage – it’s enough to cover an ambulance ride, emergency room visit, x-rays, and maybe a follow-up visit to the doctor. For those few extra dollars every 6 months in your insurance premium, the additional $15,000.00 in coverage is well worth it!

    Since PIP is so strongly encouraged – in Washington you must affirmatively *opt-out* of buying PIP. Once you opt-out, if you decide you do want PIP, you must then affirmatively opt-in.

    If you’ve been insured with the same insurance company for years – and don’t recall if you opted-out – call your agent today! Ask for the PIP waiver, if any. Then buy some PIP and be protected today!

  4. Insure against serious personal loss.

    Each day you step out onto the roadways – you subject yourself to the mercy of others’ driving abilities. In the event one of those drivers is texting, changing the music channel, scrolling on their ipod, fails to check the side view mirrors, or is under the influence – causes a serious collision with serious injuries – you want to be protected.

    But what happens when the person who causes the accident either has 1) no insurance! or 2) minimal coverage? You should consider insuring yourself against this situation by purchasing under-insured (UIM) and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Again, for a few extra dollars every month, you can insure against serious loss. Policy limits range from $25,000.00 to $500,000.00.

    UM/UIM coverage provides payment for your pain and suffering and medical bills incurred as a result of someone else causing an accident.

    UM applies when the negligent driver has NO insurance.

    UIM applies when the negligent driver’s limits have been exhausted. E.g., if the negligent driver carries a minimum limits policy (25/50/10), and you collect the full $25,000.00, but your claim is valued well in excess of $25,000.00 – then your UIM coverage will apply.

  5. Review your declarations page.

    Now that you’ve selected the types of insurance coverage you want, review your declarations page to ensure you and your vehicle(s) are fully covered.

Article originally posted at eHow.com by Alexandra Filutowski