Uninsured motorist coverage in Renton, WAAccording to a recent study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, approximately one out of every 8 drivers in the United States are uninsured. That’s a staggering figure when you think about your chances of being struck by one.  So, what can you do to protect yourself from an uninsured driver?

The good news is there is a line of insurance coverage specifically for uninsured motorists, called (you guessed it) Uninsured Motorist Property Damage & Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage. This is an optional coverage that is available to most drivers. Let’s take a closer look at these coverages and see how they work.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (commonly referred to as UMPD) pays for losses incurred to your vehicle when it is hit by an uninsured motorist. This coverage may also pay for damages associated with a hit and run driver.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (commonly referred to as UMBI or UM) pays for your medical expenses when involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. UMBI may also cover your passengers who are in your vehicle during a covered loss.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM)

Underinsured Motorist Coverage pays for injuries such as medical expenses, lost wages and settlements from a driver who is at-fault and does not carry enough insurance to cover your losses.

You should also carefully deliberate the amount of insurance coverage that you need. Available options, limits and coverages vary by state. Each state has different requirements and laws when it comes to uninsured motorist insurance. Be sure to ask an agent in our office about these coverages if you’d like them. Contact us!

What to do if you're in a car accident in Renton, WABeing in an accident can be a very frightening event. Being prepared to know how to handle the situation when it occurs will help you deal with the shock of it, as well as ensure you are covered for the loss when it does happen. While accidents will happen to almost every driver, whether their car is parked and unattended, or while they’re driving, knowing these important steps will help you deal with the unfortunate situation.

Safely park your vehicle: If you happen to be driving when the accident occurs, safely pull the vehicle over to the side of the road. If possible, carefully write down the license plate and description of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident. If you are reporting a hit and run, this information will aid police in locating the driver. In the event of a hit and run it most likely happens when your vehicle is unattended. If you return to your vehicle to find damage, look for clues to help you prove your case, i.e. Security cameras.

Assess any Injuries: If someone is injured, take care of their immediate needs and quickly call 911. It is typical to be jittery after such an event so catch your breath too.

Call police: Once you’re safely parked, you should call the police to file a report, especially if another party is involved. It’s important to always have documentation of how the accident happened. Some people want to settle the claim without going through insurance, but this comes with risks. The other driver may not live up to their word and without contacting the police, it turns into a he said, she said scenario.

Exchange Information: Exchanging insurance ID cards is always recommended. Be sure to have their name and phone number too. It’s simple to take a picture with your phone. Be sure to include the car’s license plate number, year, make and model too.

Take pictures/Gather any witness information: If you have a witness who wants to share their side of the story, jot down their phone number and name. Your insurance company will want to talk with any witness to the accident. Taking pictures also gives your insurance company more details on the damage of your vehicle.

Call your insurance company: Sometimes even though vehicles collide, the damages may be limited, so you’ll want to take a close look and determine if you want to pursue a claim or get an estimate first before calling your insurance company. If someone was injured or if you have major damage, it’s always best to call your insurance company immediately. Your insurance company can assist you with your claim so if you have taken pictures and provided all the information above, your claim can be settled quicker.

While we hope you never have to experience a car accident, being prepared will help you tackle the unfortunate situation.

If you have questions about your auto insurance, call the insurance agents at Eastside Insurance Services in Renton, WA. We have years of insurance experience and can help you insure everything from your home to your auto or motorcycle. We live where you do and are an independent insurance agent, so we can help you find the right company to fit your needs. You can also check out our website, 24/7.

Gap Insurance in Renton, WAWhile buying a home tends to appreciate in value overtime, buying a vehicle is the opposite. Especially if you are buying a brand new vehicle, the moment you drive off the car dealership’s lot, your vehicle has already depreciated in value. For many vehicles, the more expensive the purchase, the faster the depreciation. New vehicles offer more safety features and conveniences, so we understand why people like them.

If you are financing or leasing a vehicle, you may benefit from Gap Insurance.

Imagine this scenario: While out enjoying your new car, you hydroplane and hit a guardrail damaging your new vehicle beyond repair. The insurance company is telling you that your new car is a total loss. If your car is totaled, that means it will cost more to repair it than the car is actually worth because of depreciation.

Gap insurance acts as additional car insurance coverage that will pay off your loan if your car is totaled or you owe more than your car’s new depreciated value. This coverage is usually limited to 25% of your vehicles actual cash value at the time of loss. Check with an agent about specifics for your company. 

What does your car insurance cover if you’re in an accident?

When you lease or finance a car, many lenders require you to have collision and comprehensive insurance coverage on your vehicle until you have paid off your car. If your vehicle was totaled, your insurance company will only pay what it is worth, not what you owe. This is what creates a gap between your current loan balance and what your car is actually valued at today.

Is gap insurance for you?

It depends how much you owe on your vehicle & if you could afford to pay the difference if your car was totaled. Let’s say you bought your car for $20,000. Over the course of your ownership, it’s now valued at $13,000. You currently owe $17,000 on your loan but were recently in an accident where your vehicle was totaled. Could you pay for the $4,000 difference out of pocket? Keep in mind, if you bought a luxury car, they can lose as much as 60% of its value over the course of five years. You may have an even bigger gap between your loan balance and current value of your vehicle.

Options for gap insurance: There are two options for purchasing gap insurance.

  • It can be purchased from the dealership or through an insurance agent. If you choose to purchase gap insurance through the dealership you purchase your vehicle from, the gap insurance will be built into your loan. The average price for gap insurance from a dealership is around $1,000, but add interest and taxes and it can add up to much more.
  • If you choose to purchase gap insurance from an insurance agent, on average it would add less than $10 per month to a policy! There may be certain stipulations associated with a gap insurance policy:
  • The loan may need to be through a financial institution rather than an individual.
  • Your current auto insurance policy may need to include Collision and Comprehensive coverage.
  • Your claim may need to be a covered Collision and Comprehensive coverage event.
  • Your vehicle may need to be determined as a total loss.

Before you purchase a new vehicle, make sure to check with your licensed insurance agent in to see how you can add gap insurance to your new vehicle policy.

The local, independent agents at Eastside Insurance Services can assist you with adding or amending an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Our years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit our insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like classic car or home insurance.