Drivers typically only think about insurance when one of two things happen: it’s time to pay the bill, or they are involved in one of the many common car accidents. Car insurance is important to have, as it can help pay for expenses that are related to car crashes, such as medical expenses and vehicle repairs. When you don’t have insurance, or you are hit by an uninsured driver, your life can become much more complicated.
Washington, DC, Minimum Car Insurance Requirements
Under the Compulsory/No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act, all drivers in Washington, DC, must have automobile insurance. Drivers who don’t have insurance can be fined for not having it. The act also requires drivers who wish to register for licenses or renew their licenses to have insurance. The insurance must also be maintained the entire time the car is registered. Additionally, in DC, drivers must carry insurance cards with them anytime they get behind the wheel. If they are stopped by the police, they will be asked for their license and registration, along with their cards. Drivers may be fined if they don’t have their cards with them.
DC drivers must have, at a minimum, liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. Liability coverage protects only the other car and other driver when you are at fault for the accident. The minimum amount of liability coverage is:
- Bodily injury: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
- Property damage: $10,000 per accident
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you, your passengers, and your car should you get into an accident with an uninsured driver. Since the driver who hit you wouldn’t have insurance money to pay your settlement, you may be able to obtain it through your uninsured driver coverage. The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage DC drivers must have is:
- Uninsured motorist property damage: $5,000 per accident, and is often subject to a $200 deductible
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: $20,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
Optional Insurance Coverage for DC Drivers
The minimum amounts of liability insurance and uninsured driver insurance are all that Washington, DC, drivers are required to have. However, they aren’t the only types of insurance that are offered; drivers have the option of obtaining additional insurance that is typically beneficial in the event of an accident. The following is a brief overview:
- Personal injury protection (PIP). This type of insurance helps to cover the costs of the accident, regardless of who was at fault.
- Underinsured motorist protection. This covers damage or loss that is caused by a driver who does not have adequate car insurance and may cover the costs of the damages related to your accident. This type of insurance may prevent you from having to pay for expenses out of your own pocket that the other driver’s insurance wouldn’t cover.
- Comprehensive coverage. This optional insurance covers damage to your own car caused by non-accident-related incidents or factors, such as weather, wildlife, or theft.
- Collision coverage. Collision coverage helps to cover accident-related damages to your vehicle.
If a driver is financing or leasing a car, however, he or she is required to carry both comprehensive and collision coverage, along with the liability and uninsured motorist coverage.
Why Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance Is Important
When two insured motorists are involved in a collision, they can typically receive settlement money from their insurance companies to pay for damages related to the accident. When the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, the victim may be responsible for paying for the expenses himself. However, with uninsured motorist coverage, the victim can make a claim through this coverage, and potentially receive an amount that is equal to the amount of coverage the driver has. For instance, if the driver has $50,000 in uninsured motorist coverage, he can make a claim of up to $50,000.
Underinsured motorist coverage can help pay for expenses caused by the accident that the at-fault driver’s insurance won’t cover. These types of claims can take some time to develop, as the victim won’t know the exact amount of money the treatment will cost until he has recovered or receives an estimate from the doctor. For this reason, having an attorney on your side is advisable.
If You Are Involved in an Accident
Even with insurance, accident victims often don’t receive the amount of compensation they deserve. The law firm of Kennedy Hodges, LLP has helped many DC accident victims receive the compensation they need. We may be able to do the same for you. Schedule your appointment to speak with an attorney by calling 855-947-0707.