State insurance officials and Washington auto insurance industry sources are reminding car owners in the state of Washington to check their policies. Law enforcement agencies are also warning the state’s motorists of the risks that come along with driving uninsured or underinsured. The latest warning came about after the release of a new study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). The study found out that about 16 percent of all drivers in Washington have no insurance. This places the northwestern state 10th overall among all the states that require auto insurance.
Experts liken the prevailing attitude of many car owners in the state to those of a gambler’s. They point out that while many drivers think that car insurance is nothing more than a requirement they have to comply with, uninsured motorists are actually taking a gamble. Without proper insurance, these individuals can risk losing personal assets. They will also have to suffer the consequences that come along with their actions, such as substantially higher insurance rates for the coming years.
At present, the state fines uninsured drivers $550. This is average to around six months’ worth of auto insurance, analysts explain. The fine also shadows the $124 fine for regular infractions and traffic citations. In comparison, the highest possible fine that law enforcers may impose on over-speeding drivers is $411. The judge handling uninsured driver cases can choose to drop the fine but more and more courts are opting to retain the penalties. Analysts say that the decision to impose the fines come as more cases make their ways to the state’s courts.
Even with the minimum insurance coverage required by law, motorists can still end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run. Increasing medical costs and repair expenses have made the minimum amounts required by the state government almost irrelevant, experts contend. If the underinsured drivers fail to settle their obligations with the other parties involved, they can risk losing their personal assets like their cars and houses.
For thi=-s reason, insurance agents and providers are refusing to sign insurance policies without uninsured or underinsured coverage. Many in the car insurance industry say that without these additional options, their companies may end up losing more than anticipated. They argue that with more and more uninsured and underinsured drivers on the road, there is a higher chance of policyholders getting involved with these motorists.