Car Insurance Basics: Types of Insurance and Their Coverage

Car Insurance Basics | Car Accident Attorney Kennewick WADrivers are required to have “Basic” liability car insurance in the state of Washington.  Cost-conscious customers typically get the cheapest available insurance to comply with the regulations. However, we recommend that drivers take advantage of all the different types of insurance available in order to be protected in case of an accident.  Whether you cause an accident or are hit by someone else, basic liability insurance will not provide adequate protection of your assets nor will it allow you to recover sufficient funds to cover medical treatment or other expenses.

Our focus is on protecting you and your passengers in case of an accident.  We strongly recommend having two types of insurance and the largest coverage possible for both:  Liability and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist.

There are several different types of insurance products available, and not all of them are required or necessary in Kennewick, WA. Listed below are the most common types of insurance, and the coverage they offer.


Liability Insurance covers the cost of any damages (such as medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress, etc.) resulting from injuries you cause, and repairs made to property you damage while driving your car. Most states will have a minimum requirement for the amount of liability coverage drivers carry. However, we strongly recommend having the highest liability insurance coverage you can afford.  It is not uncommon for damages to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if a person has permanent or severe injuries as a result of an accident you caused. Remember, you will be responsible for paying any claims that exceed your coverage limit out of your own pocket.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection

When someone injures you in a motor vehicle accident, how will the responsible party pay for your injuries and damages if he/she has no liability insurance?  What if they do have insurance, but your damages exceed their insurance coverage limits?  Based on the current cost of medical care and the high incomes in our area, minimum liability coverage requirements are not nearly high enough to cover all expenses related to an accident.  You could find yourself in a situation where the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage, nor does he/she have enough assets to pay your damages.  We strongly recommend having the highest UIM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist) coverage you can afford to avoid what could be a life-altering situation.

UIM coverage can help cover the costs of these expenses. UIM will pay any damages the at-fault party cannot pay which are deemed to be related to the incident.  Furthermore, you might be able to avoid having to go through costly litigation for you to recover what is fair.  This type of coverage is typically very affordable, but most people deny UIM coverage at the time of acquiring their insurance policy.

PIP (Personal Injury Protection)

PIP or Personal Injury Protection covers your medical bills when an accident occurs.  It also covers wage loss up to a certain amount.  The medical expenses and lost income associated with a car accident can pile up quickly, and PIP can help mitigate these costs. Under this coverage, medical bills for all drivers and passengers are paid regardless of who was at fault for the incident.   We strongly recommend having the highest PIP coverage, especially if you do not have a health insurance plan or another type of insurance that can cover the expenses related to an accident.

Other types of insurance

The following insurance products are strictly related to repair and/or replacement of your vehicle or personal property:


What happens if your vehicle is damaged in a storm, or you hit a deer, or your vehicle is stolen? A basic insurance policy will include liability and collision coverage, which cover accidents – but not these types of claims. To be made whole in these types of situations, comprehensive coverage is required.

Comprehensive coverage is typically not required, especially if your vehicle is older. If you’re financing your vehicle, you may be required by the lender to carry this type of coverage. It can be costly, but if you can stretch your budget, it’s coverage that’s worth having.


Collision insurance will cover the cost of repairs to your vehicle if you are involved in a covered accident. If your vehicle is totaled, your collision coverage will provide you with compensation equal to the value of your car.

Collision is not always required but is often recommended. If you have an older vehicle, it may not be worth carrying this coverage. However, if you have an older car or are a lienholder, collision coverage will be required.

Car Accident Attorney in Kennewick WA

If you have been in an auto accident, call our car accident attorney today, to see what options you have. (509) 783-5551