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Bellevue Washington Insurance Law Blog

Does Washington state require PIP coverage?

Personal injury protection is coverage you can add to your regular car insurance policy to help pay for wage loss, medical and hospital expenses, loss of services and funeral expenses, all damages your typical insurance plan does not cover. If you pay for PIP, the law requires your insurance company to pay out your claim regardless of who was at fault for the accident. In a state like Washington, PIP is handy to have, especially if you cause an accident or if you sustain injuries in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist. That said, does the state require drivers to carry PIP? No, it does not.

Because Washington is a fault accident state, it does not require drivers to carry this heightened level of protection. However, according to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner Washington State, your insurance company must offer it to you. If you elect not to invest in PIP, you must reject the coverage in writing. If you fail to do so, your car insurance provider will add it to your policy and charge you for it.

The importance of managing an insurance dispute properly

When it comes to insurance disputes, every case is unique. These disputes arise for different reasons and the details surrounding a dispute vary from one case to the next. If you are in the middle of a dispute, or if you worry that one is around the corner, it is essential to identify the best course of action and take a stand for your legal rights. Insurance companies can be hard to work with and the outcome of such a case could have a significant impact on you from a financial standpoint and even an emotional point of view.

These disputes may involve auto insurance coverage, or they could relate to life insurance, homeowners insurance or property insurance, to name a few. Standing up to insurance companies can be incredibly difficult for many people, but you should not allow your rights to be trampled on if your insurance company is failing to live up to their obligations. Sometimes, legal action may be avoided by taking a firm stand when an insurance company denies that they are responsible for taking care of a claim. However, some insurance companies are unwilling to cooperate, even though they have an obligation to do so. In these instances, legal action may be necessary.

Time limits for insurance claims

When Washington residents realize they need to file a homeowners insurance claim, they may want to pull together all of the necessary paperwork before contacting their insurance company. However, sometimes there is a time limit for filing a claim.

People may not realize they have a limited amount of time to file a claim with their insurance company. According to Sapling, many companies require their clients to file a claim within one year of the incident. However, this time limit varies from company to company, and some organizations may not accept claims submitted more than 30 days after an incident occurred. It is a good idea for people to check their insurance policy so they know how much time they have if they want to file a claim.

Can my insurance company drop my coverage?

Home and auto insurance can give you peace of mind knowing you are entitled to compensation for a valid claim. However, you and other Washington residents should understand that insurance companies can drop you for any reason without warning.

As Realtor.com explains, insurance companies are in the business to make money. Paying out on claims, especially those amounting in the thousands or higher, hits them in the pocketbook. Therefore, they may drop customers who, in their estimation, are a risk. You stand a good chance of having your coverage dropped if you fail to pay your premiums, commit insurance fraud or violate the terms of your policy, but the following common reasons to lose your coverage may surprise you:

  • You live in a high-risk area, such as a region that is prone to hurricanes, floods or wildfires.
  • Your roof is old or needs repairs and you do not replace the roof upon request.
  • You filed too many claims – usually more than one claim every 10 years.

Am I eligible for Social Security Disability?

If you incur an injury while performing your job in Washington, you may be unable to work while you recover. In this situation, you might be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits to help you and your family. To receive these benefits, you usually need to meet certain requirements.

Simply having an injury does not mean you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. According to the Social Security Administration, your condition usually needs to meet certain criteria in order to be considered a disability. Most of the time, you need to be unable to perform your usual job for at least a year. In some situations, the SSA may require that your wound is severe enough that it might result in your death. Additionally, a disability typically needs to interfere with your ability to perform alternate forms of work. 

What are the most effective ways to handle my insurance claim?

The insurance claim process can be a hassle, not to mention intimidating and frustrating, for Washington residents who have just experienced an accident or sustained property damage. Whether you are suffering from injuries or waiting on an insurance settlement to begin repairs on your house after a natural disaster, the steps to filing a claim and communicating with the parties involved are important.

As you may know, insurance companies exist to reimburse victims for their expenses relating to an injury, illness or disaster. However, insurance companies are also in the business to make money, and they will attempt to avoid responsibility whenever possible. In some cases, an insurer will fail to act in the best interests of the claimant, resulting in a bad faith action. FindLaw explains that by making your claim in a timely and accurate manner, as well as being organized and knowledgeable, you can reduce the chances of having a miscommunication or of an insurance company taking advantage of you.

Understanding the duty to settle

Insurance companies throughout Washington and the United States owe a number of duties to their policyholders. According to FindLaw, some of these duties are universal, including the duties to defend, indemnify and investigate. However, there is also a fourth duty that is not universal throughout the United States but recognized in some jurisdictions: the duty to settle. 

To settle a claim means to make an agreement out of court in which one party agrees to pay a certain amount to the other, who agrees in turn to pursue no further legal action in regard to the matter. In cases in which a lawsuit would expose the insured to damages beyond the limit of their insurance policy, settling could be to his or her advantage. However, in such a situation the insurer may be reluctant to settle because a trial offers the possibility of reducing its financial liability. Refusing to settle the case to preserve the insurer's self-interest at the expense of the policyholder's interest represents a breach of duty and, in jurisdictions that recognize the duty to settle, could be grounds for a bad faith lawsuit against the insurer. 

What is the difference between short- and long-term disability?

Disability insurance provides coverage to workers in Washington in the event that they become unable to work due to a disability. You can purchase disability insurance privately, or you may have the option to obtain it through your employer. According to FindLaw, disability insurance policies differ in the duration of benefits. A short-term disability policy will cover you for up to two years, while a long-term policy may provide benefits for decades. Depending on a number of factors, including your budget, you may opt for either short-term or long-term disability coverage, or you may choose both. Some workers obtain one type of coverage from an employer and purchase the other type of coverage privately. 

One advantage of short-term disability coverage is that there is a shorter waiting period before you can start receiving benefits; it can take up to 14 weeks, but you may start receiving benefits within a matter of days after filing a claim. With short-term benefits, you stand to receive approximately 80 percent of your regular salary initially, but the remaining payments are likely to be lower. Because this type of policy is only intended to cover you for a temporary period while you recover from an illness or injury, you can only receive these benefits for two years at maximum.

What is PIP medical pay?

Bellevue residents like you have a full plate when dealing with medical insurance. Let LePley Law Firm help by explaining important things that you need to know in order to receive compensation, avoid unnecessary expenses, and more. Today, we will take a look at PIP medical pay.

PIP medical pay is one thing you may have heard of, but what is it? PIP is a shorthand term for personal injury protection. This is one of two main types of insurance you can buy for your car, with the other being Medical Payments coverage, also known as MedPay. In some states, having either PIP or MedPay is actually a requirement. Generally speaking, neither are as well-known as other types of car insurance like collision, liability, or comprehensive.

How does coverage from ERISA and private insurance differ?

Matters regarding insurance are always somewhat complex. This can be especially true depending on what coverage you're dealing with. LePly Law Firm is here for you regardless of what your situation is. We will help you fight any claim denials.

Today, we will look at the difference between private insurance claims and claims governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, also known as ERISA. Private insurance claims are generally handled similarly across the board. As a person pursuing damages, you will work with your insurance carrier to figure out compensation, the best way to tackle your case, and other related matters.