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Bellevue Washington Insurance Law Blog

Underinsured motorist coverage

If you live in Washington State, you will know that the state requires you to have automobile insurance for any vehicle that you own. When you are looking for insurance coverage, you will learn that the state mandates minimum levels for the different types of insurance coverages. Some drivers opt to only purchase the minimum coverage levels and this can put you in a precarious position if you are hit by one of these drivers.

As explained by The Zebra, a site that provides automobile insurance quote comparisons, a person carrying the least amount of insurance possible might end up being underinsured quite easily. When a driver is underinsured, the amount of damages associated with an accident exceed the amount of insurance they carry. For example, if your vehicle is hit by another driver and the costs to repair your car add up to $20,000 but the at-fault driver is only insured up to $10,000, that driver is said to be underinsured.

How does long-term disability differ from disability?

Bellevue residents like you who suffer from an issue that has left you disabled in the long-term may be wondering what you can insurance can do for you. How much compensation can it provide? How long will that compensation last? LePly Law Firm is here to answer these questions and more today.

First, there are both long-term disability benefits and disability benefits. The latter is used to cover disabilities that are expected to be resolved eventually. Examples of this may include injuries resulting from car crashes or workplace incidents which doctors expect will heal with time. Because of this, these disability benefits usually have a set time limit.

What is high-risk insurance?

Automobile insurance is required for everyone who drives in Washington, but some people may find it difficult to get coverage, depending on many factors. You may have been told that you need high-risk insurance, which can be frustrating and expensive. You may also want to know what, exactly, high-risk insurance entails.

As NerdWallet explains, the need for high-risk automobile insurance does not necessarily mean you are a bad driver or an irresponsible person. High-risk insurance simply means that ordinary insurers consider you a financial risk. You may be considered high-risk for a certain period of time before you are able to obtain normal insurance again. You may even be required to get this insurance for reasons out of your control. For example, you might not have had a vehicle for a few years, so you did not have insurance – insurers may consider this a lapse in coverage. Or, you may have been involved in numerous accidents, regardless of fault.

The basics of disability insurance

At the LePley Law Firm, we know that many people give little thought to the possibility of becoming disabled, especially when they are young and building their careers. However, as you may know, a life-changing accident or illness can occur without warning. A serious incident may affect your ability to earn a living. You and other Washington residents may be interested in learning about how disability insurance may protect you.

If you work for a company, you are already paying into the Social Security disability fund, as you may be aware. However, you may be self-employed or concerned that Social Security disability payments may be insufficient to cover your needs if you are unable to work. NerdWallet explains that people can purchase additional disability insurance, which is meant to cover a portion of your income if you become disabled permanently or for a long period. You may be able to invest in disability insurance through your employer, or you can purchase an individual insurance plan.

Is my child eligible for Social Security Disability?

When your child has a disability in Washington, you may sometimes think that your family has to manage alone. However, your son or daughter may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability.

The Social Security Administration generally offers financial assistance for families who have a child with a disability. According to the Social Security Administration, a child usually has to meet certain requirements to receive these payments. Your son or daughter might have one or more conditions, and these conditions usually need to have affected your child's life for a year or more. Additionally, your child's ailment generally has to hinder his or her ability to perform everyday activities. The SSA has a list of several conditions which usually qualify for disability benefits. These include cerebral palsy, blindness and Down syndrome.

What to do after a homeowner’s insurance claim denial

Chances are, you pay a substantial amount to have homeowner’s insurance coverage for your Washington home, and you do so with the hope that you can fix issues fast in the event of an emergency. At the LePley Law Firm, we have found that many homeowners anticipate having something covered, only to receive denials in response to their claims, and we have helped many people facing these circumstances pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to Fox Business, one of the first things you should do upon finding out that your homeowner’s insurance provider has no plans to cover your claim is stay calm. It makes perfect sense that you might feel frustration or anger after a homeowner’s insurance claim denial, but typically, responding in anger can only make the matter worse.

How does ERISA affect health benefits?

Judging from the name of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, you may feel confused about what it has to do with the health benefits that you receive from your employer. It is true that ERISA provides protections to employees enrolled in retirement plans provided by employers in private industry, but it also provides protections for individuals enrolled in employer-provided health plans. 

According to the United States Department of Labor, participants in health benefit plans and their beneficiaries have received extended protections due to amendments to ERISA pertaining specifically to health plans. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act prevents discrimination on the basis of health-related factors when it comes to obtaining coverage as well as protecting the confidentiality of personal health data. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act provides for continuation of coverage under certain circumstances after you leave a job, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Additional amendments to ERISA that have affected health care benefits include the following: 

  • The Affordable Care Act
  • The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act
  • The Newborns' and Mothers' Health Protection Act
  • The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act

Can you get disability benefits for chronic issues?

Bellevue residents like you have lost money in some way due to an injury or illness. In some cases, these physical issues may eventually heal or clear up, allowing you to return to the work you had been doing before. In others, however, your abilities are permanently altered. LePley Law Firm is here to help in cases where you no longer have the earning power you once did.

Long-term disability is a blanket term used to refer to any injury or ailment that permanently changes your ability to support yourself. This could mean an incident where you hurt your back and become paralyzed. It could mean decreased cardio-pulmonary function due to toxic exposure in the workplace and related illnesses. What differentiates these issues from short-term disabilities is the duration. Long-term disabilities can last months, years, or even for the rest of your life.

What is the difference between PIP and medical payments coverage?

When you become involved in a Washington car accident, it can sometimes take insurance companies a long time to determine who was at fault for the accident. This can result in a delay in receiving payment for damages.

However, if your policy includes certain types of no-fault coverage, you may be able to receive compensation more quickly because benefits are not contingent upon assigning fault for the accident. In addition, these types of coverage extend to passengers of the vehicle as well as the driver.

Will my homeowners’ insurance cover flooding?

Depending on where you live in Washington, you may worry about your home being destroyed by flooding, as well as whether your insurance will cover flood-related damages. There are many misconceptions related to this complicated area of insurance, as well as what exactly constitutes flooding damage, versus ordinary water damage.

If you only have regular homeowners’ insurance but you live in an area prone to flooding, you may want to take note of the following points, as explained by Bankrate:

  • Not all water damage is equal. Water damage from rain or hail is typically covered by homeowners’ insurance, but riverbank and ocean floods are different.
  • You may be required by your mortgage company to purchase flood insurance if you live in a flood plain.
  • Flood insurance usually tops out around $250,000, so your damages might not be entirely covered in a severe flood.
  • Flood zones can change with the climate and the environment, so it is wise to stay updated on your local flood plains.