I have frequently been asked over the years what percentage of drivers, despite the law, do not carry any liability insurance? That has now been answered. In a study by the Insurance Research Counsel, by 2004 almost 15% of drivers had no insurance whatsoever. That means if such a person causes an accident, they have no insurance to cover your injury or damages. They did the survey state by state. The highest was Mississippi with 26% uninsured and the lowest was Maine with 4% uninsured. Washington is right up there with 18% uninsured. Translated, that means that almost one in five drivers that might crash into you or cause an accident have no insurance!
The minimum required liability insurance in this state is $25,000. That limit has not been raised in many years despite inflation and other factors making that figure almost useless for any serious injury.
How can you protect yourself? By law, automobile insurers in the state of Washington must offer under-insured motorists (UIM) coverage. Unless you ask for more, it is always at the same limit as your own liability limits. I have strongly urged over the years that people have enough automobile insurance (whether primary plus umbrella or simply primary) equal in value approximately to your net worth. If you cause an accident, a judgment can be rendered against you and collected against your property if you do not have enough insurance. The UIM limits should be even higher because I know that all of my clients are good drivers not likely to cause accidents but that one-fifth of the other drivers out there have no insurance, and an unknown percentage have only minimal insurance. The premium for UIM coverage is much less than for liability coverage-buy as much as you can.