For Consumers

What's covered under an auto policy?

There are many different types of auto coverages available to help you meet your insurance needs. In Washington state, some are required and some are optional. It's a good idea to discuss your personal insurance needs with your insurance agent to decide what coverages will work best for you.

Required auto coverages

Mandatory coverages

Washington state law requires all drivers to carry auto liability insurance and proof of auto insurance.

Bodily injury liability

This covers injuries that you, the designated driver or policyholder causes to someone else. It also covers you and the family members you list in your policy when driving someone else's car (with their permission).

Optional auto coverages 

Collision

This pays for damage to your car if you collide with another car or object, or your car flips over. It can also pay for damage to your car due to driving over potholes.

Comprehensive

This will reimburse you for loss due to theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object. This could include fire, vandalism or contact with an animal, such as a deer.

Personal injury protection (PIP)

Among other things, PIP pays for treating injuries to the driver and other people in the car after an accident.

Property damage liability

This pays for damage you or whoever is driving your car (with your permission) causes to someone's property, such as their vehicle. But it can also include fences, telephone poles or structures you hit with your car.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

This reimburses you if you, a family member or your designated driver is hit by an uninsured driver, a hit-and-run driver or an unidentified vehicle that forces you to have an accident. Generally, you should report (based on your policy) any accidents involving a hit-and-run or unidentified vehicle to local law enforcement within 72 hours and get contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident. Be sure to talk with your agent and check your policy for specific requirements.

Umbrella liability policies

For an extra layer of protection, these are separate policies that are applied after you've exhausted your liability protection in your auto and/or homeowner policies.