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Auto Insurance Terms You Should Be Aware Of

As you are researching auto insurance, you may come across the following terms.  A more extensive list of auto coverages can be found here.  

State Minimum Coverage

This is the minimum car insurance coverage that must be carried to drive. This varies by state. In Washington State you must carry liability coverage with limits of at least $25,000 per person, $50,000 per occurrence, and $10,000 for property damage.

Full Coverage

Full coverage means different things to different people, however, in general, it refers to a car insurance policy that includes liability, comprehensive and collision coverages. It is important to note that there are several other important coverages available.

Auto Liability

Liability protects you financially if you were to cause an accident. It is typically split into three coverage limits: Bodily Injury Per Person, which covers each person you might injure; Bodily Injury Per Occurrence, which covers all injuries you might cause; and Property Damage, which covers any property damage you might cause, and typically pays for the other car.

Uninsured Motorist vs Underinsured Motorist

Uninsured motorist provides coverage for your vehicle and for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain & suffering if you were hit by someone that was uninsured. Underinsured motorist provides the same coverage if you were hit by someone that did not carry enough coverage to pay your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain & suffering, and adds to the liability coverage the at-fault driver carries.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP is a package of coverages. It primarily covers medical expenses, but there is also some coverage for lost wages as well as other expenses. This is the only car insurance coverage available to cover your medical expenses if you were to cause an accident (if you were struck by another vehicle, your injuries should be covered by their liability coverage or your underinsured motorist coverage.)

Collision Coverage

Collision covers your vehicle after an accident. It is important to note that if you are struck by another vehicle, your vehicle should be covered by their auto insurance liability coverage or your underinsured motorist coverage. Therefore you typically only pay your collision deductible if you cause the accident.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive covers your vehicle for just about everything outside of a collision, including theft, vandalism, fire, falling objects, glass damage, and accidents with animals.


The deductible is your share in the cost of a claim. The higher the deductible you are willing to pay, the lower your car insurance premium.

Insurance Premium or Rate

The insurance premium (also known as rate) is what you pay to bind and maintain auto insurance.

Financial Responsibility – SR-22

Some are required by law to prove to the state they are insured, after a DUI or uninsured accident, for example. SR-22 is the form used as proof of auto insurance.

ID card, Evidence of Insurance, Declaration Page, Policy

If you are pulled over, or in an accident, the ID card is used to show proof of car insurance. Evidence of insurance is typically provided to lenders. Both the ID card and evidence of insurance can be generated by insurance agents. Only an insurer can generate a declarations page or policy. The declarations page is the portion of the car insurance policy that includes information such as name, address, vehicles, discounts and auto coverage. The policy is the complete auto insurance policy.

Looking for Car Insurance in Greater Seattle?  Contact Chris Elliott Insurance Agency!

Our Seattle insurance agency insures cars, vans, trucks, classics, antiques, and exotics. Tickets, accidents, teens, or an SR22? No problem. To offer the most competitive premiums, we offer several discounts, including good student, defensive driver, usage, and discounts based on occupation, college degree, and military service.

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