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Cheapest Car Insurance Rates In Washington (2018)

If you’re like most people, you’d jump at the chance to reduce your monthly expenses. One of the easiest ways to do so is to find cheap auto insurance in Washington. Unfortunately, this task is easier said than done since there are dozens of insurance companies competing for your business.

To simplify the process, our Geeks crunched the numbers to find the best cheap car insurance companies in the state. On this page, you’ll find:

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Washington

Best Car Insurance Companies

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance

Car Insurance FAQs

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Washington

The best way to find the cheapest car insurance rates in Washington is to compare quotes from multiple providers. Click Here to go to our Quote Comparison Portal. Below are our recommendations for specific types of drivers:
 

CompanyCheapest For
USAADrivers in the Military
AllstateTeen Drivers
Liberty MutualDrivers with No Accidents
State FarmDrivers with a DUI

Best Car Insurance Companies in Washington

Our Geeks considered complaint data and reviews to identify the best car insurance companies in Washington. The table below summarizes our findings:
 

RankCompanyOur Rating
1AllstateA-
2USAAB+
3Liberty MutualB
4SafecoB

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Washington

All motorists in Washington are required by law to purchase auto insurance that meets these minimum liability limits:

  • $25,000 For Bodily Injuries To One Person In One Accident
  • $50,000 For Total Bodily Injuries In One Crash
  • $10,000 For Property Damage

Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Washington

In Washington, you are expected carry proof of insurance with you at all times while driving. This includes both printed and electronic evidence. If you’re stopped by authorities while on the road, and cannot produce proof of insurance, law enforcement officers will conclude that you are driving uninsured. Unfortunately, this applies in all situations, even if you have purchased the correct policy but have mislaid or forgotten to bring along the appropriate documents before heading off. Our Geeks recommend keeping printed proof – such as a copy of your Declarations Page – stashed in your glove compartment at all times.

Failure to produce adequate proof will result in a traffic infraction and some of the following penalties:

  • Community Restitution service
  • Fines totaling $450
  • License and registration suspension

Take note: In most cases, your license and registration will only be suspended if you fail to pay your fine in full.

In Washington, you can appeal your fine if you were insured at the time of the infraction. You will need to approach the courts to have the charges dropped. As part of your appeal, you will need to show the courts proof you were covered up to the state’s mandated minimum liability limits at the time of the traffic violation. While this will help you avoid paying $450 in fines, you may still need to fork over money to cover the courts expensive appeal processing fees.

Washington Car Insurance FAQs

What Is Community Restitution?

Rather than send the road’s rulebreakers to prison, those convicted for driving without insurance in Washington can serve a Community Restitution sentence. Typically, this penalty includes requires you to complete a certain number of hours of community service – such as picking up litter or helping at the local soup kitchen – under the strict supervision of probation officers. You may also need to pay additional fees and fines as part of your Community Restitution sentence.

How Can I Reduce My Premium After a License Suspension in Washington?

If you are caught driving without insurance, this violation will be etched into your permanent driving record. For insurers, that infraction is a warning that you are now a high-risk driver. As a result, you may be charged far more than other motorists for the same coverage.

Why? The answer is simple: According to insurance industry’s comprehensive statistics, high-risk drivers are not just far more likely to be involved in an accident, but also have a higher chance than average of causing an accident.

While you can’t scrub infractions from your driving record, you can still reduce your rates over time by avoiding accident for a few years, learning safer driving habits, not committing traffic violations, and completing a safe driving course.

What Are Some Important Traffic Laws in Washington?

Struggling to make sense of Washington’s dense traffic code? We’ve compiled a list of the state’s most important traffic laws below:

Washington Child Safety Seat Laws

When Autumn Alexander Skeen lost control of her SUV, causing the vehicle to roll, she also lost her four-year-old son. The boy was sitting in the front seat wearing a seatbelt, but the straps – designed to fit an adult – didn’t hold him in place. While Skeen survived, her son was thrown from the vehicle and killed. In the years that followed, Skeen campaigned tirelessly to introduce some of the child safety seat rules listed here:

  • Children under 8 years old or shorter than 5 feet, must always travel in a car or booster seat;
  • The seat must be installed and utilized in accordance with both the vehicle and car seat manufacturer’s instructions;
  • Cars equipped with lap-only safety straps are exempt from booster seat requirements; and
  • Children older than 8 years and who are 5 feet or taller who are wearing a seat belt must ensure that the chest and waist straps are positioned correctly.

Using the appropriate child safety seat will ensure your child is protected from impact forces in a crash. You should always install your restraint device in the rear passenger seats of your vehicle.

You can browse our list of the best rated child car seats for expert advice on the safest restraint system for your little one.

Washington Drunk Driving Laws

Washington is home to hundreds of quaint craft breweries and secluded bars. But before you indulge, you should be aware that law enforcement takes a hard line against drivers caught driving under the influence.

The state’s blood alcohol limit is 0.08%. For the average person, this is the equivalent of drinking a glass of wine, 12-ounce can of domestic beer, or shot of hard liquor. However, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, the blood alcohol limit is even stricter, limiting you to a blood alcohol content of 0.04%. And drivers under the age of 21 should avoid liquor at all times as authorities will likely charge younger motorists who test above 0.02% blood alcohol content.

If you are caught driving under the influence, you will  be arrested on the spot and will have to appear in court. The penalties for a Driving Under the Influence conviction include:

  • Between 1 to 365 days behind bars;
  • Up to $5,000 in fines; and
  • License suspension (between 3 months to 1 year for your first offense and up to 4 years for your second, third, or subsequent violation).

You will also have to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle at your own expense. This gadget prevents you from starting your car until you’ve completed a breathalyzer test to prove you are sober. You can only remove this device once your sentence has been completed.

In Washington, you can often opt to complete a 24/7 Sobriety Program instead of serving prison time. This program involves round-the-clock drug and alcohol testing, such as portable breath testing for alcohol, or saliva and drug-patching testing for common banned substances. If you fail any of these tests at any point in the program you could spend as long as a week behind bars.

Washington Distracted Driving Laws

An estimated 30% of all accidents in Washington are caused by distracted drivers. In a bid to curb these common crashes, lawmakers introduced a series of laws this year prohibiting road users from engaging in a wide range of activities while on the road. These activities include:

  • Eating;
  • Reading;
  • Grooming; and
  • Smoking.

However, officers will not pull you over if you are spotted doing any of the actions above. Rather, if authorities stop you for another traffic violation and discover that these activities interfered with your ability to drive safely, you will be cited for distracted driving.

You cannot hold any electronic device while stopped at a traffic light or intersection, or while driving. If you are spotted violating this law, an officer can, by law, pull you over and cite you for distracted driving. However, you are allowed to use your phone if you are contacting emergency services or are have to come to a complete stop on the side of the road.

What Car Insurance Terms Should I Know Before Buying a Policy?

Shopping for auto insurance but can’t make sense of the jargon? This glossary of common terms will help you understand the most important parts of an auto insurance policy:

Collision Coverage: This individual policy feature protects you against financial loss as a result of damage to your property caused in a collision with an object or vehicle. For example, your insurer will compensate you for repairs for damage as a result of hitting a parking meter, colliding with another motorist, flipping your car, or running over a hidden pothole.

Declarations Page: The front page of your auto insurance policy document is a quick recap of what’s covered and for how much. It includes information about the policy period, the amount of coverage, your monthly or annual rates, the insured property, and your particulars. Our Geeks recommend keeping a copy of this page in your glove compartment to present as proof as insurance to law enforcement.

Deductible: Certain policy features have what is called a deductible. This represents how much you will have to pay to cover the cost of treating injuries and repairing damage to your property before your insurer compensates you for the remainder. A low deductible will trivialize the costs associated with a severe crash but will result in a higher premium. A high deductible will help you reduce your rates, but won’t provide the same protection as a lower deductible.

Fault State: Washington is a so-called “Fault State”. As a result, the party responsible for causing an accident can be held liable for damages sustained by other parties involved. Typically, claims adjusters will portion out blame in the form of a percentage point. For example, you may be held 30% responsible for an accident, with the other driver liable for the remaining 70% of the costs. If you are involved in a crash, you can file a claim with your provider, file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, or file a claim with the at-fault driver’s provider.

Premium: This represents the amount, either monthly or annually, you will have to pay to maintain your policy. Insurers calculate your rates based a wide variety of factors including your gender, age, education, occupation, driving record, car make, car safety features, and more.

 

cheapest car insurance in washington

Visit our the PennyGeeks blog for valuable insights into car insurance.

 

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Car Insurance FAQs
How Can I Get My Car Insurance Premiums Reduced? Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What Factors Affect My Auto Insurance Rates? When Can My Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums? What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Wisconsin

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in WisconsinAmerica’s dairy land is home to greener pastures for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. But your experience in this idyllic state could turn sour in an instant if you’re caught driving without car insurance. Wisconsin’s traffic code takes a strict stance against errant drivers, strapping the uninsured with severe penalties for breaking the law.

Much like most other states, Wisconsin’s Department of Transport requires you to purchase and maintain an insurance policy up to certain minimum liability limits. In Wisconsin, it’s mandatory to purchase at least:

  • $50,000 for bodily injuries caused in one accident
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries caused by an uninsured driver
  • $25,000 per person for bodily injuries caused by an uninsured driver
  • $25,000 for bodily injuries to one individual in a crash
  • $10,000 for damage to property

Keep in the mind that while a basic policy will cover minor injuries and property damage, the coverage amounts will fall short if you are involved in a more serious accident. Many drivers elect to purchase additional features – such as comprehensive coverage – and invest in lower deductibles to mitigate financial loss in the event of a collision.

In this article, we will discuss:

  1. The penalties for driving without auto insurance coverage in Wisconsin
  2. The penalties for being involved in an accident while you are uninsured
  3. SR-22 filing requirements
  4. Differences between “Fault” and “No Fault” states
  5. Mandatory uninsured motorist protection coverage
  6. High-risk driving categories
  7. Filing an insurance claim in Wisconsin

If you are ever pulled over while driving on Wisconsin roads, authorities can request that you present proof that you are covered up the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. Authorities will accept either printed or electronic evidence. If you fail to do so or if you have not purchased the appropriate auto insurance policy, you could be strapped with the penalties outlined below.

Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Wisconsin

If you are insured up to the state’s minimum liability limits but cannot provide authorities with proof of insurance, you could be cited and fined $10. However, the Department of Transport (DoT) takes a lenient approach in these cases, making concessions for drivers who may have mislaid or forgotten their auto insurance policy documents. As a result, you can contest the citation by later providing evidence that you were carrying adequate coverage at the time of the citation. We recommend keeping a digital copy of your insurance documents on your cell phone and stashing a printed version in your glove compartment to avoid the hassle of contesting your citation down the line.

If authorities discover you are uninsured, you can expect to pay additional fines totaling $500. Your license will also be suspended until you fulfill SR-22 filing requirements with the state DoT. You will also have to fork over $60 in reinstatement fees before your driving privileges are restored.

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance and Causing an Accident in Wisconsin

The consequences for driving with no insurance only get worse in the event of an accident. Unless you are able to pay a security deposit to cover the cost of claims made by the other drivers, submit a lease of liability proving that you settled these claims with the other parties, or enter into an installment agreement to pay for claims, your license and vehicle registration will be suspended.

Restoring your driving privileges is a complex and arduous process. You can opt to stay off the road for a full year and then apply to have your license reinstated, or as most drivers do in this situation, you can fulfill SR-22 filing requirements for three years. In either situation, you would have to pay $110 in reinstatement fees.

More About Driving Without Auto Insurance in Wisconsin

What Are SR-22 Certificate Filing Requirements?

Motorists who are convicted of certain traffic violations will often have to fulfill SR-22 requirements for three years to retain their driving privileges. The SR-22 is a form/certificate stating that you are insured up to the state’s mandated minimum liability limits. Typically, your insurer will file this document for you. Not only will this added service result in increases to your policy premium, but you may also be classed as a high-risk driver and have to pay more than the average motorist for basic policy features.

If you let your policy lapse for any reason – for example, you may have missed a payment or terminated your policy – your insurer is required, by law, to inform the DoT that you are no longer carrying insurance. Your license and registration will be suspended, and you will have to restart the SR-22 filing process from scratch.

Is Wisconsin a “Fault” or “No Fault” Insurance State?

States in the U.S. are divided into either “Fault” or “No-Fault” states. In “Fault” states, the motorist who is responsible for causing the accident can be held liable for damages and injuries sustained by the other drivers involved. For example, if a reckless motorist makes an illegal turn and causes a wreck, he or she would be responsible for compensating the other driver(s) for their medical bill and repair costs.

However, it not uncommon for claims adjusters to argue that multiple parties share liability for a single crash. For instance, if the claims adjuster concludes that one driver is 25% responsible for the accident, that driver would have to pay 25% of their damages out of pocket or from their own insurance policy.

Take note: There are several ways for drivers in Wisconsin to pursue compensation for their accident-related expenses, including:

  • Filing a claim with their own insurance company;
  • Pursuing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver; or
  • Filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance provider.

The best course of action will depend on the facts surrounding the accident. For example, if you sustained severe injuries in a crash that led to thousands of dollars in lost wages, and the Personal Injury Protection component of your policy cannot cover these costs, you may benefit from suing the driver who caused the accident.

In “No Fault” states, drivers are required to carry insurance policies (Personal Injury Protection or Med Pay) that cover their damages regardless of who caused the crash. Although this can give drivers peace of mind, one downside to this system is if their no-fault insurance coverage is too low to pay for their losses, they will not be able to sue the at-fault driver unless certain criteria are met, such as suffering a disability.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

To reduce their monthly expenses, many drivers in Wisconsin take the risk of operating their vehicles without insurance. It’s estimated that nearly 15% of the state’s drivers are using the roads without coverage. As a result, there’s a high chance that your next crash could involve someone who isn’t insured.

And when someone doesn’t have the means to cover your repair costs and medical bills, you’re in big trouble. Not only will you have to dip into your own policy or pockets to foot the bill, but your premium may also be increased. Fortunately, Wisconsin’s DoT requires all motorists to carry additional coverage for injuries sustained in an accident involving an uninsured motorist as part of a basic policy. While this will absorb the expenses of injuries sustained in the accident, you will still have to purchase Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage (UMPD) to pay for property damage.

However, if you already carry collision coverage, it may not be worth investing in UMPD as the aforementioned policy covers most types of damage to your vehicle.

Am I a High-Risk Driver?

You’ve probably heard the term “high-risk driver,” but exactly what does it mean? This category is a black mark if you’re hoping to purchase an affordable policy. Typically, these drivers are motorists who have been convicted of committing severe traffic violations such as operating a vehicle without insurance or driving under the influence.

As a high-risk driver, you won’t just pay more for insurance than the average motorist, but you could also be denied lucrative discounts or policy features. Why? As a high-risk driver, you are statistically more likely than the average motorist to file a claim. The insurance industry stakes its fortune on probability, and your bad odds aren’t helping providers make a profit.

You can escape the doom and gloom of this kryptonite category by avoiding accidents for a few years, fulfilling and completing your SR-22 requirements, completing a driving safety course, and purchasing a car fitted with advanced safety features.

How Do I File an Auto Insurance Claim in Wisconsin?

Confused about what to do after a collision? Below, we’ve outlined the most important steps to take after an accident:

1. Call 911

If anyone has been injured, or your vehicle or any other vehicles involved in the accident are blocking traffic, you should call the authorities. Expediting medical relief will ensure those who were harmed in the crash receive immediate treatment for their injuries. A few seconds could mean the difference between life or death. Police will also compile a detailed report of the accident, which will be valuable evidence when you file a claim and may help you overcome liability disputes.

2. Collect Relevant Information

During negotiations with your insurer, rock-solid info is the most powerful tool in your arsenal. After a crash, you should always take note of the personal details of all the parties involved in the accident including their phone numbers, insurance information, names, personal addresses, and plate numbers.

3. Take Down Witness Statements

Whether you’re out in the middle of nowhere or in the center of the city, chances are someone saw the accident take place. If you are able to, you should take down the statements and contact details of any bystanders who witnessed the crash. If they consent, you can also use your phone to make recordings of your conversations.

4. Never Admit Fault

Countless motorists have been intimidated into making a crash site confession. However, admitting fault in the wake of an accident can sink your claim in an instant, even if it later emerges that the other motorist was responsible. One simple rule: Never admit fault.

5. Collect Evidence

Technological advances have turned our phones into far more than just a device to browse the Internet. Using your smartphone, take photographs of any property damage and/or injuries sustained by you or anyone else in the crash. You should also snap pictures of street signs, weather conditions, and other elements that could help you prove fault.

6. Seek Treatment

Crash forces can cause untold damage, leaving you nursing injuries that can take years, or sometimes decades, to heal. Even minor accidents have been shown to lead to spinal fractures, severe sprains, and slipped discs. While you may not be experiencing any pain in the wake of the crash, it always pays to visit your GP. Not only will you get an accurate assessment of your condition, but you will also find out whether you require further medical treatment. This will ensure you have a detailed report to present to your insurer.

High vs. Low Deductible

A deductible represents the portion of your repair costs or medical bills you will have to pay before your policy’s features kick in. Simply put: A high deductible will lower your premium but will result in you paying more out of pocket in the event of an accident. A low deductible nets you protection against severe financial loss at the cost of a higher monthly or annual policy rate.

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Car Insurance FAQs
How Can I Get My Car Insurance Premiums Reduced? Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What Factors Affect My Auto Insurance Rates? When Can My Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums? What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Pennsylvania

Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in PennsylvaniaThe heartland of America’s steel manufacturing industry, Pennsylvania’s authorities rule the roads with an iron hand. If you’re caught driving without car insurance, you could find yourself staring down the barrel of fines and license suspensions.

While driving without insurance in Pennsylvania won’t affect your criminal record, it’s still an unnecessary blemish on your permanent driving record. By law, all motorists making use of state roads must purchase an auto insurance policy that meets the state’s mandated minimum liability limits.

This policy mirrors that of most other states, though the specific limits can vary. In PA, drivers are required to carry coverage that meets the following minimum limits:

  • $15,000 to cover bodily injuries to one person;
  • $30,000 to cover total bodily injuries per accident;
  • $5,000 to cover property damage; and
  • $5,000 in medical benefits per collision.

This is considered a basic policy as it provides only enough coverage to pay for the bare minimum damage and injuries sustained in a crash. Unfortunately, these limits are not sufficient to protect you from financial loss in the event of a major wreck. For this reason, many drivers choose to purchase addons to their basic policy to safeguard their financial security.

In this blog we’ll discuss:

  • Penalties for driving without auto insurance in Pennsylvania
  • Civil penalty option
  • Statement of Non-Operation of Vehicle
  • Tort and No-Fault States
  • High-risk driver categories
  • Uninsured motorist protection
  • Auto insurance deductibles
  • Filing a claim in Pennsylvania

When you make use of Pennsylvania’s roads, authorities can request that you show proof that you are insured. If you are unable to do so or you do not carry insurance up to the state’s minimum limits, you could be subjected to the following penalties:

Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania

If you cannot provide authorities with proof of an active insurance policy – such as the Declarations Page of your coverage – you can expect to face a fine of $300. There are no added penalties for being caught a second, third, or subsequent time. Additionally, your driver’s license and vehicle registration will be suspended for three months. Even worse, you will have to fork out an additional $176 to restore your vehicle registration and reinstate your driving privileges. Plus, in some cases, your vehicle may even be impounded.

Unlike most other states, Pennsylvania doesn’t have SR-22 filing requirements (unless you are moving here from another state). While this might provide some relief, it leaves you with no clear way to expedite your suspension and return to the road. Fortunately, the state offers the option of making a civil penalty payment to restore your vehicle’s registration.

What Is the Civil Penalty Option?

While you may be barred from driving for three months after a Driving Without Insurance violation, your family and friends might still need to use your vehicle. Under Pennsylvania’s vehicle code, you can pay a $500 civil penalty to prevent your car’s registration from being frozen. Plus, you will pay an additional $88 in reinstatement fees. This enables you to transfer your registration and circumvent the three-month suspension that would otherwise have put your car out of commission for the full 90 days. However, you will still have to wait out the three-month license suspension period before you are able to drive again.

Take note: You can only opt to pay the civil penalty once every 12 months. If you’re caught driving without insurance again during that time, there’s no way to reinstate your vehicle’s registration before the suspension period has ended.

What Is a Statement of Non-Operation of Vehicle?

While PA’s watertight traffic code leaves little wiggle room for errant motorists to dodge the strict penalties of driving without insurance, there’s one way to avoid registration and license suspensions. If the lapse in your coverage was for a period of less than one month and you can prove that you did not drive your car during this time, there’s a small chance the Department will waive your penalties. Obviously, this avenue is a cul-de-sac for motorists caught while driving, but if you received a notice that your coverage has lapsed, you can file an MV-221 form to avoid paying reinstatement and restoration fees.

Is Pennsylvania a “Tort” or “No Fault” State?

Each state is either a “tort” or “no fault” state. In “tort” states, the driver who was to blame for the accident taking place is responsible for compensating other parties for the property damage and injuries they sustained. For example, if a driver is speeding in the wrong lane and collides with oncoming traffic, he or she is now liable for the medical bills and repair costs of the not-at-fault individuals.

However, fault is rarely a clear-cut equation. Claims adjusters often divide responsibility among several drivers, assigning a percentage of fault to each. For example, if the adjuster determines you were 25% responsible for causing the accident, you may have to cover 25% of your damages out of your own pocket.

In “no fault” states, motorists are compensated for injuries and other damages sustained in a crash by their own providers regardless of who was to blame for the accident.

Pennsylvania is an outlier as motorists can opt for either full or limited tort insurance. Choosing limited tort locks you into the state’s no-fault system. As mentioned above, this type of coverage enables you to file a claim with your own insurer and seek compensation for injuries sustained in a crash regardless of whether you were to blame or not. However, if you purchase limited tort insurance, you cannot file a lawsuit to seek additional compensation unless you were involved in a crash with a driver who was under the influence, lacked auto insurance, or was from another state. As a result, once you’ve depleted your coverage’s limits, you may need to dip into your health insurance or savings to cover the rest of the expenses. In PA, limited tort insurance is cheaper than full tort coverage.

Opting for full tort insurance gives you carte blanche to sue other parties involved in a crash to recover the costs of treating injuries or repairing damage you sustained. While this type of insurance is more expensive, it may safeguard you from severe financial loss in the event of an accident with an at-fault driver.

What Is a High-Risk Driver?

Drivers identified as “high risk” have a statistically higher likelihood of being involved in a crash than the average motorist. As a result, they are far riskier to insure. If you were convicted of driving under the influence, causing a serious accident, or committing numerous minor traffic violations in a short period of time, you could be placed in this category. If you are classed as a high-risk driver, you can expect to pay a steep premium for even just a basic policy.

However, you may be able to reduce your rates by avoiding accidents for a few years. Many insurers also offer discounts to motorists who drive less than the average drivers, attend and complete safety driving course, obtain degrees, work in low-risk occupations, and who drive vehicles fitted with advanced safety features. You may also be able to reduce your premium by dropping unnecessary features from your policy.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Protection?

Pennsylvania has one of the lowest rates of uninsured motorists in the United States, with just over 7% of all drivers in the state risking fines and other penalties by driving without insurance. However, that still leaves you with around a 1 in 14 chance of being involved in a crash with a driver who does not have adequate coverage.

By law, providers are required to offer Uninsured Motorist Coverage to anyone purchasing a policy for their car. However, you can opt out of investing in this addon by signing what is known as a Rejection of Uninsured Motorist Protection waiver. Take note: If you do not complete this form when buying coverage, this feature is included automatically as part of your policy.

In Pennsylvania, this coverage does not apply to any damage your property sustains in an accident with an at-fault uninsured motorist. Instead, it covers medical costs for injuries sustained by you or your passengers caused by the accident. If you opt to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, our Geeks recommend matching your liability coverage to ensure you are covered up to the same amount.

Due to the low financial risks for providers offering this coverage, this feature is relatively affordable when compared to most other addons.

What Is an Auto Insurance Deductible?

In the event of an accident, a deductible is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket to cover damages as a result of the collision before your policy features kick in. In layman’s terms, a high deductible will reduce your rates but will leave you financially exposed after a car accident. A low deductible will cost you more every year or month but will safeguard you against severe financial loss.

How Do I File an Insurance Claim in Pennsylvania?

Not sure what to do after a crash? Below is a quick guide overview of the steps you should take after a car accident:

1. Call Emergency Services

Even minor accidents can cause major injuries that take years to heal completely. But calling emergency services in the aftermath of an accident not only will ensure everyone involved receives prompt medical treatment, but it will also mean police will arrive to clear the scene and compile a detailed accident report.

This report will be the backbone of your claim, potentially helping you prove fault and avoid a liability dispute. Police will secure the crash site, collect statements from the parties involved, and document evidence at the scene.

2. Get Info

You should always take down the personal details of any motorists involved in the accident including their names, phone numbers, insurance information, personal addresses, and plate numbers. Don’t forget to take down the contact details of anyone who may have the witnessed the crash take place, as well.

3. Build Your Case

Using your phone or a camera, you should snap pictures of any property damage and/or injuries you or anyone else sustained in the accident. Our Geeks recommend taking time to grab additional photographs of any road markings, signs, weather conditions, or other factors that may help you prove fault when filing your claim.

4. Seek Treatment

The impact forces in a crash can wreak havoc on your body, causing injuries that can take many years to heal. Even a low-speed crash can lead to slipped discs, spinal fractures, and severe sprains. Your doctor can assess your condition and determine whether you need medical treatment. Obtaining an accurate assessment of your injuries and future treatment early on not only will ensure you can get back on your feet as soon as possible, but it will also allow you to provide your insurer with a detailed breakdown of all costs involved healing your injuries. It will also prove that you have taken the necessary steps to mitigate your damages.

5. File Your Claim

Many motorists drag their heels following a collision, but waiting too long could cause the insurance company to deny your claim. As soon as possible, you should call your insurer to find out what documentation you will need to complete in order start the claims process. In addition to any requested forms, you should include evidence you collected from the crash site – such as photographs of property damage and witness statements – as well as your doctor’s medical report.

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Car Insurance FAQs
How Can I Get My Car Insurance Premiums Reduced? Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What Factors Affect My Auto Insurance Rates? When Can My Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums? What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?

5 Qualities to Look for in a Full-Face Motorcycle Helmet

Motorcyclists always seem to have more fun on the road than other drivers – speeding away from every intersection, parking in convenient spots, and saving money at the pump. But those benefits come with a higher risk of injury in the event of a crash.

Motorcycle wrecks tend to be far more serious than passenger-vehicle accidents. Per mile traveled in 2015, motorcyclists were killed 29 times more often than occupants of passenger vehicles.

If you’re in the market for a new motorcycle helmet, a full-face model is a sound investment. The obvious plus here is that you’re getting protection for your entire head – not just the top of your noggin like a half-helm. There’s also a visor to safeguard your eyes from debris so you don’t have to don any riding googles.

But which full-face helmet is best for you? Below are five qualities to consider when comparing your options:

1. Safety Standards

Your new helmet should be certified by a federal or independent body that it meets certain safety standards. Look for the letters DOT, ECE, or Snell on your new helmet.

A Department of Transportation (DOT) certification shows that the helmet meets mandatory minimum standards required by the U.S. government. ECE, which stands for the Economic Community of Europe, sets a slightly higher standard for helmet safety based on more rigorous performance tests. And the Snell Memorial Foundation, a private U.S. organization, issues another helmet safety standard, though its tests require the buy-in of manufacturers.

2. Material Construction

Helmets respond differently to impact depending on the materials they comprise. That means different helmets offer different levels of protection in the event of an accident.

Most motorcycle helmets feature an outer shell made from one of the following materials:

1. Polycarbonate, which is the least expensive but flexes on impact;
2. Fiberglass composite, which splits and is crushed when hit very hard; and
3. Carbon fiber, which is the most expensive but is highly effective at distributing the energy of an impact away from the head.

The lining is another important consideration. Check to ensure the inner shell of your new helmet is lined with expanded polystyrene (EPS), a densely compacted foam material that will absorb the shock of a collision.

3. Condition

Polycarbonate, fiberglass composite, and carbon fiber are all effective for protecting your head and brain from impact, but only if your helmet is in good condition. Accidents can cause a the outer shell of a helmet to scuff and crack, and if a subsequent collision occurs, the helmet could split and fall apart, leaving your head exposed.

EPS is also prone to damage. Much like a styrofoam coffee cup, this lining should be regarded as a single-use item; a collision will leave indents and gouges that may not be immediately visible, and these dents will weaken the lining as a whole.

If you are unable to verify the condition of a used helmet with less than 100 percent accuracy, buy a new one instead.

4. An Effective Visor

Motorcycles are performance vehicles, which means they’re capable of taking on traffic at great speeds, weaving through jams and negotiating tight corners with ease. All of which adds to the thrill, of course – but if you want to get from point A to point B unscathed, you need great visibility.

At a high speed, other vehicles and obstacles on the road can come out of nowhere, and if your line of sight is unclear in even the smallest way, you’re at a higher risk of crashing. While some eye shields are injection molded to offer a clear view, others have been bent to fit the shape of the helmet and are prone to distorting your field of vision.

Test before you buy. Wear the helmet and walk outside to gauge its ability to eliminate glare from the sun. Check to see if the helmet comes with a built-in anti-fog shield, which may save you from costly sprays and coatings.

5. Proper Ventilation

A motorcycle helmet is naturally stuffy, so a good ventilation system is crucial for ensuring a comfortable ride. Also, traffic can be toxic as exhaust and other fumes build up in front and around you. Proper airflow inside your helmet will help dilute these gases and keep your air safe to breathe. Make sure there is a clearly defined air vent in the chin area, then look for small air holes in the EPS lining, and check that they line up with the holes along the outer shell.

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What Is SR-22 Car Insurance?

Most drivers know to expect fines and perhaps a suspended license if they violate certain traffic laws. But there are some lesser-known penalties that drivers only learn about when it’s time to face the music. One such penalty is being required to purchase SR-22 insurance, which can add thousands of dollars to your premiums over time.

An SR-22 is a form that may be needed to reinstate your driving privileges after committing a serious traffic offense. When your driver’s license is suspended following certain traffic violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or being involved in too many at-fault accidents, you may be required to fulfill state-specific SR-22 requirements to get back on the road. This often involves purchasing insurance from a provider who is willing to take on a high-risk driver, which typically comes with an uptick in your monthly premiums.

Typically, you will need to maintain SR-22 insurance for two to five years without a break in your coverage before the state will lift your SR-22 filing requirements.

Do I Need SR-22 Car Insurance?

You may need to fulfill the SR-22 filing requirements if you were caught driving without a valid license or insurance that meets your state’s minimum coverage limits. You may also need SR-22 insurance if:

  • You were convicted of a DUI, DWI, OWI, or a related offense;
  • You caused one or more at-fault accidents;
  • You failed to pay court-ordered child support; or
  • You committed repeat offenses in a short timeframe.

What Is SR-22 Car Insurance?

If an SR-22 is ordered by the court, a judge will inform you of the duration and demands of the requirement. If it’s ordered by the state, you will receive a letter from your local DMV outlining the steps you will need to take to reinstate your driving privileges.

How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost?

Whether you were caught driving without insurance, committing traffic violations, or drunk driving, your offenses are a scarlet letter for insurers. Typically, motorists who require SR-22 insurance are classed as high-risk drivers. As a result, you should expect to pay far more for your insurance than the drivers with a clean record because the insurance company will assume that you are more likely to file a claim.

Most auto insurance providers charge about $35 to cover the costs of renewing and filing your SR-22. But the real price is baked into your new premium, which will increase after your license is suspended or revoked. In fact, many providers do not want to take on the risks associated with a driver who requires SR-22 insurance and may reject your application for coverage.

Fortunately, there are many auto insurance companies who provide competitive rates to high-risk motorists. Although you probably won’t get the same premiums as you did before the SR-22 requirement, you may still be able to find affordable coverage by comparing your options. To help you save time and narrow down the options, our Geeks conducted a detailed study to identify the companies that offer the cheapest rates for drivers who need SR-22 insurance in each state.

Will My Premium Reduce When I No Longer Need SR-22 Insurance?

While this is often the case, you can’t count on it. Your SR-22 is a blemish on your driving record and a red flag to your current and future insurers. Auto insurance companies determine your rates based on statistics, surveys, and your driving history to calculate your probability of filing a claim. Providers will look at factors such as your occupation, age, education, and more to arrive at your monthly premium.

Insurers reward low-risk drivers with lower premiums. But your status as a policy pariah isn’t permanent. Drive safely and avoid accidents for the duration of your plan’s term, and you can expect your insurer to reduce your rates gradually every time you renew your policy. Keep it up and you could leave your past transgressions in the dust.

What Are the SR-22 Filing Requirements?

This is a tricky question to answer because every state has its own requirements for paperwork, filing fees, and more. Typically, you will be required to maintain uninterrupted insurance coverage for a period of three years. During this time, your insurer will need to complete the relevant SR-22 paperwork to update your state’s DMV on the status of your coverage.

If you miss a payment on your policy, cancel your insurance, or allow your coverage to lapse for any reason, your auto insurance company must inform the state that you no longer have adequate coverage. In this event:

  • Your license may be revoked or suspended. Maintaining your policy throughout the mandated SR-22 filing period is a vital part of retaining your driving privileges. If you have no insurance, the DMV may suspend or revoke your license again, resetting your SR-22 period and forcing you to file reams of paperwork to prove you are once again insured.
  • You may have to pay more fees. The costs of restoring your registration, reinstating your license, and purchasing a new policy will add up to a massive bill.
  • Your vehicle registration may be suspended. You’ve spent weeks reinstating your vehicle registration, but allowing your policy to lapse is a death knell for your car’s road worthiness. You will have to visit your local DMV to restore your vehicle’s registration.

Allowing your coverage to lapse is a costly mistake that could set you back hundreds of dollars and leave you languishing in the high-risk driver category for years to come. Our Geeks recommend setting up automatic payments with your provider or paying your entire premium upfront to avoid headaches and heartaches in the future. Not only will this simplify your life, but both of these options may also net you lucrative discounts, helping you bring down your increased premium.

What Are the SR-22 Filing Requirements?

What Happens If I Don’t Drive During the SR-22 Filing Period?

Skipping time behind the steering wheel to save money is a good idea. But regardless of whether you rack up the mileage or pedal your way to work, the state still needs you to serve your SR-22 sentence before this frustrating requirement is scratched from your driving record. With SR-22 forms, it’s always beneficial to purchase the relevant policy now to ensure this dark cloud disappears as quickly as possible.

However, there are cost-saving benefits to driving less. Not only will this reduce your risk of being involved in an accident and committing other traffic violations, but you may also qualify for lucrative low-mileage discounts offered by many of the country’s top insurers.

What Happens to SR-22 Insurance If I Move to a New State?

An SR-22 form is part of your official driving record until you’ve met state-specific requirements for the prescribed duration. But what happens if you were strapped with these requirements in one state and moved to another? Or moved to a state that does not require SR-22 insurance?

Unfortunately, you cannot escape this inconvenient responsibility. When you purchase a policy, the DMV in your new state still has access to your complete driving history and can see that you are currently required to carry SR-22 insurance. In most cases, you will have to maintain an out-of-state SR-22 policy with a nationwide auto insurance company.

If you let your insurance lapse, you could be penalized with increased premiums and lose your driver’s license. Our Geeks recommend contacting your provider before you move to find out what steps to take to avoid compromising your situation.

Can I Change Auto Insurance Companies When I Have SR-22 Insurance?

Certainly! If you are shopping around and find an auto insurance company offering lower rates for similar coverage, you are allowed to switch over to the new provider. The DMV will only penalize you if you allow your coverage to lapse during the SR-22 period. You should make sure your new provider is aware of all your SR-22 requirements and has filed the relevant paperwork to update the department on your insurance status.

Do I Need SR-22 Insurance for Every Car I Own?

Yes and no. The DMV wants to see that you have proper liability coverage, and that includes SR-22 insurance. However, in most cases, once you have fulfilled this requirement for one vehicle, you can insure your other cars or motorcycles with insurers that do not offer SR-22 insurance. Be warned: This won’t necessarily lower your premiums as these rates are calculated based on your driving record, which includes information about the violations that led to your SR-22 requirement in the first place.

Pro Tip: You can often score a big discount if you insure all your vehicles as part of a multi-vehicle policy with a single provider. You may also benefit from bundling your SR-22 insurance as part of an umbrella package that includes your house insurance and life insurance policies.

How Does SR-22 Insurance Differ from a Basic Policy?

Generally speaking, SR-22 insurance is almost identical to other policies, but it can differ in a few important ways. First, your new policy may limit who can drive your vehicle to only the drivers listed on your policy and may exclude any drivers under a certain age from using your car. Second, your insurer may slash compensation for repairs after an accident. And finally, you may not qualify for important added benefits such as accident forgiveness.

How Does SR-22 Insurance Differ from a Basic Policy?

How Do I Find a Licensed Company for SR-22 Insurance Near Me?

While many of the country’s top insurers offer SR-22 coverage, you may benefit from purchasing a policy from a provider specializing in coverage for high-risk drivers. While finding a high-risk insurer with a low-complaint ratio is tricky, it is possible.

Our Geeks recommend reading poring over the paperwork to ensure you aren’t signing up for a plan that could pack in rate hikes and fees at a later date. Use our comparison tool to find the right policy and insurer for your situation and budget.

What Is FR-44 Insurance?

If you reside in the states of Florida or Virginia, you may have heard of FR-44 certification or insurance. These states require you to carry this type of coverage to reinstate your license following a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving after you license has been revoked or suspended for a conviction, violating traffic laws, or maiming, injuring, or killing someone while driving under the influence.

Unlike SR-22 insurance, FR-44 certification requires you to purchase liability equal to more than double the state’s mandatory minimum insurance limits. As a result, you will pay a small fortune to cover the annual or monthly costs of your new policy. It’s not unusual for motorists to pay thousands of dollars every year to purchase the right coverage to qualify for an FR-44 certificate. Many are forced to take out loans to ease the financial burden of this state-specific requirement.

How Can I Reduce My SR-22 Premium?

Yes! SR-22 insurance is incredibly expensive, but even high-risk drivers are rewarded for shopping around for low-cost options. Providers offer a wide range of discounts based on a variety of factors such as your occupation, education, car model, annual mileage, and more.

You may consider moving over to a new auto insurance company offering a better SR-22 policy. Look for insurers that offer new business transfer discounts as these companies will give you a lower rate for transferring over your existing plan from your current insurer.

A safe driving discount may net you even further savings. Insurers offering this discount will monitor your driving habits using either a device installed in your car or an app on your phone, adjusting your premium based on factors such as your average speed, braking times, and more. Drive safely and you could bag yourself up to 10% off your premium.

Find Cheap Insurance By State
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Car Insurance FAQs
How Can I Get My Car Insurance Premiums Reduced? Should I Buy Uninsured Motorist Coverage? What Factors Affect My Auto Insurance Rates? When Can My Car Insurance Company Increase My Premiums? What Are Common Reasons Why Car Insurance Claims Are Denied?