About Washington Insurance Laws, Health Insurance and Regulations…
The insurance industry in Washington is heavily regulated to ensure consumers are protected from malicious activities from businesses that may want to take advantage of them. All insurance companies licensed to do business within the state are required to comply with the regulations governing their particular market or risk facing serious penalties. In this way, Washington is very similar to the other states of the country, but it differs in terms of the regulations that manage the various insurance sectors that call the state home.
Washington Auto Insurance…
As in other states, drivers in Washington are required to carry a minimum level of auto insurance liability coverage. The minimum limits of this coverage are $25,000 for injury/death of one person in any individual accident, $50,000 for injury/death of two or more people in any one accident, and $10,000 for damage to property in any one accident. Drivers are required to carry proof of the validity of their auto insurance policy, which most often takes the form of a simple identification card, which includes the name of the insurance provider and the effective date of coverage.
Individuals or organizations that own and operate 26 or more vehicles qualify for self-insurance, which can be acquired through the state’s Department of Licensing. Self-insurance is subject to its own set of regulations and those choosing this coverage option must provide proof that they can account for the financial implications of any accidents their vehicles may be involved in.
Washington Health Insurance…
Health insurance coverage is not required by the state, but the federal government will require citizens to purchase and maintain some level of health insurance coverage beginning in 2014. Washington is one of many states that is building its own health insurance exchange program. This program, Called the Health Benefit Exchange, is meant to provide consumers with access to affordable health insurance plans and bring more transparency and accountability to the insurance market as a whole. The state will govern the exchange program and ensure that the insurance companies participating in it adhere to the regulations that legislators establish.
As in other states, health insurance companies are required to submit to a rigorous rate review process. Insurers regularly propose rate increases for coverage to account for the changes in the market aqnd the rising cost of medical care. Regulators review these rate proposals to determine whether they are necessary or not. Proposals that are deemed excessive are rejected, but insurers have an opportunity to rework their proposals to be more consumer friendly.
Washington Homeowners Insurance…
The state does not require property owners to hold insurance coverage. Certain types of homeowners insurance coverage may be required for those looking to purchase new homes, but this is often a matter between consumers and financial institutions or realty companies rather than one concerning the state government. Regulations concerning homeowners insurance are largely focused on ensuring consumers are not exploited.
Washington Insurance Resources:
Washington Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kreidler
Washington Department of Insurance Website: http://www.insurance.wa.gov/
Washington Insurance Agent Licensing Info: Coming Soon
File Insurance Complaint: http://www.insurance.wa.gov/complaints-and-fraud/file-a-complaint/