Personal Injury Protection coverage, perhaps better known as “PIP”, is a coverage that insurers must offer that pays the medical bills of victims of motor vehicle collisions. What’s important to remember about PIP coverage is that it is one of two coverages the insurer MUST offer on their policy to you. To decline this coverage, you must do so in writing- otherwise you have access to its benefits.
What is PIP coverage and why does it matter?
Following an accident, many people’s first thoughts are about who will pay for the medical care that they need to receive to treat their injuries. It’s a fair thought when one is a victim of another driver’s negligence! While it’s true that the other driver or their insurance will ultimately be responsible for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and all other associated damages, that company won’t pay on your bills until you agree to close the case.
When this occurs, the insurance company has all the leverage, and they know it. You, as the victim, are forced to make the decision between your credit and your long term health, as the insurance company knows your medical bills will wind up in collections if they go unpaid.
The answer? ADD PIP COVERAGE to your existing auto policy — it’s cheap, it’s effective, and you’ll be glad you have it if you’re involved in a collision. The coverage will pay your bills immediately, before having to involve your health insurance, and will keep your credit unaffected by the accident in the meantime.
PIP coverage is sold in Washington State at a $10,000 limit minimum, and is often offered by insurers at $35,000, which we recommend. In Puyallup, Tacoma, and surrounding areas, hospital visits often result in medical bills exceeding $10,000. If this is you, and you’ve returned from the emergency room following an accident, we recommend you call us right now so that we can maximize your PIP benefits by asking that they be utilized in the way most effective to you- whether used for the emergency room care or otherwise.
What does PIP cover?
PIP will cover expenses from:
- hospital visits
- medical physicians
- physical therapy
- other expenses associated with the accident
PIP also provides for wage loss continuation benefits, which will take effect if you miss work following an accident. This coverage usually kicks in 14 days following an accident, and we can help with initiating it for you.
Another benefit of PIP coverage is the “household services” provision, which calls for the PIP carrier to pay for reasonable expenses such as cleaning, landscaping, yard work, and other housework that the injured party cannot due while they are healing. Again, if your PIP carrier isn’t paying up, please give us a call.
What is a PIP application?
In Washington State, PIP carriers usually send what is called an application for benefits — this is your key to activating the benefits that PIP provides. While it may seem like a simple form, we do recommend that you connect with an attorney prior to sending it back, as insurance companies are notorious for using their policyholder’s honesty against them when it comes to disclosing any previous pain similar to that which they are experiencing following their accident.
Is PIP coverage worth the cost?
In short, PIP coverage is one of the few coverages that insurance companies offer that is worth the money you pay, and if you’re unfortunately involved in an accident and are injured, you’ll be immensely glad you carried it.
As always, we recommend that if you’ve been involved in an automobile accident that you take advantage of our free case review and consultation, where we will be happy to walk you through the processes free of charge.