What Is PIP, and Why Do I Need It?
Personal Injury Protection insurance, commonly known as PIP, is a form of medical coverage on your car insurance policy. It covers medical expenses, some wage loss, and some services if you are injured in a motor vehicle collision.
What Does PIP Cover?
In the event of an injury after a car collision, PIP covers
- medically necessary visits to the emergency room, x-rays, MRIs, medical doctor visits, chiropractor visits, massage therapy, physical therapy, and acupuncture without deductibles or co-pays
- $2,000 of funeral expenses
- income loss up to 85% of weekly salary between $200-$700 max, up to $10,000, with some restrictions, after a two-week waiting period
- home services such as house cleaning, dog walking, grocery shopping, and other activities that you are unable to do as a result of your car accident injuries, up to $5,000 with restrictions (up to $40/day or $200 a week max)
What Doesn’t It Cover?
PIP does not cover prescriptions or items such as braces, pain creams, or nutritional supplements.
Washington State law requires that auto insurers offer a minimum PIP coverage of $10,000. Insurers must make additional coverage available on request. The next highest amount available is $35,000; some insurers offer higher amounts.
To reject PIP coverage, you MUST knowingly and willingly sign a PIP waiver. If you believe you have coverage and the insurance adjustor says you do not, they MUST show proof of a signed waiver. If your insurance adjuster says you do not have it and takes their time producing the waiver, it is a good idea to contact a personal injury attorney about your options. If you don’t know a good personal injury attorney, we can make recommendations.
An Essential Aspect of PIP: It’s “Portable” and “Stackable”
What is portable and stackable?
- PIP covers the patient when they are injured in their vehicle and all passengers in their vehicle at the time of injury.
- A person’s PIP covers them if they are injured in another person’s vehicle. For example, if you were a passenger in a vehicle that was hit, and the driver of the car you are in does not have it, but you do, your PIP insurance covers you.
- PIP covers pedestrians and bicyclists hit by a car and injured
- PIP covers the children of a patient in any of the above scenarios.
- If the drivers of other vehicles involved in the accident have PIP coverage with the same insurer, in some cases, the pool of funds can be combined or “stacked.”
An Example of Why it’s Important to Have This Insurance
Let’s say you are driving on Highway 18 headed into Federal Way at the stoplight at Highway 99, when suddenly, out of nowhere, you are rear-ended by a truck while the driver was talking on their cell phone. You were hit so hard that your sunglasses flew from your face, and your seat went backward, breaking your driver’s seat. You are in immediate shock and have low back pain, mid back pain, and quite possibly a headache. What’s next? First, call the police and report the collision. They may tell you to move to the side of the road. Next, exchange information with the other driver. Uh oh, the other driver does not have insurance or only liability coverage. Good thing you have PIP coverage, so you call your insurance company and open a PIP claim. The next step is up to you. You can go to your medical doctor for an evaluation, or you can go straight to your chiropractor for evaluation and care. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may begin a care plan. Some chiropractic care plans are short and take as little as twelve to 20 visits; in much more severe cases may take many more visits.
Having personal injury protection can save you a lot of stress because you’ll know you can get the medical care you need at no cost to you.
It is also important to know that if you open a PIP claim for an injury that was not your fault, your insurance company cannot raise your insurance rates.
Contact your insurance agent now to add PIP to your insurance policy. It is surprisingly inexpensive and worth every penny if you are involved in a car collision.
Contact us about treatment if you were injured in a car accident.