When it comes to auto insurance, liability insurance tends to receive the most attention. PIP or “Personal Injury Protection” is an important coverage that often gets overlooked by consumers. PIP is often referred to as “no fault” coverage, because it pays out claims regardless of who is at fault in an accident.
PIP insurance provides medical coverage, even if you already have health insurance. There are no deductibles or co-pays, and unlike most health insurance policies, individuals with PIP coverage are not limited to a specific network of medical providers from which to seek treatment. PIP also covers lost wages if your injuries cause you to miss work. Some policies even cover essential services, such as child care or cleaning, that you may not be able to perform because of your injuries.
PIP coverage often “bridges the gap” for individuals who are involved in an auto-accident and are pursuing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance. Third party claims can take years to resolve, but PIP insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages immediately following an accident.
In Washington, auto insurance policies automatically include PIP coverage unless the consumer voluntarily opts out. Most insurance companies offer a standard $10,000 PIP policy. The coverage generally provides protection for you, your passengers, and other authorized drivers of your insured vehicle. Given the potential financial impact of a serious accident, purchasing coverage with higher limits might be in your best interests. The high cost of medical treatment can cause a $10,000 policy to disappear quickly.
Most insurance companies require PIP benefits to be repaid if you reach a final settlement with the at-fault driver, but if you hire a personal injury attorney your insurance company must contribute to your attorney fees by reducing the amount of PIP benefits that have to be repaid. Baumgartner, Nelson & Wagner, PLLC has years of experience handling PIP claims. If you have been in an auto accident, do not hesitate to contact us. We serve clients in Southwest Washington and the Portland-Metro area.