If you have ever been in a motor vehicle collision you may be familiar with Personal Injury Protection, also known as PIP. Washington State requires every motorist to carry liability insurance in the amounts of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. In Washington, however, PIP and uninsured motorist coverage is not mandatory. Any motorist may decline to carry PIP or uninsured motorist coverage, as long as they do so in writing or by electronic signature.Personal Injury Protection is insurance coverage that is used by you if you are injured in a collision. Washington has a $10,000 minimum, but many insurance companies offer $25,000, $35,000 or even higher policies. PIP can be used to cover your medical expenses, wage loss, loss of services or funeral benefits.It may have been recommended to you that you can save money by declining PIP and instead use your private health insurance to cover medical expenses related to a car accident. This is not good advice for the following reasons:
- PIP has no deductible or co-pay
- PIP does not have capped visit limits like some health plans
- Health insurance companies will not pay wage loss or loss of services
- Using your PIP will not affect future insurance rates
As the New Year approaches this is an excellent time to sit down and review your insurance policy. Do you have PIP? Uninsured or Under-Insured Motorist? Do you have high enough limits? A serious accident that requires an ambulance ride, emergency room visit, and radiology studies may quickly deplete your insurance benefit.The Washington State Insurance Commissioner has an easy to understand website that can be used as a tool for understanding insurance. www.insurance.wa.gov
Check in with your current agent to see if you have the right coverage that protects you. Don’t wait until after an accident to discover that the coverage you have is not enough.