Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance, is a coverage that is available to add to your car insurance policy. It is also one of the cheapest, yet most important insurance coverages you can have.
In many states, PIP coverage is mandatory for all insured drivers. However, in the state of Washington, PIP coverage is optional. If an insured refuses the coverage, they must sign a PIP waiver form saying that they are refusing it.
Caution should be used when providing an electronic signature as it can be used to say that one has rejected PIP coverage when in fact it may not have ever even been offered. Therefore, before you finalize your coverage and after you have selected your coverage it is important to review your policy to make sure PIP coverage is listed on your policy.
Due to the benefits, you should have PIP insurance, it’s that simple.
PIP pays for collision-related medical expenses, regardless of fault. This means any collision regardless if it’s your car, someone else’s car, or even if you’re not in a car, but still involved in an auto accident. There are no copays or deductibles, and collision-related medical bills are paid at 100%. Also, if you have other passengers in your vehicle, like your children or friends, each person in the vehicle has a separate $10,000 limit for (their) individual health care bills.
Important facts about PIP insurance –
- In the state of Washington, the minimum amount of PIP coverage you can purchase is $10,000 although higher limits of coverage are available. Due to rising health care costs and the cost of a hospital visit we recommend purchasing $35,000 for this reason.
- The PIP insurer will pay up to $10,000 in collision-related medical expenses for up to three years.
- The coverage applies to each person in the insured vehicle.
PIP also provides benefits that are collision-related too.
- Income loss – If a driver cannot work as a result of injuries incurred in the collision, the PIP policy will pay a portion of the lost wages.
- Household services – If you are unable to perform household chores such as cleaning or yard work, PIP coverage also provides a daily stipend to hire someone to perform these services.
Note that loss of services benefits, under the PIP policy require the injured person to obtain a letter from their physician stating their inability to perform daily household chores and must include a start and end date. The injured person must then provide itemized receipts of the work with workers name, date the work was performed, services performed, and payment per day to be considered for coverage.
Why do I need PIP if I already have health insurance?
PIP has many more benefits not covered by health insurance. For example:
- No preauthorization requirement
- No co-pays
- No deductible
- PIP insurance pays 100% of the medical bill
- You may see any healthcare provider you want
- You do not need a prescription in order to see a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist, etc. (A majority of the time, Chiropractors are the first physician’s people go to following the collision due to their specialized training in car crash related injuries)
OK, I have PIP and I got in an accident, what now?
In the event that one is injured in a motor vehicle collision it is important to obtain a copy of the PIP policy, or declaration page in order to determine what coverage is available and for how long.
In order to obtain medical benefits under a PIP policy, your doctor’s records must show that your treatment and any referrals to other healthcare providers are reasonable, necessary, and related to the collision. This is especially important in not only ensuring your medical bills are covered under PIP but also that your PIP claim does not end up being discontinued altogether.
We help ensure your PIP is honored
Our doctors have advanced training in Whiplash and Brain Injury Traumatology from the Spine Research Institute of San Diego. The institute is considered to be the world leader in auto collision training and research for physicians with emphasis on diagnosing auto collision injuries, proper treatment protocols, and medical record documentation.
As advanced graduates, our doctors are routinely called to testify as expert witnesses, for second opinions, consultations, and examinations by other professionals in the med-legal arena.