Car accidents are frustrating and can be overwhelming, but PIP can help you in an auto accident. You are not only suffering from the pain you received from your auto accident, but you also have to deal with the headache of insurance, car repairs, medical bills, and so on. Typically, most drivers never read through their auto insurance policies until they end up in an accident. Many don’t even realize that their coverage includes PIP. Even after reading through the policies, drivers may be left even more confused due to the amount of jargon and legal terms used throughout the document. It is crucial to understand the type of auto insurance coverage you have because it can affect you greatly.
What is Pip?
- PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection.
- The laws governing PIP varies from state to state.
- Oregon law PIP is mandatory with an established 15K minimum.
- Washington law PIP is optional with an established 10K minimum.
- PIP is considered “No-Fault.”
Why Is PIP a “must-have”?
- PIP is considered no-fault coverage. This basically means that whether the collision was your fault or not, your PIP will cover treatment for your injuries up to the PIP amount on your policy.
- PIP is also one of the last great values in the insurance landscape. Did you know, one Starbucks latte per month could literally pay for the monthly premium.
- PIP covers not only you, but also all passengers in the car. For example, if there are 5 people in the car and the car has a 35K PIP policy, then 35K per person equates to 175K worth of PIP.
- PIP not only covers treatment for your injuries, but also, with a doctor’s note, cover time lost from work, house cleaning, yard work, and childcare.
- PIP is not subject to out of pocket expenses. Unlike regular health insurance, PIP is not subject to costly deductibles, expensive co-pays, and co-insurance.
- PIP is also not subject to the same health insurance restrictions such as; limited referral network, limited or set number of visits, and pre-authorization from your primary medical doctor.
- PIP offers you the freedom to seek out a clinic or doctor of your choosing. Preferably one that specializes in auto collision injuries.
If you don’t understand why you need PIP if the car collision is not your fault, read these points below.
- There is a common misconception that regardless of anything, if the collision is not my fault, then the liable party’s insurance company is responsible and will take care of everything. And, that is certainly what the liable 3rd party will communicate to you. However, what they don’t tell you is that there is no binding contract between you and them obligating them to take care of you. The 3rd party from day one is also building their case against you, which they are hoping to exercise later by not paying your medical bills. The 3rd party can make your life very difficult quite easily.
- The liable 3rd party could also have a very limited and low coverage type of policy that often times will fall way short of covering your medical bills if there are any moderate to significant injuries. Often times people with the minimum coverage type of policies are trying to save money on their monthly premiums so they can make ends meet. This person may also have little to no assets. So the take-home is you could easily be stuck with expensive unpaid medical bills. Your best protection against this is having at least 35K PIP coverage on your auto insurance policy and having at least 100K/300K on your UM/UIM (uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage) coverage.
- PIP is also very important because it will pay for your injury treatment as you go, and not wait until the end of care. The liable 3rd party insurance never pays on medical bills/claims until the final settlement of your case. And even then you are fortunate if they pay the full amount. Therefore, PIP helps prevent you from having outstanding medical bills, and many clinics that take 3rd party claims where there is no PIP will charge the max interest rate allowable by law along with late fee charges on your outstanding balance. And, when you are dealing with a 3rd party insurance they can drag out the settlement of your case for several years, all while you have expensive medical bills that are not going away. Again, most doctors and clinics want their money now and do not want to get involved in your legal battles. So the big take home in all this is that at the end of the day ultimately the patient is responsible for their doctor bills, and most clinics will not hesitate to go after you to the point of collections or small claims court. Remember, it’s your signature on their forms.
- For the very rationale stated above, having no PIP severely limits the doctors or clinics you can go to. So if there are any type of significant injuries that would require a specialist, it is next to impossible to find a good doctor and clinic that knows how to properly handle auto collision injuries. Almost every doctor or clinic that has taken a 3rd party claim has had a bad experience of not getting paid either by the insurance, the attorney, the patient, or a combination of all three. So the bottom line is no PIP severely limits your choice of doctors. It’s not to say that doctors or clinics that take 3rd party claims are bad, it’s just that there are very few who will wait to get paid upon settlement. We are one of a very small handful. And that’s only because we have been doing PI work so long.