Auto insurance is a big household expense, and we are all looking for ways to trim the budget. Don’t skimp on PIP! People mistakenly believe that if they have health insurance, they do not need to have PIP coverage (Personal Injury Protection). As indicated by the name, personal injury protection coverage, PIP provides more than medical coverage. This policy benefit also pays for household help if you need help at home because of your injuries. PIP pays your lost wages if you have to miss work because of accident-related injuries, and, in the worst case scenario, it will pay funeral benefits.
Even if you are not at fault for the accident, you still need PIP. The at-fault party’s insurance will not pay your lost wages and medical bills and household help until you sign a release agreeing that your claim has been paid in full. In other words, the other insurance company provides reimbursement for medical bills and lost wages the end of the claim, which could be a long time from the date of the accident.
Even people with medical insurance can benefit from PIP. PIP does not have restrictions on the network of medical providers you can see, and PIP does not have deductibles or co-pays.
The Washington State Legislature considered it so crucial for people to have PIP that auto insurance policies in Washington automatically include PIP coverage unless the consumer voluntarily signs a waiver opting out. Don’t sign away your right to PIP! It is relatively inexpensive to get good PIP coverage.
Most insurance policies require PIP benefits to be repaid from the final settlement with the at-fault insurance company. It is a little-known fact, however, that if you have a personal injury attorney, your insurance company has to contribute to your attorney’s fees by reducing the amount of PIP that has to be repaid. For this reason and many others, having an attorney on your side during an accident claim is to your benefit.
Once you have decided to include PIP in your coverage, the next question is: how much PIP should I purchase? Most companies offer a standard $10,000 PIP coverage policy and a $35,000 policy. It is worth purchasing the extra coverage because the $10,000 policy generally only pays $200 a week in lost wages and pays a maximum of $10,000 in medical bills. The enhanced PIP pays a higher weekly income loss benefit and $35,000 in medical bills. With the cost of medical procedures, it is not unusual to incur as much as $35,000 in medical bills – even a short hospital stay alone can often exceed that amount.
The PIP coverage you have on your vehicle provides protection for you, your household members, your passengers, and any pedestrian or bicyclist whom you might accidentally injure. Fuller & Fuller, Attorneys at Law has over forty years of experience in handling PIP claims, and we strongly urge you to protect your family by purchasing PIP coverage. If you are ever involved in an auto accident, please do not hesitate to contact Fuller & Fuller by calling (800) 570-4878 or visiting us at www.fullerlaw.com. We have generations of experience in serving clients in Western Washington with offices in Tacoma and Olympia.