Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Injuries can be expensive. Hospital bills, doctor visits, medications, time lost from work, paying workers to do the tasks you used to do yourself, and – if you’re very unfortunate – funeral costs, all mount up quickly. What’s worse is that if there’s any question as to who is at fault, or how two drivers share fault, or how much should be covered by whom, it can take months to receive an insurance settlement. In the meantime, you still have doctors sending bills, medications to purchase, and your life to live (as well as you can).

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) can help with that.

Do I have PIP?

In Washington State, PIP is actually required on all automobile insurance policies unless the insured waives it in writing. If you don’t remember signing a PIP waiver (or specifically waiving PIP on an online insurance application), you probably have PIP. If your insurance policy doesn’t include PIP but your insurance company can’t produce your signed waiver, they are required to retroactively add it into your policy, whether or not you’ve been paying for it.

Why do I want PIP?

PIP helps cover all those expenses listed above, but does so without waiting for the court battle over who is at fault: PIP is available immediately to cover your expenses after you are injured in an accident. It provides the sort of timely payments you need while you wait for the insurance companies to determine who should pay for the rest.

What does PIP cover?

PIP will cover the insured person, any relatives (by birth, marriage, or adoption) who live in his household, step or foster kids, and even non-relative passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident. PIP will cover the residents of your household even if they’re not riding in the insured vehicle at the time of the collision. If you are a passenger in another car, or hit by a car as a pedestrian, your PIP coverage will help you.  If you are riding in another person’s car or hit as a pedestrian and you are injured, the PIP coverage on the car involved in the collision is primary – so that insurance will cover your bills first, up to the limits of the policy, and then your own PIP will pick up and continue to pay for additional covered expenses and lost wages.

PIP doesn’t cover injuries related to farm equipment, off-road or recreational vehicles, mopeds, or motorcycles. PIP coverage may also be denied if the injuries are intentional, related to organized racing, or if you were injured while committing a felony.

How much does PIP cover?

PIP covers a minimum of $10,000 per person, per accident for personal injuries. It also covers up to $2,000 for funeral expenses, and provides payments of up to $200 per week for income replacement if you can’t return to work immediately (up to $10,000 total) and $200 per week for loss of services coverage (so you can pay workers to do the tasks you can’t perform, up to $5,000 total). You can increase these coverage limits by purchasing additional coverage.

If you have been injured in an accident, your insurance company might not volunteer information about your PIP coverage. David Duce of The Sullivan Law Group can explain and verify your available insurance coverages.