Burien/White Center Personal Injury Attorney advises: Check your auto policy for Personal Injury Protection ‘PIP or Med-Pay
COVID – 19 Auto Insurance Annual Reminder
Burien – White Center Personal Injury Lawyer advises:
Check your auto policy for Personal Injury Protection “PIP” or Med-Pay.
Auto insurance can be a difficult field, especially since it seems to have a language of its own. This blog explains why PIP or Med Pay insurance is an essential part of your auto insurance. Often overlooked in the shared goal of finding the lowest insurance rates, PIP and Med-Pay play an important role if you are in a serious car accident.
This is especially true in the COVID-19 era, when many of us are trying to save money and “pinch off” pennies in hopes of surviving the economic impact of COVID-19.
Over the past week, several injured people have called my office to discuss their auto injury claims and medical treatment needs. For the first time, they realize they don’t have Personal Injury Protection or Med-Pay.
There are a number of reasons a person might not have Personal Injury Protection or Med-Pay coverage. Mostly it’s cost. In the world we live in, a person may forget to tick the correct box on their insurance application, thereby foregoing this vital coverage. A knowledgeable and experienced insurance agent can assist you with this process and make sure this does not happen.
Respected Burien All State Agent Charlie Brown notes, “It is absolutely essential that policyholders maintain either PIP or Med-Pay. I recommend these options to all of my customers. “
PIP can cost from as little as fifty dollars a month to a few hundred dollars a month. This depends on the age of the applicant, the make and model of the applicant’s vehicle, and the amount of coverage applied for. It may not be the most affordable coverage for your auto policy, but it is vital to adequate protection.
What does PIP mean?
PIP is an acronym for Personal Injury Protection. Sometimes it is called “Med-Pay”. It’s a type of insurance that can be added to your car insurance and is designed to cover your medical expenses in the event of an accident. In some cases, PIP insurance can even cover lost wages if your accident has made you unable to work for a certain period of time.
The PIP benefits are limited to the driver and passengers in the insured vehicle. The injured person searches for their own insurance policy or the policy of the vehicle they were passenger in for PIP or Med-Pay services. The exception to this general rule applies to pedestrians and cyclists. In Washington, pedestrians and cyclists can experience the PIP benefits of the car that hits and injures them.
In Washington state, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage for your auto insurance pays for medical expenses related to a car accident, regardless of fault, and pays off instantly. If you are injured by another driver, you must first settle the full amount of the damage with the other insurance company before you are reimbursed for medical claims. It often takes a few months and sometimes years after a car accident for all medical problems to be resolved. In the meantime, you are responsible for any medical bills that may arise. PIP pays immediately up to the coverage limit for all car accident-related medical bills.
This is particularly the case in the COVID-19 era, as there is sporadic evidence in my practice that insurance companies are realizing the economic hardships of COVID-19 that applicants are going through and their offers of comparison in the hope of a lower level than usual adjust Obtaining “bargain cellars” from applicants.
What is Med Pay Coverage?
Med Pay is usually similar to PIP coverage, but is much less comprehensive. It covers the policyholder, the other drivers listed in the policy, the members of the insured’s household and the passengers during an accident. Unlike PIP coverage, Med Pay only covers direct medical or surgical care related to personal injury resulting from a car accident. Med Pay can help you pay for:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital expenses
- dental care
- Funeral expenses
Med Pay does not help pay for things like psychiatric treatment, child care, lost wages or loss for surviving loved ones, or convalescent care.
Med Pay can also supplement your standard health insurance after an accident. In some situations, this can help pay the deductible on your health insurance plan, as well as other medical expenses that are not included in your health insurance plan.
Unlike most health insurances, Med Pay has no deductible or co-payment. With Med Pay you are also insured if you are injured as a car passenger, on public transport or by a driver while walking or cycling.
Does Washington State Need PIP Insurance?
The short answer is no. Many people cancel or don’t even consider PIP insurance because they are trying to keep their insurance payments as low as possible. Washington State RCW 48.22.100 lists the limits of what your insurance company must offer. However, drivers are free to decline cover or seek lower limits. Policyholders can cancel the PIP coverage in writing. If the insurer does not receive written rejection approval from the policyholder, they must add the coverage to the insurance policy.
In Washington state, PIP coverage must provide at least the following benefits:
- Up to $ 10,000 in medical expenses for each person injured in a car accident.
- Up to $ 200 per week for loss of earnings (Income Replacement Coverage).
- Up to $ 2,000 for funeral expenses.
- Up to $ 5,000 for loss of services (paying others for jobs you can’t do, such as cleaning and gardening).
Washington state law only requires liability insurance that pays the other party damages if you are at fault in an accident. Other states, including Florida, New York, and New Jersey, require PIP coverage as part of your insurance policy. If you are financing a vehicle, your lender may require you to purchase a more comprehensive insurance policy, which may include PIP coverage.
To find out if you currently have PIP or Med Pay coverage, contact your insurance agent and inquire about your policy details, or visit your online insurance website and review your coverage details. Look for the section titled “Declaration Page”.
Why is PIP insurance important?
Although liability insurance is a legal requirement, the cruel fact is that many, many people are driving around illegally and are not covered by the required liability insurance. If any of these people injure you and your family, you may be unlucky as there is no insurance company to pay your medical bills. There is an insurance policy known as UIM or uninsured car insurance. However, this is a topic for another post.
Another reality to be aware of is that many people have the best possible policies trying to keep their monthly bills down. The cost of medical treatment can exceed the limits of your insurance cover and you are responsible for the rest, even if you were not responsible for the accident.
Don’t assume that just because you’re an excellent driver will never be to blame in a traffic accident. If this happens and you are injured, your PIP insurance will pay your medical bills regardless of your fault. In addition to paying your immediate medical bills, PIP insurance can also help pay for details such as transportation to and from your medical care and home health care that may be required if you or your loved ones are seriously injured.
Should I take out PIP or Med Pay insurance?
The short answer is absolutely YES. If your policy does not currently include PIP or Med Pay coverage, my office strongly recommends that you add this important provision. Yes, you pay a little more per month for your coverage, but in the event of a major accident, you don’t have to worry or worry about how to pay your medical bills. In addition, many health care providers do not offer health care unless they have PIP or Med Pay insurance or other primary insurance.
My office has represented many drivers who were seriously injured through no fault of their own and were then overwhelmed with unexpected medical bills and unable to pay them. Or they can’t get the medical care they need because they can’t find a health care provider to treat them without primary insurance.
Burien’s attorney, W. Tracy Codd, has been representing individuals involved in serious automobile accidents since 1987. Request a free consultation.
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