What is ‘PIP’ coverage, and do I need it?

In Washington, motorists are required to carry automobile insurance. This insurance is meant to reimburse parties whose vehicles suffer damages in an auto accident. However, vehicular damage is not the only type of damage that could arise in a car crash. This is when having personal injury protection (PIP) provisions in your auto insurance policy is important.

What is PIP coverage?

PIP coverage is an addendum to a standard auto insurance policy. PIP coverage can pay for damages that are incident to a collision such as medical expenses, lost wages, lost services and funeral costs. However, there are limits to which a PIP policy will cap damages.

When does PIP coverage apply?

In general, PIP coverage applies regardless of which party is at fault for the crash. PIP coverage can apply to the policyholder, household residents of the policyholder, step or foster children and any other passengers or pedestrians involved in the crash.

When does PIP coverage not apply?

However, there are certain times when PIP coverage will not apply. For example, PIP coverage must be included on the declaration page of your insurance policy to apply. PIP coverage does not extend to incidents involving farm equipment, ATVs and mopeds.

PIP coverage also will not apply to injuries if the policyholder intentionally caused them, if the injuries were sustained due to organized races or if an insured person was injured while committing a felony.

In addition, for PIP coverage to apply, the insurer must determine that such coverage is reasonable, necessary and related to the crash. Damages must also be incurred within three years of the collision for PIP coverage to apply.

Do you need PIP insurance?

PIP insurance is not included on every auto insurance policy, and it will cost you extra money. However, depending on your situation you may believe it is wise to carry PIP insurance. This post does not offer legal or insurance advice. Insurance attorneys may be a useful resource to those who have been in a crash and want to claim damages under a PIP policy.