I have been helping injured drivers financially recover from auto accidents for 30 years and consequently, am often asked about car insurance. One coverage available to drivers in Washington State that I ALWAYS recommend is PIP Coverage (Personal Injury Protection).
What is PIP coverage?
PIP pays your medical expenses and a portion of lost wages resulting from injuries related to the use of a vehicle. It’s a “no-fault” coverage, meaning you are entitled to the benefits no matter who caused the accident. That means medical bills get paid immediately, without having to litigate who is responsible. The coverage has no co-pays or deductibles, and you can see any doctor you want!
It’s a great coverage, because it begins paying your medical bills immediately regardless of whether the person that hit you has insurance. There are two common coverage amounts in Washington: $10,000 of medical care for up to one year, or $35,000 of medical care for up to three year’s coverage.
Do you need PIP if you already have health insurance?
Yes. Most health insurance policies require co-pays and have deductibles. They also limit the number of visits for certain types of providers. PIP does not have these requirements or limits. Anything that is “reasonable” is covered. Furthermore, PIP also pays for a portion of lost wages (80% up to $200/wk or $700/wk, depending on which coverage you pay for). If you suffer a serious injury, you will be very glad you have this coverage!
For liability coverage, the amount you should buy depends on your personal assets. The more net worth you have, the more important it is to have high insurance limits to protect you. For people with substantial assets, I would suggest minimum coverage of $500,000, plus an umbrella on top of that of another $1,000,000.
My advice is to get a premium quote and buy the most PIP coverage you can afford!