Auto Insurance and PIP, Who Needs it?

Category: Auto Insurance. Written by Cameron Wong 

Most drivers never look through their auto insurance policies. It’s understandable considering it’s full of jargon and legalese. However over the years, there’s been a debate on a three letter word found in most Washington car insurance policies; PIP.

PIP = Personal Injury Protection

Not all states offer PIP, but in Washington State it’s preferred not required.

In general terms PIP would cover things like, other people in your car, medical payments, lost income, and services needed if you had an accident.

Having good healthcare makes all the difference in PIP. Health insurance would cover a driver in the event of a bad accident. However, PIP goes beyond the medical bills and supplements the overall policy. If a driver were to be out of work for a time because of an accident, PIP would cover an amount of the lost wages. It fills in many of the blanks to a policy. However, the question among savvy car owners is, do we need PIP?

“It all depends on the type of driver you are and what type of health care you have,” explains Wilson Hui, and Allstate insurance agent from Redmond. “If you drive by yourself most of the time, never get in accidents, and you have good health care through your employer, then you might not need it. But if you’re always on the road, transporting people and you’re self employed, it might be good to have. For as little as you pay for it, most drivers have some PIP. It’s too cheap not to.”

Cost of PIP

Depending on the insurance company, PIP can be as cheap as a few dollars a month. That’s why the majority of drivers in Washington State have it. While there are no requirements, if a driver doesn’t want PIP, they must actually reject it when signing their policies.

“We (agents) leave it up to the drivers themselves,” says Hui. “Most of the policy holders I’ve come across see the value in it and have at the very least the minimum. But is it a money maker for insurance companies? Yes. But it’s not a big money maker. I have PIP myself, absolutely I do.”

How much PIP Do You Need?

Depending on the type of driver will determine the amount of PIP needed in a policy. While the standard extra coverage of PIP in Washington State is $10,000 – $35,000; there are others who would prefer to buy more. PIP could be the extra security some drivers feel is necessary before getting in a car.

“Some people just gotta have it,” says Hui. “Smart people weigh out what you pay and what you get. To get that extra $35,000 in coverage would cost you maybe four or five extra bucks a month. You might not need PIP, but why not get it? For a few dollars, it’s a good deal.”

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20 Responses to “Auto Insurance and PIP, Who Needs it?”

  1. Evelyn on December 6th, 2008 1:07 pm

    In my opinion, if you have medical insurance, you won’t need PIP coverage. Working in a PI firm, I’ve seen many times where auto insurance companies were very tight when it came time to pay medical bills under the PIP coverage. As a result, you end up with thousands of dollars in medical costs that need to come out of your own pocket or else you’ll end up in collection. My advice, if you have medical insurance, use it!

  2. GaryP on August 26th, 2009 1:44 am

    As an insurance agent I carry $35,000 PIP and anyone who can afford it but does not carry it is a fool.

    Not only does it become primary insurance for medical bills after an accident, it also pays up to $700 per week for work loss (disability) subject to a maximum of $35,000. If you broke both your arms and could not work, how would you pay for groceries and housing? Buy PIP!

  3. Makayla Williams on July 21st, 2010 4:34 am

    Good article. Thanks for the information. The PIP (Personal Injury Protection) is very important and is a must for each and every driver to carry. This will really help in many ways. People should know that this is also a kind of protection for there life from insurance company and they should take it when ever they drive whether you are good or bad driver and since you pay for such schemes so it’s good to carry when you drive.

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  20. Patricia A Knowles on January 21st, 2019 12:39 pm

    I got my first drivers license in 1979 and I had never heard or PIP until just over a year ago after my son was in an accident caused by a negligent driver making a left hand turn in front of oncoming traffic. My son was injured pretty badly, his car was totaled and then we found out that his FULL COVERAGE policy would not pay for his car or injuries because (they claim) he did not have PIP or collision insurance. The other driver’s insurance paid for his car after 3 months, but nobody has paid for his medical bills, lost income or anything else related to the accident. His own insurance refuses to send a copy of the policy that was in force on the date of the accident and refuses to send a copy of the waiver they claim he signed. Meanwhile, he has still not been compensated for any of his out of pocket expenses and I’m worried that he may have suffered from injuries that went un diagnosed because he works through his pain with natural techniques such as stretching exercises. I have no idea why any responsible insurance agent would advise a new customer to waive PIP coverage, tell the customer they had full coverage on 3 vehicles, refuse to send the policy that delineates what is covered or not and exacerbate the stress and anxiety of one of the worst situation’s that can happen in one’s life. I wish he would have had an agent like you; it would have made a world of difference in everything that has happened.

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