What is PIP coverage?

What is PIP coverage?

Auto accidents are a fact of life in Maryland and, pretty much, everywhere else. One of the ways for Maryland drivers to protect themselves in the event of a Baltimore city or Baltimore county auto accident – apart from taking advantage of the expertise of a Baltimore motor vehicle accident attorney -- is to take common sense precautions while on the roads and highways.

One precaution is to make sure to have enough insurance so that if a Baltimore auto accident occurs and you are injured or disabled, your income and ability to get medical treatment won’t suffer. A type of insurance that’s good to have is personal injury protection, often called “PIP” coverage. PIP is a little known, but important type of auto insurance coverage that covers out-of-pocket losses from motor vehicle accidents regardless of who caused the crash.

Because PIP coverage provides immediate funds to cover lost wages and medical bills if you're injured in a Baltimore car accident, it’s important to note that PIP pays out quickly. For the first week or two after the accident, you don't have to worry about medical bills or lost wages if you have PIP coverage. So, PIP comes in and takes care of things up to the policy limits until the insurance situation has been resolved.

PIP covers reasonable and necessary expenses for medical treatment and other expenses incurred as a result of the accident for up to three years after the car accident. These expenses can include the cost of prosthetic devices, ambulance service fees, charges for dental procedures, funeral costs, hospital fees, medical bills, professional nursing expenses, surgical fees, and x-ray costs.

PIP insurance is no-fault coverage, which means that you can claim PIP benefits regardless of who caused the auto accident.

Coverage can be elected in amounts ranging from $2,500 to $20,000. The amount will be listed on your insurance policy. Under Maryland law, drivers are required to have a minimum of $2500 PIP coverage on auto policies.

PIP covers the policyholder, the policyholder’s family, passengers, the driver and passengers in another vehicle and pedestrians injured in the Baltimore motor vehicle accident.

If someone injured in a car accident is covered by a health insurance policy, then that person’s health insurance typically picks up medical payments where the PIP coverage ends. So, PIP comes before health insurance.

Your insurance rates won’t suffer. The insurance companies can't raise your rates for claiming PIP benefits. As of 2010, insurers can no longer increase insurance rates or add surcharges to policies because of a PIP claim for drivers who did not negligently cause the crash.

But, there is a deadline for claiming PIP benefits after a Baltimore auto accident. Under Maryland law, insurers can set a one-year "statute of limitations" from the date of the accident for PIP claims to be made. So, if an insured makes a claim for PIP benefits after the 12-month limit, the claim will probably be rejected.

If you have been involved in a Baltimore car accident, you should talk to a Baltimore motor vehicle accident attorney. The experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Thomas J. Maronick can provide you with the legal assistance you need to get the best possible recovery for your case. You can contact Thomas Maronick on his cellphone at 202.288.0167, the law office at 410.885.1775 or via our website for a free consultation.