Please buy PIP coverage if you are a Maryland driver.  More specifically, if you drive a car in Maryland DO NOT waive your PIP coverage.  If you do, you are costing yourself money and security, neither of which should be your goal when purchasing insurance.

PIP is short for Personal Injury Protection.  It is a mandatory [shouldn’t this say elective?] portion of automobile insurance coverage in Maryland.  Generally how it works is this – if you are involved in a car accident, either through the fault of someone else or through your own fault, PIP pays for your medical expenses and lost wages up to the amount of your limits.  The limits are at least $2,500 and you can elect for higher limits.  

Why is this important?  Suppose you are in a car accident and the other person is at fault.  You go the emergency room and they advise you follow up with your primary doctor.  Your doctor determines you need to be off work for several days and orders a course of physical therapy.  Before you know it, you have racked up thousands of dollars in expenses and lost wages through no fault of your own.  A settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not be initiated until all medical treatment is complete, which can take months or years. 

If you have PIP coverage your insurance company pays you, immediately and directly, the first $2,500 of your expenses.  It provides you immediate benefit in a time of crisis, which is precisely the point of insurance.  At the closure of this hypothetical case in which the other person was at fault, your net recovery will be effectively $2,500 higher than the amount of the settlement agreed to with the at-fault insurance company because you had PIP benefits available.

Now let’s consider a scenario where you are in a car accident and you are the individual at fault.  The same PIP rules apply since it is considered “no fault” coverage.  You will still receive payment and/or reimbursement for the first $2,500 in medical expenses and lost wages as a result of an accident that was your own fault.

The cost for PIP benefits is negligible.  PIP will generally cost an extra $50 per year on many insurance policies.  Stated another way, it would take 50 years of payments to cover the benefits you would receive after just one accident.  

While we all hope to never need to use our insurance policies, it is important to have coverage which can protect you in times of need.  Do not cost yourself money and security.  Buy PIP.  Please.

Written by Michael J. Winkelman