What is PIP?
In general, personal injury protection is a no-fault medical payments policy. Personal injury protection covers the driver and passengers involved in a car accident. PIP also protects pedestrians or bicyclists who are involved in a collision with that car. Most policies exclude owners of the business from coverage.
Up to the policy limit, it covers the reasonable value of necessary medical services that are related to an injury sustained in a collision, and for services within three years of the collision.
Why should I care about personal injury protection?
In short, PIP can protect your employees if they need treatment not covered by workers' compensation, but make sure it covers employees in the course and scope of employment. It can protect the employees and their families if they are allowed to drive their company cars for personal use. Or, if you are in the unfortunate position of having an employee involved in a pedestrian collision or a bicycle collision, the money from the personal injury protection will offset the amount payable under the liability policy.
Does my insurance company have to offer me PIP?
No. Generally, PIP is a coverage that must be offered to every consumer purchasing auto insurance in Washington. This does not apply to policies issued to a business entity. In other words, a corporation, LLC, LLP, partnership, or other “non-human” person could be sold a policy without ever knowing PIP was an available coverage.
As a business owner, this could be an important gap in the law that prevents a business from protecting itself or its employees. The PIP rejection law is there to protect consumers and educate them about the available coverages. Apparently, the law assumes a person in business would just know about this coverage.
Admittedly, I do not know enough about the insurance sales industry to say whether an agent or a broker would issue a policy without reviewing available coverages. Still, it is best to be aware as a consumer, whether purchasing for yourself or your company, of the available protections you can provide employees.
Ultimately, from my experience handling personal injury cases in Washington, the cost of the premium is worth every penny.
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