Personal Injury Protection, or “PIP” insurance, can make a big difference in your final financial recovery following a car crash. If your insurance company has informed you that you do not have this coverage, you'll want to make sure before simply taking their word for it.
If you live in Oregon, and you lived in Oregon when your policy started, PIP insurance is a required coverage—it must be provided on your policy. There are certain exclusions when it might not apply—for example if you were driving for Uber or Lyft or if you were driving another vehicle at the time of the collision—but the coverage must be part of your policy. Therefore, if your insurance company tells you that you don't have PIP, something is wrong and you should seek legal advice immediately.
If you live in Washington, and you lived in Washington when your policy started, PIP insurance is not required, but the insurance company has to show that they offered you the coverage at the time you signed up for your policy, and that you refused the coverage. They must be able to produce your signed written refusal to accept PIP coverage in order to refuse to extend PIP benefits. In many instances, they cannot do this and must extend the coverage to you. Sometimes, like if you “signed” for your policy over the internet, a typed waiver will suffice.
Often times what we see more frequently than an insurance company denying PIP coverage, we see them terminating PIP coverage—denying medical treatment because they do not think that the treatment is still related to the injuries our clients suffered in the car crash. When this occurs, your medical bills may go unpaid unless and until the matter is sorted out entirely. This can be extremely frustrating and stressful for people already dealing with symptoms from a collision and, in many times, people who are already missing work, and therefore the wages associated with that work.
PIP coverage is an important coverage and if you have paid a premium for that coverage it's important to make sure that you receive the benefits you bargained for when it comes time to need it. If you feel your insurance company is taking advantage of you, you should talk with an attorney about the situation and make sure your rights are protected.