PIP, or Personal Injury Protection, is a type of insurance coverage typically included in your auto insurance policy. Generally, PIP is viewed as a “no fault” insurance coverage, which pays for an auto accident victim’s medical, hospital, and disability expenses, as well as any lost wages, regardless of who actually caused the accident.
The Maryland MVA describes PIP as follows:
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage provides the benefits for medical, hospital and disability up to $2,500 for all reasonable expenses arising out of an accident. Note: Full PIP provides benefits for you, any member of your family, and any non-family occupant of your vehicle. You may also choose limited PIP, which excludes benefits for you and members of your family age 16 and over. This alternative costs less and should be considered if you already have medical and hospitalization insurance.
PIP coverage requirements vary from state to state. Some states do not require PIP coverage at all while some states require PIP as a mandatory coverage. In states like Maryland, insurance companies are required to offer PIP coverage as a part of auto insurance policies, but Maryland does not require that the consumer actually purchase PIP coverage. In Maryland, PIP generally provides coverage to the vehicle’s driver, passengers, and anyone else injured in an accident that involves the insured vehicle, including pedestrians.
There are several important factors to understand regarding PIP coverage in Maryland. First, not only can the named policy holder waive PIP protection for themselves, but they can also waive PIP coverage for anyone else, who would be covered in their household who is at least 16 years old. Second, the minimum coverage required under PIP is $2,500. However, a policy holder can elect to increase that coverage amount, just like any other coverage level in their policy. In reality, when dealing with severe auto accidents, medical expenses and lost wages may quickly exceed the $2,500 minimum. If you have a larger coverage amount, you will not need to wait until your accident claim is settled to recover medical expenses and lost pay.
If you are injured in an auto accident, an attorney will be able to help you determine whether there is any PIP coverage available to pay for your expenses and help fill out the paperwork necessary to receive those benefits.