Auto insurance, like most types of insurance, comes in different varieties with different terms and meanings. Fortunately, auto insurance can mostly be broken down into two main categories: Tort (fault) insurance and no-fault insurance. Fault insurance sees both the driver and the insurance company take one another to court if no agreement can be decided upon.
No-fault insurance states that a driver cannot sue an insurance company in exchange for coverage of medical bills. Washington State has a lenient and rare add-on for its drivers that allows a driver to purchase a tort plan but for an additional rate, also have a personal protection clause added to their fault insurance policy.
This can become quite confusing, therefore, we will break down the variations of no-fault car insurance in Washington to make the process a bit easier to grasp.
How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Differ from No-Fault Insurance in Washington State?
As previously mentioned, no-fault insurance is a type of insurance that works as a trade-off of sorts between a driver and the insurance company. The insurance company will agree to pay most of the medical expenses that are incurred during an accident on the proviso that you will not sue them for other matters related to the accident.
Washington State seeks to make the process a bit more fair and transparent by offering A PIP plan. The best way to understand this is to know that with a PIP plan, it matters not who caused the accident; the driver and any passengers will have their medical expenses covered. Auto accidents are sometimes hard to avoid, and there can be a lot of guilt if you were the cause of the accident. It doesn’t always mean you acted maliciously or irresponsibly, it just happens.
What makes a PIP add-on different from a standard no-fault plan is the difference between one driver being covered and all passengers being covered. Additionally, a PIP plan ensures that medical coverage is guaranteed in most circumstances if you were the one who caused the accident.
Washington State does not have traditional no-fault insurance, which is why the additional purchase of a PIP plan to a liability coverage plan is essential to ensure safeguards are in place for you and your family if you are in an automobile accident.
Are Medpay and PIP the Same Thing?
In addition to PIP, there is also an insurance add-on in Washington State known as Medpay. This add-on will cover medical or funeral expenses only and generally does not have a cap on the amount accumulated. Most PIP plans in Washington State will only provide coverage up to $10,000 in accrued medical bills or other expenses related to such.
In terms of safety and peace of mind, it can be said that Medpay offers a better deal. This plan can even count towards your overall deductible and any co-pays; however, this is only good towards any medical bills from injuries or, more tragically, any funeral expenses that may arise from passengers. Many Washington State drivers may feel that adding-on both plans may be beneficial in the long run since both plans can help.
Consult with an Attorney
Since trying to decipher which plan or add-on is the best for you, it is sometimes helpful to contact an attorney that specializes in automobile accidents. Even if you are absolutely sure which plan will serve you best, speaking with an attorney can give you some peace of mind when it comes to navigating the complicated and oftentimes confusing arena of automobile insurance and state law.