All Utah auto insurance policies must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Unless you have been injured in a car accident, you may not understand how PIP works. I deal with PIP every day and I find that many of my clients are surprised to learn that their own auto insurance company will pay for some medical bills, lost wages, and household services expenses – even though they were not at fault for causing the accident.
PIP is a “no fault” coverage, meaning PIP will pay benefits regardless of who caused the accident. (At some point, your insurance will get reimbursed for amounts paid from the at-fault insurance company) With PIP coverage you can be sure that you can get some immediate relief from expenses and damages you begin to incur immediately following an accident.
PIP provides the following coverages and benefits:
Payment of at least the first $3,000.00 in medical expenses (you can often purchase higher limits)
$250 per week or 85% of your lost wages (whichever is less)
$20 per day for household services (stuff that you need help with around the house, i.e, mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, etc.)
Funeral benefits of $1,500.00
Death benefits of $3,000.00
Obviously, these are minimal benefits. These benefits and coverages are only meant to provide some initial relief following an accident. The at fault party is on the hook to pay all damages above and beyond what is paid by PIP (including reimbursing your PIP carrier).
Keep in mind that your PIP coverge extends to all passengers in your car. For example, if you were involved in an accident and you have three passengers, PIP would pay at least $3,000.00 in medical expenses for each of you (for a total of $12,000.00). Also, the lost wages and household services are payable for one year following the accident.
Again, if you have a Utah auto insurance policy, you have PIP coverage. However, it would be wise to just check your coverages. For a small additional premium you may be able to increase your PIP medical limits. Especially if you don’t have health insurance, having higher PIP limits can be critical in helping to pay medical bills following an accident.
This has been a just a cursory overview of PIP coverages. If you have additional questions, please call us at Handy & Handy at 801-264-6677. Or, you can read the PIP statute, Utah Code Ann. 31A-22-306, et al.,here.