Maryland Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Why Drivers Should Have This no-Fault Auto Insurance Coverage

By Jeffrey Butschky, Maryland Accident Injury Attorney

None of our clients ever imagined they'd be injured in a motor vehicle accident. It's just not the type of thing drivers like to think about. That's one reason Maryland residents tend to overlook an important piece of no-fault insurance coverage when purchasing their auto insurance policies. That one oversight can cost them if they're involved in an auto accident with injury.

Maryland Personal Injury Protection insurance -- better known as PIP -- is optional, no-fault auto insurance coverage. In Maryland, PIP coverage provides immediate funds to cover lost wages and medical bills if you're injured in a motor vehicle accident. The coverage is usually between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on the amount elected. PIP insurance is no-fault coverage, meaning you are entitled to the benefits regardless of who caused the auto accident.

PIP benefits cover the policyholder, his or her family, passengers in the vehicle, the driver and passengers in another vehicle, and pedestrians injured in the motor vehicle accident. PIP starts paying your medical bills and 85 percent of your lost wages pretty quickly after your accident.

Unfortunately, too many Maryland drivers (I'd estimate more than half) waive their PIP coverage. They think using their own auto insurance in an accident is a bad thing. The truth is, that's what PIP is there for. And your auto insurance rates will not go up if you use your Maryland PIP benefits!

How PIP Coverage Works in a Maryland Motor Vehicle Accident

PIP is the only no-fault coverage available in Maryland. It's like a rainy day fund. The insurance companies can't raise your rates for using it, and it makes your life so much easier. Because for the first week or two after the accident, while you're being treated by the doctor for your injuries, you don't have to worry about medical bills or lost wages. Your PIP stands in and takes care of things until the insurance situation gets sorted out by your attorney.

Think of PIP like that coffee can people throw their spare change in. The insurance company has a coffee can with $2,500 in it for you to use, no questions asked. It'll pay your medical bills, it'll pay your wage loss, and it's dirt cheap -- usually $50 to $100 a year, depending on the amount of coverage ($2,500 is the minimum, though some policies offer up to $20,000).

But the insurance companies don't want motorists to know about PIP. In fact, they will try to get you to waive it.

Maryland PIP is easy to overlook, especially in this age of online insurance applications. It's one box out of 200 that you can check. The application will say something like, "Waive PIP and save $57." The applicant clicks and saves 57 bucks…when in reality, they've lost $2,500 if they get in an auto accident. Too many Maryland policyholders waive their PIP coverage. It's really a good coverage not to waive. It leaves more money in your pocket when we settle your case.

We can assist clients with making a claim through their Maryland PIP auto insurance. If you'd like us to look at your current coverage, at no cost, please contact us today.