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Posted on 03-12-2017

Daylight Savings - Time to Review Your Auto Insurance PIP Coverage

As a Baltimore Chiropractor I spend the majority of my clinic time treating injured patients in Baltimore with headaches, neck pain, and back pain. In about half of the instances these patients were injured in Baltimore auto accident car crashes. In the other half these are regular people such as you and me who woke up with a stiff neck or back and wanted some relief of their symptoms. I came across a scenario last week in my clinic that I thought warranted a further discussion so I figured I would make a blog entry about it here today. The issue involved a component of auto accident insurance in Maryland, called PIP.

As you may know, PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. It is a form of no-fault insurance in Baltimore and the entire state of Maryland that pays for your medical care and lost wages following an auto accident, regardless of fault. So to be clear, if you hit a patch of ice and hit a wall or tree, your PIP coverage would pay for medical care and lost wages related to this injury. Likewise, if you were at a red light and got rear-ended and developed whiplash, headaches, and neck pain, the PIP coverage would pay for your care as well.

PIP is written in amounts of either $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000. All of this sounds great but there's a catch. Under current Maryland law anyone who elects to purchase insurance must be offered PIP coverage, but can waive it entirely, and not pay for it. Typically those who waive PIP don't even realize it until after they've had an accident and need the coverage. So what I am recommending is that my blog readers take 15 minutes and review their coverage now, before they are injured and before they ever need it.

When I was growing up, we used daylight savings time as "built in reminders" to change the batteries in our smoke alarms. As I got older I further used it as a reminder to ask my credit card companies for credit line increases every six months. Now that I am a professional chiropractor with two clinics in Baltimore (both southeast Baltimore in Fells Point and northwest Baltimore in Upper Park Heights) I see daylight savings as a "wake up call" to review auto insurance coverage. Rates change and benefits change all the time and there are tons of property and casualty insurance professionals who would be happy to review your auto policy and let you know what your levels of coverage are.

The thing I like best about PIP is how cheap it is to buy.  I carry the maximum amount of PIP at $10,000. I pay a total of 78 dollars a year(!) ($6.50 per month) for this invaluable coverage. I know I am paying hundreds of dollars of premium a month for health insurance that I barely use but given the population of Baltimore and the number of bad drivers out there I think spending $6.50 a month on 10,000 worth of coverage is well worth every penny. Heck, most people spend about $8 a month insuring a $300-400 dollar iPhone with Apple!

In spite of this, most people sadly still don't know what PIP is, or if they carry it. The number one complaint I get from patients who have been involved in Baltimore auto accidents is they wish they had purchased more PIP before they had their accident.

My friend and auto accident personal injury attorney Ross Albers wrote a blog post about PIP and how it is important not to waive it for many of the same reasons I touch on. You can check out his blog post here.

So do yourselves a favor. Don't be another patient that wishes they had taken 15 minutes to review their policies now. You'd be surprised how inexpensive it would be to purchase PIP or add on to a higher level of coverage. Those that have been involved in Baltimore auto accidents and know the financial ramifications of these crashes will attest that it is something they wished they would have done sooner.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a Baltimore auto accident with or without PIP coverage, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic at (443) 842-5500. We now have two locations to better serve your needs.

Dr. Gulitz

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