If you have ever been a client of our office for an accident claim, or have listened to Attorney Bowers’ weekly radio show on WHGM Gold, you have heard a lot about his efforts to educate and inform Maryland drivers about Maryland PIP laws and their Personal Injury Protection coverage. Specifically, the education is geared toward not waiving this important coverage, or increasing it when you have the opportunity.
If you are unaware, Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP) is a no fault coverage on most Maryland automobile insurance policies that will, regardless of fault, pay lost wages and medical bills up to a limit when you are injured and miss time from work as a result of an automobile accident. In Maryland, you can purchase anywhere between $2,500-$10,000 in PIP coverage, and many companies will also offer a supplemental coverage called MedPay that will cover medical bills in the same way.
It is also possible to waive this coverage on most auto insurance policies written in Maryland. This is not advisable for a variety of reasons.
1) You’re paying for this coverage even if you waive it.
2) It pays medical bills and lost wages regardless of fault
3) If there is a recovery from a third party, you do not need to pay it back.
Unfortunately, over the decade or so I have been working in this profession, I have often been the bearer of bad news for many clients who have inadvertently waived this coverage. Many who have waived this valuable coverage are completely unaware, because they have been deceptively tricked into the waiver–many times by virtue of purchasing their policy online, and digitally signing the documents without reading them thoroughly.
There are 2 major insurance companies, both who advertise a lot, and allow you to purchase policies online, who have tricky ways to hide the waiver.
Take a look at your policy’s declarations page. This is the list of all coverage you have on your policy, the limits of that coverage, and often times the premiums you pay for those specific types of coverage. If in the Personal Injury Protection column you see: Option A (Geico), or Guest PIP/Medical (Progressive) you have actually waived this coverage!
If so, somewhere deep within your policy documents will be a hidden waiver, likely electronically signed, and should you be injured in an automobile accident you will not get these benefits (although you are paying a portion of the premium!)
Take a few moments to look at your automobile insurance policy, if you’ve got one of these labels, or can tell that you’ve waived the coverage, you’ll want to contact an actual live-person insurance agent and get this fixed. If you’ve got questions on this process, don’t know if you’ve waived PIP, or would like a referral to one or more of the local agents that we know and trust, do not hesitate to call or text us for guidance, or a free insurance policy review. We can be reached by email, phone or text any time at (410) 885-6200 and look forward to helping you with this before it’s too late!
With offices in Aberdeen, Baltimore, Elkton & Ocean City we serve all of Maryland including Annapolis, Bowie, College Park, Dundalk, Frederick, Glen Burnie, Hagerstown, Joppa, Laurel, Rockville, Silver Spring, Upper Marlboro & Wheaton.
Maryland Attorney Jobeth Bowers is the founder of Bowers Law and a graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law