Car insurance can be tricky. A lot of people (including myself at one point) just want to be legal on the road. They see several commercials and advertisements explaining how inexpensive insurance coverage is from different carriers, but these companies do not tell the consumer that money savings can come at a cost. While it may be a good idea to save some money now, it can have awful effects if a person is unfortunate enough to be involved in a car wreck.
So what should you know? You need to ask your agent about the PIP coverage included in your premium. In Kentucky, unless you reject PIP coverage, you get a minimum allowance of $10,000 that you can put toward medical bills, healthcare subrogation, loss of services or lost wages.* The average person would be shocked to find out their primary care physician of years, will not see them if the treatment is related to a wreck. Why? Simple–your doctor, your advocate, does not want to be bothered with a deposition. They automatically assume that if they treat you for injuries sustained from a car wreck, that you will file a lawsuit and down the road, they will be in an uncomfortable position answering questions under oath from attorneys. It is true this can happen at times, but not all the time. So what do you do? Usually people will have to go to a healthcare facility that will treat an individual for injuries sustained from a car wreck. Sounds good so far? Well…some of these facilities do not want to spend half of their work day fighting with health insurance carriers so they would rather not take health insurance. Good thing for the injured person, i.e., you, there is PIP available. These providers will see an injured person on what is called a “lien basis” meaning the injured person does not have to pay a co-pay, but the doctor expects your car insurance to pay the bills and if your PIP is exhausted, the provider still has a lien that is outstanding and it can be satisfied from your settlement if you are not at fault and if your settlement does not cover the lien, you still owe the money to the provider.
Okay…so what does this have to do with your insurance agent and PIP? Well, a lot of these insurance carriers offer discounted premiums because they include deductibles in certain portions of the premium. The majority of people are familiar with paying deductibles to have their car fixed or pay a deductible for their healthcare before the health insurance covers the rest. The same is true for PIP. You may save money on your premium, but the carrier will set you up on a $500 or $1,000 deductible. The carrier is able to get the deductible by withholding money from the healthcare provider who submitted a bill. So, in the event an individual has a low settlement amount, the PIP deductible can be a big factor in determining whether the individual wants to settle now or file a lawsuit. To some $1,000 can be a lot and it can make a world of difference.
The big takeaway–sometimes it’s better to pay a little more up front, than pay a lot more in the end. Do your research. If you have questions, call me, I’m happy to guide you. I wish I would have known these things before coming an attorney. These are things we as people do not think about until it is too late.
*Topics to be discussed at a later date and please note, unless you bargain for more than $10,000 in coverage, your lost wages are capped at $200 a week.