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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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PIP insurance. Why do I have to pay it back?

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If you live in Oregon, you automatically carry PIP insurance on your auto policy. Washington doesn’t require it yet, but does require your agent have you sign off on a form if you decide to reject it. PIP insurance is a good thing to have. If you are in an accident and someone injures you, PIP pays for your medical bills and a portion of your wages while you are trying to recover. Some people think the other driver’s insurance should be paying instead. A nice wish. However, the other driver’s insurance won’t typically pay a dime until they can write one check to settle the whole claim. Without PIP insurance, it can be tough for people to get by with no income and medical bills stacking up. Many doctors will not wait until the claim settles to get paid. Collection agencies start to rear their heads. PIP is good insurance. Doctors love it. There is no deductible, no co-pay and no pre-approval for care. As long as the treatment is related to the accident it should be paid. PIP is provided for a fee of course. Look at your insurance bill next time it comes in and see what you pay for this coverage. What surprises many people is the rule they have to pay this coverage back when they settle. “Why do I have to pay this back? ” or, “I thought I paid for this coverage?” are common questions heard by attorneys in this area. The simple answer is because the policy says so. Read the fine print. Clients who hear this often ask, “Do I get my premiums back?” Wouldn’t that be nice. Unfortunately, no. Often times your insurance company gets paid before you do on these cases. Washington does have some case law that limits what you have to pay and Oregon has a somewhat weak statutory scheme that reduces payback on infrequent occasions, but both states allow this to happen. So what can you do? Fight city hall? No, but you can at least look into whether or not one of the legal exceptions applies in your case. Don’t expect your insurance company to tell you if it does. After all, you did pay for this coverage. If an exception exists to the payback rule you want to take advantage of it.