Washington D.C. PIP insurance

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When you are looking for the best car insurance in Washington, D.C., you may have heard your agent talk about personal injury protection coverage, or PIP. You may even have it as part of your own coverage.

Since Washington is a no-fault district, insurers are required to offer PIP to motorists when they purchase their policies. If you have wondered how does Washington D.C. PIP insurance work, it can help to learn more about it.

What is PIP insurance?

Your insurance policy consists of several parts, some of which are mandated by law. In Washington D.C., you are required to carry liability coverage for both injuries and property damage as well as uninsured motorist coverage. You may also choose optional coverages such as collision and comprehensive.

PIP insurance in Washington D.C. is not the same as these other types. Instead, it offers quick and coverage for your own medical and rehabilitation needs following an accident. It also offers coverage for your passengers’ medical and rehabilitation needs. By carrying this coverage, the goal is that you will receive a check for your needs without a lengthy lawsuit or legal wrangling.

How does Washington D.C. PIP work?

Personal injury protection in Washington D.C. works a little differently from PIP in other regions and states. D.C. is a sort of hybrid no-fault state, meaning that PIP is not mandatory, but insurers are required to offer it nonetheless. Drivers have the choice of no-fault or fault-based coverage when signing up for insurance.

If you choose no-fault, then you end up with a policy that involves PIP. In an accident, the policyholder has 60 days to decide if they would rather receive those benefits or want to take the longer and more complex route of filing a claim against the other driver.

Is PIP required in Washington D.C.? No, it is not, but it is available to all drivers.

What does PIP insurance in Washington D.C. cover? Generally, it will pay for the following:

  • Ambulance care
  • X-rays
  • Surgical costs
  • Nursing care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Diagnostics
  • Lost wages while you are injured
  • Some household tasks, such as a cleaning service while you are injured.

There is one drawback to choosing PIP coverage in Washington D.C. By choosing prompt PIP payment for your needs from your insurer, you give up the right to sue the other driver in court. No-fault laws were, in fact, created to help keep the court free of lengthy and expensive accident-related cases.

How does Washington D.C. PIP work? Imagine that you are in an accident, and you suffer injuries requiring hospitalization. You can file a claim for your PIP immediately, and should receive a check to cover your medical expenses quickly. But by doing this, you give up the right to sue the other driver — which could take years and money, but would allow you to add an amount for pain and suffering. So if you win the lawsuit, you could gain a substantial financial reward, but at the expense of time and money.

Is PIP required in Washington D.C.?

PIP is an optional coverage in Washington D.C. Usually, no-fault states require PIP coverage as a mandatory part of each driver’s insurance policy. Instead, with PIP in Washington D.C., every driver chooses either the no-fault (PIP) or at-fault option when purchasing their policy.

PIP insurance in Washington D.C. is similar to another type of coverage called medical payments, or medpay, but PIP has more extensive applications, since it covers lost wages and other costs in addition to medical costs. Medpay is also optional, but less common, in the District than PIP.

How much does PIP cost in Washington D.C.?

The average cost of car insurance in Washington D.C., is $1,855 annually. PIP, however, is only a small part of that expenditure. The lion’s share of your premium costs go towards your car’s liability coverage.

Your own costs are unique to your circumstances. Insurers take multiple factors into account, including your car’s age, make and model, as well as your credit rating and age. So your own cost for insurance will be different from your neighbors’, even if you both drive the same type of car.

When you have had Washington D.C. PIP insurance explained to you, you will know the following points:

  • Although PIP is not required by Washington D.C., it must be offered when you sign up for a policy.
  • If you opt out of PIP, you can sue the other driver in an accident where they were at fault for your pain and suffering — you give up this right if you make a PIP claim.
  • PIP allows you to get a fast and efficient payout from your insurance company after an accident.
  • Your cost of PIP will be minor compared to the total cost of comprehensive car insurance, and will be based on multiple factors.

Frequently asked questions

How and when do I file a PIP claim?

You would file a PIP claim after an accident in which you have incurred expenses — usually for medical costs. PIP does not pay for damage to your car. It will, however, cover hospital stays and other health-related costs as well as lost wages and household help. You have 60 days after the accident to file for PIP in Washington D.C.

Are PIP and medical payments the same?

They are similar, but not exactly the same. The big difference is that medical payments, or medpay, will not cover lost wages or household assistance costs, and may not cover some therapy costs as well as psychiatric costs. Medpay may also require you to pay back benefits if you recover any money from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance if they were at fault. PIP does not have this requirement.

Written by
Mary Van Keuren
Insurance Contributor
Mary Van Keuren has written for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, Coverage.com and Thesimpledollar.com for the past five years, specializing in home and auto insurance. She has also written extensively for consumer websites including reviews.com and myslumberyard.com. Prior to that, she worked as a writer in academia for several decades.
Edited by
Insurance Editor