WHAT IS PIP STACKING IN A MN AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE POLICY?
One of our attorneys was recently working on a case for a client where she was in a car accident and needed surgery on her neck. Unfortunately, she does not have health insurance to cover her medical bills. She came to us wanting help with getting the medical bills paid, and also wondering if she could get reimbursed for her lost wages.
Fortunately, every automobile insurance policy in Minnesota is required to include PIP coverage for a car accident. “PIP” stands for Personal Injury Protection. The minimum PIP coverage that must be provided in every automobile insurance policy is $20,000 in medical payments and $20,000 in lost wages. What’s nice about this insurance benefit is that it is No-Fault coverage. This means your medical bills and wage loss after an automobile accident are paid by your own auto insurance regardless of who caused the accident, i.e. you don’t have to prove who was at fault in order to get your medical bills and lost wages paid. The only requirement is that your injury must be related to your use of an automobile, and your treatment must be reasonable and necessary.
What was really nice in this case is that our client had also purchased “stacking.” When you own two or more vehicles in MN (in this case our client and her husband each owned a car), your insurer must offer you the option of stacking the PIP benefits. “Stacking” means you can double your PIP coverage for a small additional charge. Our client did not understand what this meant, but it is something her insurance agent advised her to get. Therefore, instead of $20,000 in medical coverage she had $40,000, which nearly covered the entire cost of the surgery after the car crash. In addition, instead of getting $500 per week in wage loss (which is the maximum allowed by PIP), she got up to $1000 per week for the six weeks she was out of work. This benefit provided great peace of mind since she didn’t have to worry as much about the loss of income to her family while she recovered.
Next time you review your automobile insurance, you should ask your agent about stacking, look at the cost, and think about whether it is something you need or would be of benefit to you.
If you are injured in a car accident or truck accident in Minnesota and have questions about your insurance coverage, you are welcome to call us and speak with a lawyer who can answer your questions. We are always willing to give you a free, no obligation initial consultation.