Built in to many car insurance policies is a form of health insurance called by various names, including Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or med-pay. PIP insurance is available to the driver and any passengers of a vehicle for injuries suffered in an accident regardless of the fault of the driver, provided PIP insurance was purchased.
PIP insurance covers the medical bills and some wage loss of the people hurt in a certain vehicle. It is important to note that in most situations the at fault party's PIP insurance does not pay for the injuries of people in the car he/she hit. (Liability insurance covers this instead, but usually only when a final settlement or jury verdict is reached, not as medical bills are incurred.)
PIP benefits are limited to the driver and passengers in the insured vehicle. The injured person looks to his/her own insurance policy or the policy on the vehicle in which he/she was a passenger for PIP or med-pay benefits. The exception to this general rule applies to pedestrians and bicyclists. In Washington pedestrians and bicyclists may be covered by PIP benefits of the car that hits and injures them.
Depending on the state, lost wages from missing work due to your injuries may be covered by PIP insurance. There is often a two week waiting period before lost wages will begin to be paid at a reduced rate. Insurance policies with med-pay benefits ordinarily do not include reimbursement of lost wages.
The amount of PIP, med-pay, or lost wages benefits available is determined by reference to the policy limit for that particular type of coverage. In Washington PIP insurance policy limits are often $10,000 but can be as high as $35,000.
PIP insurance is required under Washington state law. In Washington all auto liability insurance policies must (unless you sign a waiver declining it) carry at least $10,000 in PIP benefits to cover medical bills, lost wages or any combination of the two.