What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

Personal injury protection covers the medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident. Find out more about it here.
Car crash on city street

Car accidents can disrupt your life in many ways. They can cause lots of damage to your vehicle. But they can also cause injuries to either yourself or any passengers you have in your car. This can leave you facing hundreds or even thousands of dollars in medical bills. You may also have to miss time off work as you recover.

Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of auto coverage that covers medical expenses and lost wages after a car accident. This article will help you learn all about PIP, including the following:

  • A complete definition of PIP
  • Everything it covers
  • States that require it
  • Who needs it
  • Coverage limits
  • How much PIP costs
  • Car insurance companies that offer it

What is Personal Injury Protection?

Personal injury protection (PIP) is an important part of car insurance that pays for many expenses and services that you’ll need to recover from an accident. This includes medical bills and wages lost if you have to take time away from your job. PIP helps both you and anyone riding in your car.

PIP is also sometimes referred to as “no-fault” insurance because it works whether you’re at fault or not. No-fault states will require you to buy a certain amount of PIP. This is because PIP will cover your injury expenses no matter who causes an accident.

Personal injury coverage may seem like liability insurance since both deal with injury. But PIP is different from liability because it only covers expenses related to you and your passengers. Liability coverage only covers other people’s costs in an accident.

Everything Personal Injury Protection Covers

PIP covers a variety of costs that you may have in the aftermath of an accident. Below is a full list of what it covers:

  • Medical bills. PIP covers medical costs and treatments. Common examples of this could be medication, prosthetics, surgeries, and hospital bills.
  • Lost wages. If you or your passengers can’t go to work for some time after an accident, PIP will cover wages lost because of missed time.
  • Loss of services. PIP will often cover the cost to hire someone to do household chores if you can’t do them.
  • Rehabilitation expenses. PIP covers rehab services like physical therapy to help you get back on your feet.
  • Funeral expenses. PIP will pay for funeral or other end-of-life costs if there’s a death because of an accident.

What PIP covers can vary from state to state. For example, New York includes transportation costs to medical treatment and household help under its personal injury protection coverage. On the other hand, the State of Washington only requires covering the expenses and services from the above list.

What Personal Injury Protection Doesn’t Cover

Personal injury coverage handles many of the expenses you may deal with after a car accident. But there are some things it doesn’t cover. This is often the case if the accident involved recreational activities or farm equipment, or if a crime was in progress.

Below is a list of what PIP typically doesn’t cover:

  • Injuries involving farm vehicles such as tractors and riding lawn-mowers
  • Injuries involving off-road or recreational vehicles such as ATVs and mopeds
  • Injuries involving motorcycles
  • Injuries intentionally caused by the insured driver
  • Injuries involving organized racing by the insured driver
  • Driving an uninsured vehicle
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol that cause the accident and resulting injuries
  • A driver who’s committing a felony
  • Driving a stolen vehicle and sustaining injuries

Most insurers will only cover services that they think are reasonable and necessary. In other words, PIP only covers expenses that you need because an accident occurred. Insurers will also only cover services or costs that occur within three years of the accident. After that, PIP won’t pay for anything.

Who Needs Personal Injury Protection?

Whether you need PIP or not depends on a few factors. One of the main things is the state you live in. Some states require personal injury coverage. If your state doesn’t require it, it’s up to you to decide if you want to get it.

Below is a complete list of all states that require PIP in 2022, per the Insurance Information Institute (III):

The states listed above are no-fault states. This means that they have policies in place that make it mandatory for drivers to file a claim with their insurance company despite fault. Because of this, these states require coverages such as PIP to protect drivers in all situations.

While many states fully require PIP, others go a different route. These states must offer you PIP before you can buy it:

The above states may want you to decline PIP in writing if you don’t need it. Otherwise, it automatically becomes part of your policy. In all other states, it’s an optional add-on to your auto insurance.

Note that health insurance doesn’t share the same benefits as PIP such as payment of lost wages and coverage for passengers. That’s why it may be a good idea to consider adding personal injury coverage.

MedPay vs. PIP

Medical payments coverage, also known as MedPay, is similar to PIP because it helps drivers and any of their passengers pay for medical bills. MedPay only pays for medical and funeral expenses. Drivers don’t get any of the extra rehab or coverage of lost wages with MedPay that they get with PIP.

You usually can’t have both PIP and MedPay on your policy. This depends on your state’s laws, according to Allstate. Unlike personal injury coverage, MedPay is an optional add-on to your policy in every state.

It’s a good idea to know your state’s minimum coverage requirements before you get car insurance. Each state has unique requirements. That’s why it’s important to get familiar with your state’s laws.

Aside from state laws, the other benefit of having PIP is peace of mind. After a car crash, it can often be a long time before investigators discover who’s at fault. PIP covers medical bills and lost time at work so you can move on from the accident quickly.

Personal Injury Protection Coverage Limits

Just like other insurance types, PIP has coverage limits. In auto insurance, a limit is the highest amount of coverage that your insurance company will give you.

Like other coverages, you must have at least the minimum requirement for your state. After that, the choice is yours. Deciding how high or low to set your limits depends on how much you can afford.

How Much Does Personal Injury Protection Cost?

The price of PIP can vary depending on several factors. For instance, the amount of both your deductibles and limits can be a major rate factor. The following may also affect your insurance premium:

Companies That Offer Personal Injury Protection

All the leading, well-known car insurance companies such as GEICO, Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm offer PIP. But not always at the same cost. It’s a smart idea to compare quotes between insurance providers to make sure you get your desired price.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s the definition of personal injury protection (PIP) in car insurance?

A: In auto insurance, personal injury protection, or PIP, covers your medical expenses in the event of an accident. It also covers any wages lost at work because of the accident. PIP will cover anyone riding in your car, too.

Q: What does personal injury protection cover?

A: PIP commonly covers:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of services
  • Rehab bills
  • Funeral expenses

Q: What doesn’t personal injury protection (PIP) cover?

A: PIP often doesn’t cover many different recreational activities such as organized racing or driving ATVs. PIP also doesn’t cover drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or those who committed a felony that caused an accident.

Q: Do I need personal injury protection (PIP)?

A: You’ll need PIP if your state is one of the many that requires it. If you live in a state where personal injury coverage is an optional add-on, it still might be worth it to include it on your policy because of its many benefits.

Q: What is the difference between MedPay and PIP?

A: MedPay is another type of coverage that’s optional in all states, unlike PIP. MedPay only pays for medical bills and funeral expenses. PIP pays for many other expenses and services and is mandatory in some states.

Q: Does PIP cover passengers?

A: Yes. PIP covers both you and anyone in your car.

Q: What are the limits for PIP?

A: Like other types of auto coverage, PIP has limits. How high you set your limit is up to you. The limit you choose must at least match your state’s legal limits.

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