In many states, personal injury protection (or PIP) is optional, but you still may want to consider this coverage on your auto insurance policy. This form of insurance provides coverage for medical expenses and lost wages if you’re injured in an auto accident. It may also cover the injuries and losses of any passengers who were in the vehicle with you at the time of the accident. Even if you do have health insurance, it’s typically recommended to hold PIP coverage if your health insurance doesn’t cover the full cost of injuries and losses sustained in car crashes.
What Is PIP?
Personal injury protection, or PIP coverage, helps you pay medical expenses and rehabilitative costs if you’re injured in an auto crash. This insurance also typically covers those in the car with you at the time of the accident. It may also include coverage for when you’re involved in an accident in which you aren’t the driver or if you’re injured as a pedestrian. For example, if you were riding in the car with a friend and you got into an accident, your PIP coverage would likely cover your injuries and losses.
This type of coverage differs from bodily injury liability coverage in that PIP only covers you and your passengers. In contrast, bodily injury coverage will cover the expenses of all people involved in the accident. Insurance companies only use PIP in car-accident cases, and this option may offer coverage for various expenses not covered under regular health insurance.
Examples of costs covered by PIP include:
- Medical expenses: This includes injuries incurred by both you and your passengers, as well as injuries you obtained after being hit by a car as a pedestrian or cyclist.
- Lost wages: Some car accidents leave victims unable to return to work for some time after the crash due to injuries. PIP can help cover your lost wages, so you can continue to receive comparable compensation to your salary.
- Medical care: This can include hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and surgeries.
- Ongoing care: If your injury requires ongoing rehabilitation, PIP can help cover the costs associated with this.
- Funeral expenses and survivors’ loss: PIP will also pay for funeral expenses and replace lost income for your family if you were to pass away in a collision.
PIP coverage does not include damage to your vehicle, other property damage, or injuries that others outside of your vehicle sustain.
Do I Need PIP Coverage if I Have Health Insurance?
In some cases, PIP is completely optional regardless of whether you have health insurance. However, some states require that drivers hold PIP, with these states being:
- New York
- North Dakota
If you live in one of these states, you’ll need to bundle PIP coverage into your overall auto insurance plan. This is true even if you do have health insurance. In these states, you must first file a claim under your PIP coverage policy before filing a claim with your health insurance provider.
However, even if your state doesn’t require PIP insurance, this type of coverage can still offer benefits that health insurance can’t. For example, health insurance will not offer coverage for lost wages due to injuries incurred in an accident, while PIP coverage will.
Minimum Pip Requirements
In no-fault states, such as those mentioned above, all drivers need at least some form of PIP coverage. However, this coverage can vary significantly regarding what the state requires drivers to hold. For example, in Florida, the minimum PIP requirement is $10,000, while in New Jersey, the minimum PIP requirement is $15,000. Additionally, in North Dakota, the minimum PIP requirement is $30,000, much higher than in most other states. In states where PIP coverage is optional, you can choose from various coverage options.
How To File a PIP Claim
If you’ve sustained injuries in an auto accident and need to file a PIP claim, you can do so just as you would file any other car-insurance related claim. You’ll typically need to submit the claim either online or on the phone. As soon as your insurance provider approves your claim, PIP can begin helping cover medical costs immediately after the crash. Suppose your PIP claims are ongoing or non-urgent. In that case, you may need to have a medical expert of your insurance company’s choice review your treatment protocol before the company will pay out more PIP coverage.
How much a PIP policy will cover varies based on the car insurance company you hold a policy with. For example, an insurance company may only allow PIP coverage to cover 75% of your medical and other expenses following an accident. It’s important to know this information when selecting a policy so you’re prepared if you need to use it. How much coverage you receive may also vary based on your state. For example, a PIP policy in Florida only covers 80% of medical expenses and losses.
Should I Also Have Medical Expenses Insurance if I Have PIP Coverage?
Having health insurance is a good idea regardless of whether you have PIP coverage. However, having the two combined can be beneficial in the event of an accident. PIP policies often cover several things that medical expenses insurance does not, such as lost work or wages and funeral costs. But, there may be more coverage available in terms of medical care than what’s offered through your PIP policy. In some states, a medical payments policy can offer supplemental coverage to help offset what PIP doesn’t cover. When deciding, it’s essential to understand your state’s rules and regulations for medical payments policies and PIP coverage.
Some people consider PIP coverage a smart investment regardless of whether you have health insurance. If you’d like to learn more about the PIP coverage minimums in your state, contact your state’s DMV department to inquire.
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