What Is PIP?
Apr 27, 2022 · 6 min read
Personal injury protection, aka PIP, provides additional coverage for you and your passengers if you are injured in a car accident. PIP covers medical expenses, along with lost wages and rehabilitation costs.
PIP is mandatory in some states and optional in others—however, obtaining optional PIP protection could save you from being on the hook for sky-high medical bills (so investing in a policy is rarely a bad idea).
Even if you have healthcare coverage or a Medical Payments policy, PIP could offer you valuable additional protections.
If you’re considering whether or not to invest in PIP, the car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has put together everything you need to know about PIP and whether or not it is a smart choice for you.
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What is personal injury protection?
PIP is also known as "no-fault insurance" because coverage is guaranteed no matter who caused the injury.
PIP covers accidents when you are the driver and when someone else is the driver. It even covers personal injuries you receive if a car hits you while you’re walking or biking (limited to car accident-specific injuries, of course).
There may be some overlap in coverage between PIP, MedPay, and your health insurance. But PIP offers benefits beyond medical expenses for personal injuries.
PIP is also different from a bodily injury policy. PIP pays for your own expenses, whereas bodily injury pays for injuries to the other party when you’re at fault.
Key Takeaway Your PIP coverage will apply, no matter who is at fault.
What does PIP cover?
When it comes to medical expenses, your PIP policy will cover reasonable expenses and necessary medical procedures related to the car accident.
Coverage levels vary by state. It could be as low as $3,000 or as high as unlimited.
On top of medical costs, PIP covers other things you might need as a result of the accident:
- Surgical operations
- Continuing care
- Lost wages
- Limited childcare and house cleaning expenses
- Death benefit (cash payout) and funeral expenses
How much does no-fault insurance cost?
Your rate will depend on your state and how much coverage you want. It’s also affected by your deductible, or the amount you will have to pay out of pocket before your coverage kicks in.
Need an example? Here’s a policy breakdown for a 30-year-old driver. Our sample driver has a 25/50/25 policy with $15,000 of PIP. Here’s how that would play out with a few different deductibles, and the percentage of the overall cost that goes toward PIP.
|No-Fault Coverage||PIP||Total Price||PIP % of Total|
|$0 Deductible, $15,000 PIP||$205||$1154||18%|
|$250 Deductible, $15,000 PIP||$186||$1135||16%|
|$500 Deductible, $15,000 PIP||$177||$1126||16%|
|$1,000 Deductible, $15,000 PIP||$171||$1120||15%|
Do I need PIP if I have health insurance?
In some states, some level of PIP is required even if you have health insurance.
If you need to file a claim, you will max out your PIP coverage first and then apply your health insurance. In other words, PIP can complement health insurance to offer better coverage.
Tip PIP provides extra benefits that your regular health insurance policy does not, like funeral costs, home cleaning, and lost wages.
How do you file a PIP claim?
You can typically file a PIP claim online or on the phone, depending on your provider.
Make sure to contact your insurance company as soon as quickly as possible after an accident to ensure a smooth claims process.
You will need to provide information about the accident, so make sure to document everything. Once your claim is filed, your PIP will immediately pay out costs for justified medical expenses after the accident.
For longer term, non-urgent claims (like a home nurse for rehabilitation), you will need to get a treatment plan approved by a medical expert. Then you’ll have to submit this plan to the insurance company as proof. Some providers have a list of approved doctors, so make sure to check with your company.
Keep in mind that reimbursements may be partial, depending on your policy and state. Adhere to your insurance company’s timeline to get the best results. You may only have 10 days to seek treatment and have it covered, for example. Read the fine print, make sure to document everything, and submit all your notes to your provider.
Tip Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after you are injured in an accident to ensure a smooth claims process.
How does PIP work with other types of car insurance?
PIP is usually the first policy to be drained, if you have it. If costs exceed that limit, then you can move on to other options like the other driver’s liability coverage.
In the event that it’s a very serious accident, you may be able to bypass your coverage level and file a lawsuit against the other party.
Minimum PIP requirements by state
There are 12 no-fault states and four fault-based states that require PIP. In states where it’s not required, PIP coverage is an optional add-on. The maximum amount of coverage is usually $25,000 in states where it’s required.
Here’s how it works. If you live in a no-fault state, your policy will cover your expenses even if you were not at fault (i.e., another driver caused the accident). If the amount of damage you experienced exceeds your state’s tort threshold, you could sue the other party—usually, this is only possible when you sustain "significant and permanent" injuries.
PIP auto insurance is required in 16 states and Washington, DC, and it’s required to be offered in six additional states.
|State||Minimum PIP Requirement||No-Fault State?|
|Minnesota||$20,000 for medical expenses, $20,000 for non-medical expenses||Yes|
Should I get Medical Payments insurance on top of PIP?
Both policies share the same purpose, which is to cover your medical expenses after a car accident. But each one covers different things so many people choose to purchase both policies. For instance, MedPay doesn’t cover any lost wages, rehabilitation, or childcare (whereas PIP covers these things).
If you live in a state that requires PIP, then you may not need to get MedPay. For example, Michigan requires insurers to offer unlimited PIP coverage, so MedPay on top would be redundant. However, if your state has a low limit for PIP, then you could get MedPay to supplement that coverage.
If you aren’t sure what coverage is right for you, download the car insurance comparison shopping and broker app Jerry. Whether you need PIP or not, Jerry can help.
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