Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a type of insurance coverage that can help pay for expenses like medical bills and lost wages for you and your passengers after a motor vehicle accident. This is a type of no-fault insurance, meaning it provides coverage regardless of which driver is ultimately deemed to have caused the accident.
PIP is not offered in every state, but in the states where it is available, it can be valuable coverage to have. Expenses after a car accident can quickly add up, and without proper coverage, the costs may become overwhelming.
What Does PIP Insurance Cover?
PIP insurance coverage varies both by the insurer and by state. While your policy may differ, these are the common things that are covered in a PIP insurance policy.
- Rehabilitation after an accident: It’s common for PIP insurance to cover the cost of reasonable and necessary medical and surgical treatment needed after an accident. Other costs that may be covered include optometric and dental treatment, ambulance services, medication, medical supplies, prosthetic devices, and nursing services.
- Lost wages from being unable to work: If your accident-related injuries prevent you from returning to work right away, your PIP insurance may compensate you for your lost wages. Some policies also provide similar benefits for covered individuals who are self-employed.
- Home care expenses: Injured parties sometimes find that they cannot perform common household tasks, like cleaning or caring for their children. In this case, your PIP insurance may cover the cost of hiring a service to handle these tasks for you.
- Funeral expenses and accidental death benefits: If you or a passenger in your vehicle dies from injuries sustained in a covered accident, PIP insurance may cover funeral and burial or cremation costs. Surviving dependents may also receive compensation for the loss of a deceased person’s income.
- Other covered accidents: Depending on the state where you live, PIP insurance may cover you even if you’re not driving. For example, you may be covered if you’re hit by a car while riding a bicycle or walking. In some cases, you may also be covered by your PIP insurance if you’re riding in someone else’s vehicle.
What Is Not Covered By PIP?
As the name implies, personal injury protection insurance typically covers expenses related to a personal injury or death. It’s not meant to cover damage to your vehicle, vehicle theft, or damage to property.
PIP insurance also may not cover injuries to other drivers or injuries you sustained while committing a crime, such as fleeing from the police. If you’re working for a delivery service, ride-sharing company, or doing other types of driving for pay, your PIP insurance also may not cover injuries sustained while working.
If your medical bills and/or lost wages exceed the amount of PIP coverage you have, you may not receive any additional reimbursement from your policy.
How Does PIP Insurance Work?
Personal injury protection is a coverage that drivers in many states can purchase through their auto insurance policies. In some states, it’s an optional coverage, while in others, it’s a required policy add-on.
PIP insurance is required in 16 states. Residents of those states may need to file a claim under their PIP coverage before turning to their health insurance policy. Some states, like Michigan and New Jersey, have provisions that allow PIP coverage and health insurance to work together. For example, your health insurance may cover the treatment for your physical injuries, while PIP insurance may cover your lost wages.
If you live in a state that doesn’t require PIP insurance, you may consider adding it to your policy anyway, as this could provide additional protection in the event of an accident that results in your injury or death. You may also have the option to choose the lowest legally required coverage amount or increase your limits for additional coverage.
How to File a PIP Claim
In many cases, the process for filing a PIP claim is the same as it is for any other type of vehicle insurance claim. To get started, contact your insurance agent or the insurance company directly to report the accident. Ask them to confirm your PIP coverage and provide you with your specific coverage details and limitations.
After you’ve contacted your insurer, they may provide you with a claim number and contact information for the claims office. You may need to speak to an adjuster, and they may ask you for verification and paperwork, including:
- A PIP application
- Attending physician’s report
- Salary verification form
In many cases, PIP covers medical expenses that are required immediately after an accident. However, if you need ongoing, non-urgent treatment, you may need to receive pre-approval.
Some states have strict requirements regarding the timelines for treatment. For example, the state of New Jersey requires drivers to get treatment within 10 days of an accident to qualify for PIP coverage. Your auto insurance company may also have its own guidelines and requirements.
It’s often helpful to ask for a written copy of your insurance company’s PIP claims process and keep it on hand for reference. Following the process and ensuring you meet all deadlines may help you expedite the claims process.
PIP Requirements By State
Some states, known as no-fault states, require all drivers to carry a minimum amount of PIP insurance. Drivers who live in these states may be required to file claims with their own insurance policies to cover their expenses, even if the other driver was at fault.
In at-fault states, each insurance company pays for damages based on each party’s degree of fault. PIP insurance may not be available in at-fault states or may be an optional add-on. The following chart lists each state’s no-fault/at-fault status and minimum PIP requirements.
|State||Minimum PIP Requirement||No-fault State?|
|Alabama||PIP not available||No|
|Alaska||PIP not available||No|
|Arizona||PIP not available||No|
|California||PIP not available||No|
|Colorado||PIP not available||No|
|Connecticut||PIP not available||No|
|Delaware||$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident||No|
|Georgia||PIP not available||No|
|Idaho||PIP not available||No|
|Illinois||PIP not available||No|
|Indiana||PIP not available||No|
|Iowa||PIP not available||No|
|Louisana||PIP not available||No|
|Maine||$2,000 per person||No|
|Massachusetts||$8,000 per person||Yes|
|Michigan||$250,000 or opt-out||Yes|
|Minnesota||$20,000 for medical expenses / $20,000 for non-medical expenses||Yes|
|Mississippi||PIP not available||No|
|Missouri||PIP not available||No|
|Montana||PIP not available||No|
|Nebraska||PIP not available||No|
|Nevada||PIP not available||No|
|New Mexico||PIP not available||No|
|North Carolina||PIP not available||No|
|North Dakota||$30,000 per person||Yes|
|Ohio||PIP not available||No|
|Oklahoma||PIP not available||No|
|Oregon||$15,000 per person||No|
|Pennsylvania||$5,000 per person||Yes|
|Rhode Island||PIP not available||No|
|South Carolina||PIP not available||No|
|South Dakota||PIP Optional||No|
|Tennessee||PIP not available||No|
|Utah||$3,000 per person||Yes|
|Vermont||PIP not available||No|
|West Virginia||PIP not available||No|
|Wyoming||PIP not available||No|
PIP vs. Other Insurance Options
In some cases, the coverage offered under PIP insurance may overlap with other insurance policies you already have in place. Health insurance and life insurance are common examples.
PIP vs. MedPay Insurance
Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payments (MedPay) are both no-fault auto insurance coverages that can cover accident-related medical and funeral expenses. However, there are some significant differences. Insurance companies are typically not required to offer MedPay, and the coverage may be less.
For example, MedPay may only pay for expenses in the first year after an accident. It may also only reimburse you for health insurance deductibles and copays. In addition, MedPay may not cover chiropractic care, lost wages, or essential services.
PIP vs. Health Insurance
While PIP and health insurance may both cover the same types of medical treatment, there are some advantages to having PIP insurance coverage. Your health insurance may have a deductible before it kicks in, while PIP insurance may have no deductible or a fairly low one.
PIP insurance may cover passengers in your vehicle as well. This can be a benefit if they aren’t covered by their own health insurance policies. Your PIP coverage may also cover lost wages, which is typically not a benefit offered by health insurance policies.
In many cases, drivers in states where PIP is required file a claim under their PIP coverage first, then turn to their health insurance policy if or when the benefits have been exhausted.
PIP vs. Life Insurance
While PIP insurance may pay for some costs associated with an accident-related death, this benefit amount may not be enough to financially protect the deceased’s survivors. For example, in the state of Florida, funeral reimbursement may be as little as $5,000.
Also, if an individual dies under circumstances not related to a covered accident, PIP insurance does not apply. For this reason, many individuals purchase a life insurance policy to protect their loved ones in the event of their death.
PIP vs. the Other Driver’s Insurance
If you’re injured in an accident where the other driver is at fault, their bodily injury liability coverage may pay for some of your medical costs. However, not all states require drivers to carry this coverage. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured and you don’t have PIP insurance, you could have to pay for your medical bills out of pocket.
Getting the other driver’s insurance company to cover your claim could also require significant time and effort. In some cases, you may need to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit. This would also require you to prove that the other driver was at fault.