Personal injury protection insurance, commonly referred to as PIP, will be an important topic to consider with the best Kentucky car insurance companies when determining which provides the coverage you need. Kentucky is a limited no-fault state. In no-fault states, following a loss, insurers are required to pay the initial medical and related expenses of policyholders. Covering these expenses is the purpose of optional PIP coverage in Kentucky.
What is PIP insurance?
PIP insurance, sometimes referred to as “no-fault” insurance, covers medical expenses and related costs, in the event you or your passengers are injured in a car accident in Kentucky. The purpose of no-fault law is to prioritize the payment for medical costs of Kentucky drivers caused in car accidents. Regardless of fault, each driver’s insurance company pays its insured’s medical expenses up front.
PIP insurance is a separate coverage and not related to your liability, collision and comprehensive coverage. Liability coverage pays medical expense and injury claims brought by the other driver against you, following an accident. Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage only cover property damage to your vehicle and its contents, not medical expenses, as is the case with PIP.
How does Kentucky PIP work?
Kentucky is a “choice” no-fault state. This means it is up to you if you want to purchase PIP coverage or not. In a strict no-fault state, your insurance company will always be responsible for paying your medical and related expenses following an accident. Driver fault does not matter. In a fault state, you are compensated for injury losses by the other driver if he or she is “at fault”, a fact often determined in court. In these states, PIP is not optional to include in your policy.
If you have purchased PIP insurance in Kentucky and are injured in an accident, your car insurance company may recommend filing a claim right away. At the time of filing a claim, you would want to make sure you complete all necessary paperwork to secure your PIP coverage as well. PIP covers a broad array of medical expenses and other costs incurred as a result of an injury. These may include:
- Medical expenses which apply to necessary surgeries
- Medical transport and hospitalization
- Prescription medications
- Rehabilitation services
- Dental services
- Lost wages and other income as a result of the injury
- Other related expenses which can include child care
For the sake of illustration, say you break a leg in an accident; PIP would likely cover medical expenses at the scene, ambulance costs to the hospital and hospitalization and treatment expenses. Additionally, PIP will cover rehabilitation costs after leaving the hospital, and some reimbursement for the income lost while you were away from work.
Is PIP required in Kentucky?
Kentucky’s choice no-fault laws give drivers the option to buy PIP coverage or opt out of the no-fault restrictions. Kentucky law gives drivers the option to decline PIP coverage which must be done in writing. Drivers who choose the no-fault route are required to have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage.
Your car insurance company is permitted to offer higher PIP limits than the $10,000 minimum and this is certainly an option you should review carefully. Remember that if PIP coverage is sufficient to cover your medical and related expenses up front, this saves you the trouble of filing a suit against the other drivers. Even though this may be handled by your car insurance company, the court process can be time consuming and results are never guaranteed.
If you miss work as the result of your injuries, PIP payments may serve to reimburse you for a portion of your lost wages. You are entitled, in most instances, to 85% of your normal weekly income with a minimum of $200 a week.
Remember that there is a trade-off in choosing to purchase PIP insurance in Kentucky. In return for prompt, upfront payment of PIP benefits to address your injuries, you give up the right to sue the other driver for your injuries with some important exceptions. If medical expenses exceed $1,000, there is a broken bone involved or the accident causes permanent injury or death, a suit can be filed based on these events.
How much does PIP cost in Kentucky?
The cost of PIP insurance, like other coverages, can vary somewhat based on your circumstances, location and the insurer. But the cost variations are not likely to be as impactful as they might be with other coverages.
PIP premiums are typically modest compared to other lines. An additional factor to consider in deciding whether to opt out of the coverage is that Kentucky law still requires that PIP coverage be included in all car insurance policies for guests in your vehicle and this amount will always be part of your total cost. In the final analysis, the amount you save in not buying PIP may be small when compared to the benefits.
Key things to note about PIP insurance in Kentucky
- PIP insurance is an optional requirement for Kentucky drivers.
- PIP is a “choice” no-fault state and by opting out of PIP coverage, an insured in effect is left with fault coverage.
- PIP insurance provides an important way to secure immediate payment of medical expenses and other costs related to injuries from an accident.
- PIP insurance is an affordable way to provide for prompt payment of costs related to injury and should be carefully considered.
Frequently asked questions
How and when do I file a PIP claim?
A PIP claim should be filed immediately following an accident if it is likely to be needed (injury or suspected injury involved). This can be completed as part of your overall claim-filing process. Most Kentucky car insurance companies allow you to file claims either by phone or online. Depending on the provider, there may be a specific window of time following an accident in which a PIP claim can be filed. Discuss with your car insurance company to verify its policy.
Are PIP and medical payments the same?
Not exactly. Medical payments are just that, benefits for the cost of your hospitalization and direct medical costs resulting from an accident. PIP coverage is broader and includes medical benefits, but in addition, will pay for a number of non-medical costs — such as lost wages.
If I make a PIP claim will my overall auto insurance premiums increase?
You will not typically see a premium increase after receiving PIP benefits when you are not at fault in an accident. If you are at fault, you may see an increase in premiums depending on the insurer. However, this increase will not likely be related to your use of PIP benefits but rather to the carrier’s policy regarding driving history.