Maintaining car insurance is a vital part of being a safe driver and protecting yourself financially in the event of an accident. When you do purchase a new policy, or if you ever file a claim, your insurance agent may inquire about the amount of PIP coverage available on your policy. Personal injury protection, or PIP insurance is a coverage required on your Massachusetts auto insurance policy. If you are wondering how Massachusetts PIP insurance works, here is a brief overview of how PIP coverage may help you pay for medical expenses after a car accident.
What is PIP insurance?
Every coverage on a Massachusetts car insurance policy serves a specific purpose. While most drivers are familiar with liability, comprehensive and collision coverage, PIP coverage is not as widely known since it is only available (or required) in certain states. Comparable to “medical payments” coverage in states that do not offer PIP, PIP stands for personal injury protection and is designed to help specifically with medical expenses after a car accident.
How does Massachusetts PIP work?
If you have been injured in a car accident and have filed a car insurance claim, your PIP coverage may be available to help you with medical expenses. Even if you have health insurance, there are many benefits to having PIP on your policy.
- PIP covers you and all passengers in your vehicle to provide an extra layer of protection for anyone you drive around on a regular basis.
- PIP may be helpful to cover a variety of medical related expenses including, but not limited to: ambulance services, radiology bills, medications, medical supplies and rehabilitation services.
- PIP provides protection beyond basic medical expenses. Your PIP insurance may also cover lost wages and funeral expenses along with expenses that you may incur due to your injuries such as childcare costs, lawn care costs, housekeeping costs, and other household expenses.
Is PIP required in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state which simply means that every driver’s individual insurance policy will pay out for medical expenses incurred due to an accident, up to their policy limit. States that utilize the “no-fault” method seek to avoid drawn-out proceedings that could affect the process of paying for medical care. Liability is still determined for property damage, however.
Not all states require, or even offer PIP coverage, but it is mandatory coverage in Massachusetts. In fact, every Massachusetts driver is required by law to carry four basic coverages with minimum limits:
- Bodily Injury liability coverage of $20,000 per person up to $40,000 per accident
- Property damage coverage of $5,000
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage of $20,000 per person up to $40,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection of $8,000
According to Massachusetts law, personal injury protection can provide coverage for you, anyone who drives your vehicle, passengers in your vehicle and members of your household. Medical payments coverage, or MedPay as it is commonly known, is another optional coverage offered by insurance companies that can help pay for medical and funeral expenses resulting from a car accident.
However, even though these coverages are similar, MedPay is always secondary to the PIP benefit and an individual’s health insurance. In fact, MA law requires the first $2,000 of any accident-related medical expenses to be submitted under PIP. While property and liability coverage limits listed above are the minimum allowed, drivers may prefer to adjust to higher limits depending on their circumstances and personal preferences. PIP in Massachusetts only comes in the amount of $8,000.
How much does PIP cost in Massachusetts?
The cost of your PIP insurance coverage will vary depending on the factors that influence your overall insurance premium. Personal demographics like your age and gender play a role in premium costs just as much as the type of vehicle you own, your insurance history, and type of coverages you choose to have on your policy.
Your driving history and accident history will also drastically impact your car insurance premium, and may even impact which car insurance companies will offer coverage. When getting a car insurance quote, be sure to indicate what PIP deductible limit you prefer and compare each quote to find the best rate. Keep in mind that if you choose to have a PIP deductible, you may save money on your annual premium, but would then also see a lower PIP payout towards your expenses in the event of a claim.
Key things to note about PIP insurance in Massachusetts
- Every Massachusetts auto policy requires PIP coverage of $8,000.
- Medical payments coverage can be purchased as an optional coverage but is utilized secondary to PIP coverage.
- PIP coverage may cover the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, household expenses and funeral expenses after a motor vehicle accident.
- PIP coverage covers you, anyone who drives your vehicle, any passenger in your vehicle, or anyone in your household affected by an incident.
Frequently Asked Questions
How and when do I file a PIP claim?
Every insurance company will have their own method for filing a claim. However, most insurance carriers allow drivers to file a claim over the phone, online or even on their mobile apps. Once you have filed a claim, an insurance adjuster will speak to you regarding the details of the accident and will likely require you to either submit your medical bills and records or sign a release so that the insurance carrier can obtain those records. If you are ever unsure about how you should file a PIP claim, speak to your insurance agent about your specific situation.
Are PIP and medical payments the same?
PIP coverage is very similar to MedPay coverage, but will interact differently depending on the individual state. In Massachusetts, PIP coverage is mandatory and MedPay coverage is optional. Although both offer coverage towards medical expenses incurred in a motor vehicle accident, MedPay is considered a secondary coverage option in Massachusetts. If you do file a claim after a car accident, your medical expenses must be submitted to your PIP coverage and your Health Insurance before the MedPay coverage. PIP coverage may also cover costs beyond basic medical expenses including lost wages and personal services, like a housekeeper that might be necessary after sustaining major injuries.