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Short for personal injury protection, PIP insurance is one of the numerous coverage types you will hear about when finalizing an auto insurance policy in Pennsylvania. Knowing what this coverage is and the benefits of selecting the right PIP coverage for your needs is one of the many decisions you need to make when reviewing your Pennsylvania auto insurance policy.

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What is PIP insurance?

PIP coverage can help pay medical payments, lost wages, essential services and funeral expenses to you and passengers in your vehicle, should you be involved in an accident, regardless of fault. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which means drivers are required to carry some amount of PIP coverage to help pay for injuries from a covered car accident. Your PIP would pay first while the fault is being determined from the accident.

Not only are medical payments for you and your passengers covered up to your PIP coverage limit listed on your auto insurance policy, but if you or your passengers cannot work due to the accident, you could receive reimbursement for lost wages. PIP can also help cover household services if you cannot complete housework due to an auto accident. PIP does not provide any reimbursement for damage to a vehicle.

How does Pennsylvania PIP work?

Drivers must have at least a minimum of $5,000 in medical payments but can carry much higher coverage if desired. The minimum $5,000 of medical payments does not include lost wages or essential services coverage. So if you carry the minimum requirement and are involved in an accident, you can only claim up to $5,000 for medical payments coverage on your policy.

Pennsylvania PIP coverage has more robust coverage options for Pennsylvania policyholders if they want to carry higher limits. In addition to higher medical payments coverage limits, you could add lost wages, essential services coverage and funeral expenses to your policy. If you or your passengers are out of work due to a covered accident, well-rounded PIP coverage might help reimburse injured parties for lost wages. Essential services coverage, also known as substitute services, can help cover items such as house cleaning if you cannot take care of these responsibilities due to an accident. Funeral expenses coverage helps pay for certain funeral expenses, should there be a death resulting from an accident.

Is PIP required in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania requires some form of PIP insurance. However, drivers are only required to carry $5,000 in medical benefits coverage, which is a limited version of PIP coverage. This pays towards medical bills for you, your passengers or any others covered by your policy, regardless of who is at fault for the accident, up to the $5,000 limit.

Pennsylvania requires other minimum coverage for drivers, in addition to the medical benefits. This includes:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident

Whether it is the PIP coverage or the liability minimums, it is important to remember only purchasing the minimum coverage might result in a higher risk of out-of-pocket expenses. For instance, if you purchase the $5,000 in medical benefits coverage, this may not be enough to cover expenses for multiple injuries for you and your passengers. Purchasing the minimum would not provide any additional financial protection if you are out of work due to the injuries sustained.

How much does PIP cost in Pennsylvania?

The average cost of car insurance in Pennsylvania is $427 annually for minimum coverage and $1,476 per year for full coverage car insurance. Like any other coverage you select for an auto insurance policy, the amount PIP costs is dependent on how much you purchase. While $5,000 of medical payments is the minimum required, you can increase this amount.

Auto insurance rates, including the coverage options, are determined by a number of factors. These factors include your age, ZIP code, vehicle, driving history and several other factors. If you are interested in adding higher PIP coverage amounts to your policy, you should work with a licensed insurance agent to understand the options and rates.

Key things to note about PIP insurance in Pennsylvania

  • A driver is legally required to carry a minimum of $5,000 of PIP, or medical payment coverage, with an auto insurance policy in Pennsylvania.
  • Adding additional PIP coverage provides reimbursement and coverage for expenses for both you and your passengers related to medical payments and lost wages if an accident occurs.
  • PIP coverage does not pay for any damage to a vehicle.
  • PIP can pay for more expenses than a medical payments only coverage option, including lost wages.

Frequently asked questions

What is limited or full tort coverage in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania offers two coverage options that are somewhat unique to the state, limited and full tort coverage. Limited tort coverage means that those insured on an auto policy can file a claim to help cover medical and other expenses from an accident, but damages such as pain and suffering may not be requested unless specific criteria are met. Insured drivers carrying full tort coverage can seek payments for costs associated with pain and suffering resulting from an auto accident.

Are PIP and medical payments the same?

PIP and medical payments are slightly different. Medical payments only pay expenses related to medical treatment needed as a result of injuries from an accident. PIP can provide more comprehensive coverage. Not only are medical payments for you and your passengers covered (up to chosen limits), but lost wages that occurred because of the accident might also be included. Other services, such as rehabilitation and psychiatric costs, might also be included in PIP.  Some policies cover a death benefit, too, to help cover funeral expenses.

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