Personal injury protection, or PIP insurance, pays for medical expenses and covers lost wages for you and anyone in your car in the event of an accident. It’s mandatory in no-fault states and optional in others.
What is PIP insurance?
Your car insurance policy breaks down into various sections that cover damage and injury. Coverage that protects the other car and its occupants are usually mandatory; coverage that protects you, your passengers, and your car may or may not be required. Since PIP protects you and your passengers, it falls into the latter category.
PIP coverage kicks in regardless of who is at fault in an accident, which is why it is mandatory in no-fault states. If you cause an accident, your liability insurance will cover the injuries of people in the other car, but you’ll need PIP to pay for medical costs incurred by you or your passengers. If you frequently drive with others in your car, it’s a good idea to consider adding PIP coverage to your policy.
What does personal injury protection cover?
In general, PIP covers medical costs, including charges for ambulance care, x-rays, surgical costs, diagnostics, nursing care, rehabilitation and more. Unlike bodily injury liability coverage, PIP also covers lost wages while you are in the hospital, and it covers if you need someone to come into your home and do household tasks if you’re unable to after an accident.
PIP does not cover damage to your car or the other car. For example, if you slide on an icy road and damage a fence, PIP coverage would not pay to fix your vehicle. PIP also does not cover compensation for pain and suffering.
PIP coverage has a maximum cap that varies from state to state. For example, in New York, you can claim up to $50,000 of PIP coverage, and a $2,000 maximum for loss of earnings. States may also regulate who is eligible to make a PIP claim. Again, in NY, for example, motorcyclists, scooter riders or those intoxicated cannot file a claim under PIP.
How much does PIP cost?
Many factors go into determining the cost of your car insurance premiums. Your age, gender, marital status, the make and model of your car, your location, how much coverage you choose, accident history and more all play a role. Because of these factors, PIP costs can vary drastically.
Which states require PIP?
The following states require drivers to have PIP coverage as part of their auto insurance:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
PIP is also offered in New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. as a coverage option.
Do I need personal injury protection?
If your state is a no-fault state and requires PIP coverage, you’ll have to include it on your car insurance policy. But even if it’s optional, it may be a good idea to consider it.
For example, if you do not have a very robust or comprehensive health insurance policy, personal injury protection coverage can work with your health insurance to provide more comprehensive coverage that will likely cover your injuries from an accident.
PIP is also a good idea if you often drive with passengers in your car, since it covers anyone riding with you. Since you can’t be sure what kind of health insurance your passengers have, PIP provides a layer of assurance their medical bills will be covered in an accident.
Frequently asked questions
Is PIP mandatory in my state?
To find out if you are required to have PIP, check our list above or go to the comprehensive listing offered by the Insurance Information Institute, which lists all the coverages required for each state.
Will PIP pay for my lost wages if I’m in the hospital?
Yes, up to the maximum allowed by the policy. It may fully cover all your lost wages, but may be helpful if you’re unable to work.
What about rehabilitation services? Does PIP pay for that?
It may. You’ll want to talk to your insurance agent and read your policy carefully to find out exactly what coverage you have from your PIP insurance.
Is PIP different from bodily injury liability?
Yes. Your medical injury liability coverage is for the driver and passengers in the other car, in the case of an accident. PIP, meanwhile, pays for medical costs incurred by you and your passengers.
Is PIP the same as MedPay?
Not exactly. MedPay coverage pays solely for medical costs after an accident. PIP will pay for those costs, but also for rehabilitation, psychiatric costs, lost wages and other accident-related losses. It also pays a death benefit, which pays towards funeral expenses.