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What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance?

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If you’ve been involved in a car accident, your insurance company can cover the medical expenses and other damages you encounter.

But, what happens if you or the other driver don’t have insurance? Then Personal Injury Protection (PIP) can be the lifesaver. 

Schmidt & Clark lawyers have two-decades-long experience dealing with car accident claims and insurance companies. We’ll use our expertise in dealing with Personal Injury Protection to explain everything you should know about this insurance. 

Summary of the Key Findings

  • Depending on the state, PIP insurance can be a voluntary or an obligatory add-on to auto insurance.
  • PIP is obligatory in 22 US states.
  • The insurance company can offer you different level PIP coverages, and you can decide how much PIP insurance you want.

What is Personal Injury Protection?

Doctor treating her patient

Personal Injury Protection is a part of a car insurance plan that helps cover medical expenses when involved in a car crash. 

PIP can cover the medical bill for both the policyholder and the passengers.

“Personal injury protection (PIP), also known as “no-fault insurance,” is a component of an automobile insurance plan that covers the healthcare expenses associated with a car accident. PIP covers medical expenses for both injured policyholders and passengers, even if some don’t have health insurance.” Investopedia

Close up stethoscope above money PIP includes medical payments coverage when medical bills are higher than the car insurance policy limits.

Also, car insurance policies have a per-person maximum. This means that the insurance limits how many people injured in an auto accident can be a part of the insurance coverage. 

PIP includes medical payments coverage when you’re the passenger in another person’s car, or a car hits you while you’re walking or cycling. PIP is specifically used for car-related injuries, which auto insurance doesn’t include for whatever reason.

22 US states require that you have PIP as a policy add-on, while it’s optional in other states. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), many US states passed legislation in the 1970s to include no-fault insurance [1]. The goal of this was to simplify the process of finding out which driver is responsible.

Nowadays, PIP insurance is mostly available in no-fault states, so people with PIP insurance can have adequate coverage even if the other driver doesn’t have auto insurance.

States that have PIP coverage have minimum Personal Injury Protection coverage requirements. These are useful when the minimum coverage can’t cover all medical expenses.

Related Article: Rights of a Passenger in a Car Accident

What PIP Covers

Filling up a health form close up image

What Personal Injury Protection covers depends on what you pay for. Your PIP coverage will depend on the type of coverage you want, how old you are, make, and car model you have.

PIP coverage also varies from state to state, but you can expect PIP insurance to cover:

  • Medical costs — If medical and surgical treatment bills and medical supplies exceed the limit of your insurance, PIP auto insurance can help pay the difference for you and others listed on your health insurance policy. 
  • Lost wages — If you can’t go to work while you recover, PIP coverage can cover lost income.
  • Rehab — If you need physical rehabilitation, PIP coverage can also include this, as well as ambulance and nursing services and prosthetic devices.
  • Household services — If you need help taking care of your home or are a parent who needs help with childcare.
  • Funeral expenses and death benefit — PIP can pay for funeral costs if an accident results in death. It can also pay for the death benefit for the family.

What PIP Doesn’t Cover

No-fault insurance doesn’t cover:

  • Vehicle damages
  • Vehicle theft
  • Damage to other people’s property

How to File a PIP Claim

Answering forms and registering online A PIP claim is filed the same as any other kind of claim. You can do it either online or by phone. If you were the driver in the accident, you should file PIP through your insurance provider. If you were the passenger, you should file with the driver’s insurance, regardless of who’s at fault.

Note: Some states have time limits on filing a PIP claim.

For example, in New York, medical bills have to be submitted 45 days after receiving treatment.

In New Jersey, all medical PIP claims within 10 days after the accident have to be approved by the insurer. If you don’t know the rules in your state, you should consult a personal injury lawyer.

When you file PIP, it’ll help cover urgent medical expenses in most cases. For other claims that aren’t urgent, you’ll have to review the treatment plan with a medical expert that your insurance company chooses.

FAQ

What’s the difference between bodily injury and Personal Injury Protection?

Bodily injury health insurance covers other person’s damages if you’re at fault, while Personal Injury Protection covers your injuries.

Related Article: Bodily Injury vs Personal Injury (Differences Explained)

Do You Need PIP?

PIP insurance covers costs related to an automobile accident. Most importantly, PIP will cover medical bills that exceed your auto insurance limit, so you don’t have to pay them yourself. You can contact your insurance company or a personal injury attorney to check PIP insurance requirements and policy limits in your state. 

PIP can be a lifesaver if an uninsured driver hits you, so you should get as much PIP coverage as possible. Contact Schmidt & Clark lawyers for a free consultation, and start the process of acquiring your PIP coverage today.

References:

1.https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-no-fault-auto-insurance 

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