Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of auto insurance coverage, sometimes referred to as “no-fault” insurance. In essence, PIP is designed to cover first-party healthcare expenses following a car accident. Whether or not you are required to carry PIP coverage depends on what state you live in.
Still, just because PIP coverage isn’t mandatory in every state doesn’t mean you don’t need additional coverage. Find out more about personal injury protection from the personal injury lawyers at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys.
Which States Require Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
Before we delve into how having PIP coverage on your auto insurance policy can benefit you, let’s go over who is required to carry personal injury protection and who isn’t. No-fault insurance is, unsurprisingly, generally required in no-fault states.
No-fault simply means that instead of filing a claim with another driver’s insurance company after an accident, all parties file claims with their own insurance company, regardless of who caused the collision.
If your car or truck is registered in one of the following states, you are legally required to purchase personal injury protection auto insurance. Minimum PIP coverage amounts range from as little as $3,000 per person per accident to as much as $250,000 per accident. In addition to true no-fault states, a handful of fault states also require personal injury protection as an add-on coverage.
- New Jersey*
- New York
- North Dakota
*Drivers in Kentucky, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania may choose to reject mandatory PIP coverage in order to protect their rights to sue an at-fault party after an accident. By accepting PIP coverage, your right to file a personal injury lawsuit in these states is restricted. These states are sometimes referred to as choice no-fault states.
Which States Offer Optional PIP Coverage?
Although not required, the following places offer optional personal injury protection to motorists to supplement their coverage needs:
- South Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Cover?
Unlike bodily injury liability coverage, personal injury protection covers first-party expenses after a car accident. First-party refers to both the insured driver and any of their passengers. Coverages include:
- Medical Expenses. This generally refers to the cost of ambulance transportation, hospital stays, surgeries, rehabilitation or physical therapy, medication, follow-up care, and home healthcare.
- Lost Wages. Personal injury protection can also reimburse you for loss of income following an accident if you are unable to work.
- Household & Childcare Services. If your injuries prevent you from being able to take care of your children or attend to your household duties, PIP can provide assistance in sourcing childcare or help around the house (i.e., cleaning, lawn care).
- Funeral Costs. In cases of wrongful death after an accident, PIP will cover end of life expenses such as cremation, burial, and funerals.
- Survivors’ Losses. If a driver or their passenger is killed in an accident, this coverage may also pay surviving family members compensation for that person’s lost income or other services that person once provided.
Do I Really Need PIP if I Already Have Health Insurance?
Some people choose to forego optional personal injury protection coverage because they assume that their health insurance will cover most of their medical expenses after an accident. While it’s true that health coverage will usually keep the costs of minor injuries relatively low, more serious or debilitating injuries can result in much bigger medical bills and other related setbacks, especially if your health insurance has high co-pays or deductibles.
Most importantly, PIP provides coverage for lost wages you or your passengers incur as a result of being injured and unable to work. In addition, it covers funeral costs when an accident results in one or more deaths. If you live in New Jersey or Michigan, your personal injury protection may even work in conjunction with your health insurance to ensure all your bills get paid.
What Are My Options if My State Doesn’t Offer PIP?
There are 29 states in American that do not offer personal injury protection coverage to motorists. However, you can often purchase other kinds of supplemental auto insurance to protect you, your passengers, and your assets in the event of an injury crash.
Medical Payments (MedPay)
MedPay is a type of insurance coverage which is similar to PIP, but with several key differences. Medical payments coverage is actually required in several U.S. states, including Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Purchasing MedPay is usually an inexpensive investment, and maximum payouts range from a modest $5,000 to $10,000 per person.
MedPay covers health insurance deductibles, co-pays, ambulance fees, diagnostic tests, hospital stays, follow-up care, and even funeral expenses for you, your passengers, and any pedestrians involved in an accident. In addition, MedPay can cover you if you are injured in a pedestrian or bicycle accident. It can even provide coverage if you are injured as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
Optional MedPay coverage is available in all U.S. states except for Minnesota, New York, North Dakota, and Oregon (which all require PIP coverage).
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you live in a fault state, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are also viable options if your state doesn’t offer optional PIP coverage. In the event that you are in a collision with a driver who leaves the accident scene, does not have car insurance, or doesn’t have sufficient insurance, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (which is available in all fault states) can provide you and your passengers with compensation for your injuries, pain, suffering, and for property damage to your vehicle.
In places like Tennessee, where an estimated 23.7% of drivers don’t have insurance, this “optional” type of coverage is more essential than not.
Who Can Help Me Get Compensation After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a car or motorcycle accident through no fault of your own, you can ensure that you are fairly compensated for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering by consulting with an experienced and dedicated personal injury lawyer. Don’t fall victim to the deceptive tactics car insurance companies may use to either deny your claim or reduce your settlement amount.
If you’re looking for trusted legal help, you can find it at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys. Our nationwide network of personal injury attorneys serve clients in Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, Washington, and beyond. To get connected with our team and schedule your free, no obligation consultation, call us 24/7 at 844-977-1900. Operators are also standing by to answer your questions via LiveChat. You can even request your complimentary case review right now, simply by filling out this form.