Do I Need Personal Injury Protection on my Car Insurance?

Casey Wagner
November 3, 2020

Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of insurance that covers you in the event of an accident that injures you or a passenger, or in situations where you are a pedestrian that is hit by a car. PIP insurance is different from bodily injury liability in that it only pays for your own expenses in the case of an injury, while liability insurance will also cover the medical expenses of drivers and passengers in other cars when you are at fault for an accident.

Personal injury protection insurance may include some of the same coverage as your health insurance or Medical Payments policy. However, PIP coverage is specifically written for car-related injuries, which may be excluded from health insurance policies, and PIP insurance covers a number of additional expenses not covered by MedPay insurance.

Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance Required? PIP is optional in most states. However, 12 states require you to carry a minimum amount of PIP coverage:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

Consider looking into your state's specific regulations to see how much additional coverage is required. There are some states that offer optional PIP on top of your regular coverage:

  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C.
  • Wisconsin

What Does PIP Insurance Cover?

PIP coverage is a supplement to whatever car insurance policy you already have. What personal injury protection covers varies from state to state, but can include:

  • Surgery, nursing, urgent care services, X-rays
  • Prescriptions
  • Dental care
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Therapy, rehabilitation, and remedial care
  • Hospitalization
  • Ongoing professional care
  • Psychiatric and psychological care
  • Lost wages, if you're unable to work
  • Funeral expenses and accidental death benefits
  • Certain home care expenses, such as childcare or house cleaning, if you're unable to fulfill these duties yourself

PIP Insurance will cover the following people:

  • You, the person insured by the policy, while occupying a car or when hit by another car.
  • Your immediate family members, while occupying a car or when hit by another car.
  • Any other person, while occupying your insured car.

What's Not Covered With PIP Insurance?

PIP only offers coverage for physical injuries, and does not provide coverage for damage done to your vehicle, so you would have no coverage during an at-fault accident. Also, PIP does not cover damage done to other people’s property (such as their vehicle).

How Much Does PIP Cost?

The amount you’ll spend on PIP insurance will largely depend on a combination of factors including coverage level, age, type of vehicle, your insurance company, and where you live. In general, the average cost will be anywhere from $5 to $50 extra a month. It won’t be the most expensive coverage on your policy, but it likely won’t be the cheapest either.

Do You Need PIP Insurance if You Have Health Insurance?

If you live in one of the 12 states where PIP coverage is required, you must file a claim under that policy before you turn to your health insurance. If you are in a state where PIP coverage is optional, PIP insurance does offer several benefits that you won't get from a health insurance policy, such as coverage for lost wages and funeral costs.

Several states, such as New Jersey and Michigan, have provisions so that your PIP coverage will work in conjunction with your health insurance policy. For example, if you're injured in a car accident in Michigan, your health insurance policy may cover your physical injuries and your PIP would cover additional economic losses, such as wages you lost during your time in the hospital.

Author Bio: Casey Wagner is a copywriter for Gold, Albanese, Barletti & Locascio, LLC. With offices in Red Bank, NJ and Morristown, NJ, the experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at GABL help clients with a wide range of motor vehicle accidents and other personal injury matters.

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