What Is Personal Injury Protection? Coverage for Your Car Accident Injuries

secure Editorial Standards

SmartFinancial Offers Unbiased, Fact-based Information. Our fact-checked articles are intended to educate insurance shoppers so they can make the right buying decisions. Learn More

Personal injury protection (PIP) provides coverage when you or your passengers are injured in a car accident, paying for hospital bills, lost wages and funeral fees if somebody died. Learn to see which states require PIP, which offers it and how you can file a claim if the unexpected happens.

Key Takeaways

  • PIP pays for medical bills, lost wages and funeral fees incurred after a car accident.
  • PIP coverage is available regardless of who was the at-fault driver.
  • Passengers in your car during the accident are also covered.
  • PIP is required in some states, including Oregon, Utah, North Dakota, Hawaii, Michigan and Florida.
  • Some states offer PIP as an optional coverage.

How Does Personal Injury Protection Work?

Personal injury protection, also called no-fault insurance, covers the policyholder plus passengers inside the vehicle during the car accident, regardless of who was at fault. This policy may apply even for injuries sustained as a pedestrian or bicyclist.

Under PIP, your medical and rehabilitation bills may be covered, including ambulance bills, medical treatment, surgery and medication. You can also use the policy to cover days lost at work due to injuries plus rehabilitation that may be necessary afterward. If you or a passenger die in the car accident, then funeral fees will be paid for, as well. Keep in mind there may be a separate PIP deductible you will have to pay before your coverage kicks in.

PIP is available only in no-fault states and may be state-mandated coverage, like liability insurance.

One function of PIP is to clear courts of minor injury claims. However, certain states may still allow individuals to sue the at-fault driver in a car accident if they reach a certain tort threshold. This means that a driver must meet a minimum level of loss, such as high-cost medical bills or permanent disability, before they can file a lawsuit. For example, in Utah, a driver’s losses must be at least $3,000 before they can sue the at-fault driver.[3]

What Does Personal Injury Protection Cover?

Adding PIP to your auto insurance policy will provide coverage for the following expenses. Your insurer will cover costs up to your policy limits, less your deductible.

  • Ambulance bills
  • Medical treatment
  • Surgery
  • Medication
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages (e.g., days not worked due to injuries)
  • Childcare
  • Funeral fees

What Isn’t Covered With PIP Insurance?

Here are some things that are not covered by auto insurance PIP:

  • Your property damage: If you purchased it, collision insurance would pay to repair or replace your vehicle if it is damaged or totaled.
  • Other people’s losses: Required in most states, you would need liability insurance to cover other people’s damages and injuries if you were the at-fault driver.
  • Intentional injuries: Staging a car accident and injuries to profit from the subsequent insurance claim payout may be considered car insurance fraud.
  • Driving under the influence: Car insurance PIP may not cover injuries sustained while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Injuries sustained while racing: Activities deemed reckless and criminal, such as street racing, may be excluded from coverage.
  • Driving a vehicle for business purposes: For example, transporting construction materials for your contracting business or driving for Uber will not be covered by personal auto policy. Instead, you would need commercial auto coverage or rideshare insurance with a PIP endorsement.

Is PIP Coverage Required?

PIP coverage may be legally required in certain states, called no-fault states. These states include Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and Hawaii. PIP is offered in other states, as well, but as an optional coverage.

personal injury protection (PIP) requirements for no-fault states in map illustration

The specific requirements for PIP coverage can vary by state. For example, in Florida, drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in PIP coverage, while in Michigan, the requirement starts at $50,000.[1][2] In other states, PIP is optional and can be purchased as an add-on to your car insurance policy.

Below, we’ve outlined the minimum limits in states that require or offer personal injury protection. We’ve also specified each state’s tort threshold — the minimum loss you must meet before you can sue an at-fault driver for damages and pain and suffering.[3]


Minimum PIP Limit

Tort Threshold





$15,000/person, $30,000/accident


District of Columbia










  • $4,500/person for medical expenses
  • $900/month for one year for disability or loss of income
  • $25/day for in-home services
  • $2,000 for death benefits
  • $4,500 for rehabilitation expenses
  • $900/month for one year for disability or loss of income
  • $25/day for in-home services









$8,000/person per accident



$250,000 or opt out*



$20,000 for medical expenses, $20,000 for non-medical expenses


New Hampshire



New Jersey



New York



North Dakota









South Dakota


















How Much Does Personal Injury Protection Cost?

The cost of personal injury protection insurance will vary depending on a number of factors, such as your age, location, the make and model of your vehicle and the amount of coverage you buy. It may not be the least expensive coverage on your auto policy, however, it can be vital for proper auto protection.

Add Medical Coverage to Your Auto Policy Today

Personal Injury Protection vs. Medical Payment Coverage

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and medical payments coverage (Medpay) are both types of auto insurance that can help pay for medical expenses after a car accident. However, there are two major differences.

personal injury protection versus medical payment coverage after car accident circle graph illustration

First, Medpay does not cover lost wages. So, if you have to take time off work to rehabilitate from your injuries, this coverage will not reimburse you for the lost income. Second, Medpay generally does not require you to pay a deductible before receiving coverage.

How To File a PIP Insurance Claim

If you have been involved in a car accident and have PIP insurance, you will need to file a claim to receive coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. Here are the general steps to follow to file a personal injury protection claim:

  1. Contact your insurance company: Do this after you've received proper medical attention. You will need to provide your policy number and other basic information about the accident.
  2. Complete any required paperwork: Your insurance will request additional information about the accident and your injuries in order to assess your eligibility and the payout amount.
  3. Provide documentation: This could include medical bills, pay stubs or other evidence of the expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.
  4. Follow up on the status of your claim: Your insurance company may request additional information or documentation as they process your claim.

The specifics of filing a PIP insurance claim can vary depending on the state in which you live and the terms of your individual policy. If you have questions about the claims process or need assistance filing a claim, contact your insurance agent or the insurance company directly for guidance.


What’s the difference between PIP coverage and liability insurance?

PIP coverage is auto insurance coverage that pays for your and your passenger’s medical expenses and lost wages resulting from car accident injuries. Liability insurance, on the other hand, covers damages and injuries that the policyholder causes to others in an accident.

Is PIP coverage the same as bodily injury insurance?

PIP coverage and bodily injury liability insurance are not the same. PIP covers your and your passenger’s injuries, while bodily injury insurance covers the other driver’s injuries if you were the at-fault driver.

Do you need PIP if you have health insurance?

Unless PIP is legally required in your state, you may not need it if you already have health insurance. However, personal injury protection coverage may still be beneficial as it can cover other expenses such as lost wages and childcare that your health insurance can't cover.

Is PIP better than health insurance?

PIP provides first-party medical and lost wage coverage but only for auto-related injuries, while health insurance can provide coverage for any illness or injury.


  1. Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Florida Insurance Requirements.” Accessed Feb. 23, 2023.
  2. Michigan.gov. “Choosing PIP Medical Coverage.” Accessed Feb. 21, 2023.
  3. See below.

PIP minimum limits were obtained from each state’s auto insurance department or DMV and the Insurance Information Institute.

Get a Free Auto Insurance Quote Online Now.