How Does PIP Insurance Work

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If you were ever hurt in a car accident and accumulated medical bills, you probably wish you knew about PIP.

PIP is personal injury protection coverage for car insurance.

In some states, the law requires you to have PIP coverage. If your state does not, you may want to add personal injury protection insurance to your motor vehicle coverage.

It is one of those items you wish you’ll never have to use, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

PIP covers medical expenses regardless of who is at fault for a car accident. It stands for Personal Injury Protection and is a part of an auto insurance policy.

PIP also includes medical payments coverage of passengers, like family members and friends, who ride in your car. If they suffer injuries because of a collision, PIP will cover the costs of their medical treatment.

If injured in an automobile accident, you will need to take time off work, causing a loss of wages. PIP will include wage recovery under its coverage.

Depending on the state where you live, PIP may be optional. In others, you may, by law, have to add it to your vehicle insurance policy. Call your agency and ask for a consultation about add-ons like PIP.

Example: Texas PIP Insurance

In Texas, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is mandatory. If you do not want this protection, you must sign a waiver declining the coverage. If there is no signature on the policy, before an accident occurs, then you have it.

If you reject PIP coverage, it will leave you and your passengers without protection. In the event of a car accident, you may need to face the prospect of paying for high medical bills or lost wages.

Thus, before you say “No,” it is best to take some time to consider the importance of it and of what it covers.

What Does PIP Cover?

The first step to finding out PIP covers is to learn whether where you live is a PIP state. Depending on your state, the requirements of PIP may be different from some other states.

You can get PIP despite your income, savings, etc., and it is a tax-free benefit.

Even if you are working or studying, you can still get PIP coverage.

If you are in a car accident with PIP coverage, it will cover 80% of your medical expenses (minus any deductible you choose). It also pays for 60% of any wages you lose.

Most PIP policies sold today have an average limit on the amount of coverage. Most offer no more than $10,000.00. You may want to discuss the details with your personal auto insurance company.

You are entitled to get a top-up (called a premium) on the following PIP benefits:

  • Housing Benefits.
  • Job Seeker's Allowance.
  • Income Support.
  • Working Tax Credit.
  • Employment and Support Allowance - but only if you get the PIP daily living component.
  • Pension Credit - but only if you get the PIP daily living component.

You also want to find out if you live in an “at-fault” or “no-fault” state. The answer may influence your decision on whether to add PIP to your auto insurance policy.

What Does a “No-Fault” State Mean?

No-fault states require all drivers to buy personal injury protection (PIP).

No-fault insurance laws:

Every driver must file an insurance claim with their auto insurance company after an accident no matter who is at fault.

But you need to know that even if the accident was not your fault, your insurance rate might increase. It depends on the insurance company.

Which are “No-Fault” States?

Twelve states and Puerto Rico have no-fault auto insurance laws.

  1. Florida
  2. Michigan
  3. New Jersey (“choice”)
  4. New York
  5. Pennsylvania (“choice”)

The other seven out of the twelve states use a monetary threshold:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Kansas
  3. Kentucky (“choice”)
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Minnesota
  6. North Dakota
  7. Utah

Three states have a "choice" no-fault law:

The three states that have the word (“choice”) beside them means policyholders have a choice. Residents of these states can select either traditional tort or no-fault recovery administrations.

The selection must happen at the time of the new or renewed policy. Otherwise, the plan needs to be rewritten.

What Does an “At-Fault” State Mean?

All other U.S. states are "at-fault," which are also tort states. At-fault puts the blame and financial responsibility on the person who caused the auto accident.

The individual will need to pay for expenses with his or her own money. They also have the option to use their liability insurance if they have it to cover the losses. This includes medical bills and property damage.

It is usually a police officer and an insurance company that will decide who is at fault. The decision comes after reviewing witness statements and gathering evidence.

They will speak to all involved and use a bit of science to determine what happened.

Auto liability insurance is a policy that covers the damages of the injured person(s) from actions or inaction.

Liability coverage does not pay for your losses if you are responsible for them, though. Other forms of car insurance or add-on coverage may offer some help, like PIP.

PIP coverage is “no-fault” insurance, which individuals can add to their policy in an “at-fault” state.

But it is also vital to know that if the liability insurance policy does not cover all damages, victims can sue.

This is in at-fault states where they can sue the at-fault driver to pay for all losses and medical treatment costs.

Under all circumstances, your auto insurance should meet both local laws. Remember, PIP is not the same as health insurance or bodily injury liability coverage.

Example: Florida PIP Coverage

Although Florida is an "at-fault" state, the law requires that your insurance company "offer" PIP with any car insurance policy.

Beyond the primary items, personal injury protection in Texas covers:

  • All reasonable medical costs. (Any necessary surgeries, x-rays, dental, eye treatments,medical procedures, prosthetic devices, or professional nursing.)
  • Ambulance services.
  • Rehabilitation therapies.
  • Funeral expenses.
  • Lost income because of the accident.
  • Replacement of necessary services provided by the injured party. (Family care or household maintenance if the injured are not income producers.)

Why Add Personal Injury Protection to Your Auto Insurance Policy?

It is clear there are many benefits to having PIP added to your car insurance, but if you choose not to have it the consequences could be severe if they find you at-fault for a car accident.

For instance, if you are an uninsured motorist, the victim can contact a law firm. They may sue you for their losses.

If deemed responsible for a vehicle accident, then all of your assets, including your house, may need to be sold to compensate the victim for their losses.

To protect your valuables, you must consider adding PIP coverage to your auto insurance policy.

Does PIP Coverage Follow the Person?

Another good reason to add PIP coverage is that it follows the person.

Thus, if a driver or passenger sells their vehicle or no longer owns it and is injured in someone else's car, the vehicle owner's insurance would provide benefits for the person who did not own a vehicle.

Conclusion

If you are unsure whether PIP coverage is something you want, consult an insurance agent to find out more about what your state offers.

PIP is not the same in every state, and its requirements change. Talk to your insurance company about your auto insurance policy and add-ons, including PIP, or Medpay with every policy renewal.

If you have moved recently and previously lived in another state, contact your local car insurance agent. If you have PIP in another state, learn if you still need it or want it in your new location.

Talk to your car insurer to find out if adding personal injury protection is right for you.

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Main Office: 200 E. Robinson St. Suite #250, Orlando, Florida 32801. Attorney Jeffrey Kaufman, Licensed in Florida Disclaimer: the purpose of this site is to provide information about legal options, not to provide legal or professional advice. You should not assume that the information on this site applies to your case without consulting with an attorney first. Requesting an initial consultation does not create an attorney client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be solely based on advertisement.

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