UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Personal Injury coverage protects against medical expenses (costs associated with treating injuries to your person). In some states, you are legally required to carry this type of coverage on your auto policy. In other states, however, it is only an option. Beyond your medical costs, Personal Injury Protection coverage (or PIP for short) might also help pay for lost wages, childcare expenses, or funeral costs in the event of a serious accident.
How Does Personal Injury Protection Coverage Work?
One good thing about PIP coverage is that it pays out on relevant claims quickly and efficiently regardless of who is at fault. You won’t have to wait for your insurance provider to decide culpability and/or have to take anyone to court to get the money you are owed – your claim will pay out regardless. Even if it turns out that the other driver is at fault, proving their culpability and collecting the funds from the other driver (and/or the other driver’s insurance company) will be your provider’s headache, not yours!
But the drawback is that PIP limits are usually very low (around $10,000 or less). And that might seem like a lot of money, but if you are involved in a serious accident, cannot work, and have young children to look after, your post-accident expenses can mount into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars before you know it.
Personal Injury Protection coverage also has some benefits that health insurance doesn’t when it comes to accidents. Your health insurance plan usually only covers you and any children or legal dependents who are also on your policy. PIP, on the other hand, insures you and also may insure the following:
- Blood Relatives
- Foster or Step Children
While this is relatively standard in all policies, it is important to review your own policy carefully and be familiar with the details.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage and Associated Costs
How much is it? Generally, the majority of your insurance premium comes from collision and comprehensive and other facets of insurance. PIP isn’t the most expensive form of insurance, but it isn’t exactly dirt cheap either.
It is a good rule of thumb to look at your medical insurance before determining how much PIP coverage you want to take on. For example, if you have a particularly high deductible or co-payment under your health insurance policy, then you might consider a higher personal injury protection limit.
Make sure to review what is covered on your policy. Policies vary from company to company, and coverage sometimes varies from state to state. Certain forms of alternative medicine might be considered acceptable in certain states, while they might not be covered by your PIP coverage in others.
Certain restrictions might require that you insure all of your cars under your policy. Instead of following you, the driver, the policy might revolve around which cars are listed on your plan. Also, keep in mind that bundling multiple vehicles onto the same policy can net you some discounts, but will increase your monthly premium with each vehicle added.
After reviewing all the facts, the only thing left to do is make a decision: which level of personal injury protection insurance is right for you?