What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance?

If you’re injured in an accident, PIP could cover medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault.
Jul 18, 2022

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Personal injury protection, or PIP, is auto insurance coverage that pays for medical expenses from car-related injuries, no matter who is at fault. While this coverage type is offered in 17 states and Washington, D.C., only 12 of those states require all drivers to carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection.

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What does personal injury protection cover?

PIP is meant to cover any injuries you sustain from a crash, regardless of who is at fault, and includes other benefits as well. Depending on your state, PIP could help pay for:

  • Medical bills and expenses that arise from a car crash.

  • Lost wages if you are unable to work due to injuries sustained from an accident.

  • Services you can no longer perform because of an accident, such as house cleaning or child care.

  • Funeral costs if an injury sustained from an accident leads to death.

  • A small death benefit as a cash payout.

Your PIP policy may have an insurance deductible, an amount you’re responsible for covering toward the cost of a claim. Your insurance company typically subtracts your deductible from your payout.

PIP generally covers the policyholder and family members in the household, passengers in the vehicle and others who are driving the car with permission. Your PIP can also cover you if you’re injured while riding in someone else’s car, or if you’re injured by a vehicle as a pedestrian or cyclist.

How PIP relates to no-fault insurance

Personal injury protection is sometimes called “no-fault insurance.” The name is a reference to states with “no-fault” laws, such as Florida, Michigan and New York. These laws prohibit injured drivers from suing at-fault drivers after an accident unless their injuries are severe or their medical expenses are higher than their state’s minimum requirement to sue.

“No-fault” states require minimum amounts of PIP for every driver.

Personal injury protection by state

You can purchase PIP in 17 states, as well as Washington, D.C. Twelve states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of PIP, while a few others offer it as an optional add-on to your policy.

Personal injury protection is required in 12 states

Drivers in 12 states are required to purchase a minimum amount of PIP, but this amount varies by state. Use the table below to see which states require personal injury protection, and what the minimum requirement is.

States that require PIP

Minimum coverage required

$15,000

$10,000

$10,000

$4,500

$8,000

Requirements vary.

$40,000

$15,000

$50,000

$30,000

$15,000

$3,000

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PIP is optional or can be waived in 5 states, plus Washington, D.C.

Five states plus Washington, D.C., offer personal injury protection as an optional add-on or allow drivers to waive it in writing. Use the table below to see how these states handle PIP coverage.

States that offer PIP

PIP details

Optional

$10,000 required, but can be waived in writing.

$2,500 required, but can be waived in writing.

$2,500 required, but can be waived in writing.

$10,000 required, but can be waived in writing.

Optional.

Is personal injury protection the same as MedPay?

While medical payments coverage, better known as MedPay, does pay for medical expenses from crash-related injuries regardless of fault, it doesn’t offer the additional financial benefits that PIP offers, such as covering lost wages, funeral costs, child care or housecleaning expenses.

MedPay is also an optional coverage. Some states, such as Florida and  Massachusetts, allow insurers to offer both PIP and MedPay.

How does PIP relate to liability insurance?

Personal injury protection pays for your medical care if you are injured in an accident regardless of who is at fault. Liability car insurance, on the other hand, pays for any injuries or property damage you cause to others when you are at fault in an accident. Liability insurance does not pay for your injuries or for damage to your property. PIP is required in a few states, while auto liability insurance is required in most states.

PIP is a type of auto insurance coverage while liability insurance can be on many types of insurance policies, including auto, homeowners, renters and condo insurance.

Frequently asked questions
Do I need PIP if I have health insurance?

If you live in a  state where personal injury protection is required, you will still need PIP even if you have health insurance.

If you live in a state where PIP coverage is optional, before purchasing personal injury protection you should consider the extent of your health care coverage. If you have limited health care coverage or a high health insurance deductible, personal injury protection may be a smart choice for you.

How do I file a PIP claim?

Ask your insurer how to open a claim and follow the steps the company outlines. Be sure to keep track of your claim number.

If you receive any health care before your claim is processed, keep track of all receipts and bills. You may need to send them to your insurer.

Should I buy personal injury protection insurance?

If you live in a state where personal injury protection is optional, you may want to consider two factors:

  • Your health care coverage.

  • Your ability to cover lost wages if you are in an accident and have to miss work.

If you have gaps in your health care coverage or high deductibles, or if you have concerns regarding  how lost wages could affect your financial health, PIP could be a good option for you.

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