Understanding Personal Injury Protection

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

Ben MooreOctober 2, 2020
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Personal injury protection is car insurance coverage that pays for medical expenses from car-related injuries, no matter who is at fault. While this coverage type is offered in 21 states and Washington, D.C., 13 states require all drivers to carry a minimum amount of personal injury protection, typically referred to as PIP.

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 housecleaning or child care.

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

  • A small death benefit as a cash payout.

When you file a PIP claim with your insurance company, you may be required to pay a deductible before you can collect the benefits. 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 21 states, as well as Washington, D.C. Thirteen states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of PIP, while a few others offer it as an optional add-on to your policy. Use the map below to see if your state offers PIP, and if there is a minimum requirement.

Personal injury protection is required in 13 states

Drivers in 13 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

$5,000

$3,000

For a more detailed look at how personal injury protection works in these states, choose a state below:

PIP minimum: $15,000

What it covers: PIP will pay up to $15,000 for one person in an accident, or up to $30,000 for multiple people injured, for medical expenses and lost wages. PIP also pays up to $5,000 for funeral expenses.

PIP minimum: $10,000.

What it covers: PIP will cover 80% of your medical expenses, up to the $10,000 minimum. It will also cover lost wages due to injuries from an accident, as well as pay out a death benefit of up to $5,000 per person.

In order to sue an at-fault driver, you must have suffered severe injury or death in an accident.

PIP minimum: Hawaii requires a minimum of $10,000 in PIP.

What it covers: PIP covers medical and rehabilitative expenses that arise from an accident.

In order to sue an at-fault driver, the expenses from your injuries must exceed $5,000, or you must have suffered severe injury or death from the accident.

PIP minimum: Kansas requires PIP minimums for all of the coverage offered:

  • $4,500 a person for medical expenses.

  • $900 a month for 1 year for lost wages and disability.

  • $25 a day for in-home services.

  • $2,000 for funeral expenses.

  • What it covers: PIP will cover medical expenses, lost wages, disability, in-home services such as child care and housecleaning, rehabilitation and funeral expenses.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, your medical expenses must be over $2,000, or your injuries must be severe, such as a lost limb or paralysis.

    PIP minimum: $8,000 per person in an accident.

    What it covers: The first $2,000 in medical expenses will be covered by PIP coverage. Once the $2,000 threshold is met, your health insurance will become the primary payer and PIP will be the secondary payer.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, the medical expenses from your injury must be over $2,000, or you must have suffered severe injury such as a lost limb or paralysis.

    PIP minimum: Michigan offers several tiers. Unlimited coverage is the default, but you also may be able to choose:

  • Up to $500,000 in coverage.

  • Up to $250,000 in coverage.

  • Up to $50,000 in coverage if you are enrolled in Medicaid and another member of your household has insurance that will cover injuries from a car accident.

  • Opting out of PIP medical coverage if you have Medicare and another member of your household has a car insurance or health insurance policy that pays for injuries from car accidents.

  • What it covers: Medical expenses from an accident related injury, as well as up to 3 years of lost wages.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, you must have sustained severe injuries or death from a car accident.

    PIP minimum: $20,000 for medical coverage, and $20,000 for loss of income coverage.

    What it covers: Medical expenses and lost wages due to an accident, plus a $2,000 death benefit.

    PIP minimum: $15,000 per person, per accident. What it covers: Medical expenses from accident-related injuries, with the option to add on coverage for lost wages, substitute services like housecleaning and child care, funeral expenses and a death benefit payout.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, you must suffer severe injury, such as a lost limb or significant scarring, in a car accident.

    PIP minimum: $50,000 per person (this is also the maximum amount of PIP available).

    What it covers: Medical expenses caused by an accident, 80% of lost wages due to an accident-related injury, up to $25 a day for household expenses for up to 1 year after the accident and a $2,000 death benefit.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, your injuries in a car crash must be severe, such as a lost limb or paralysis.

    PIP minimum: $30,000 per person in an accident.

    What it covers: Medical expenses, lost wages and funeral expenses.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, the medical expenses from your injuries must be higher than $2,500, or you must have suffered severe injury such as a lost limb.

    PIP minimum: $15,000 per person in an accident.

    What it covers: Medical expenses, 70% of lost wages, funeral expenses and substitute services such as child care.

    PIP minimum: $5,000

    What it covers: Medical expenses for injuries sustained from an accident.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, the injuries you sustain in an accident must be severe, such as losing a limb or suffering paralysis.

    PIP minimum: $3,000 per person.

    What it covers: Medical expenses for accident-related injuries, including surgeries, X-rays, dental services, rehabilitation services and hospital services. It also covers up to 85% of lost wages, or $250 a week (whichever is less), $20 a day for up to one year for household services, funeral expenses and a death payout of $3,000.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, the medical expenses from your injury must be over $3,000, or the injuries you suffered must be severe, such as a lost limb or paralysis.

    PIP is optional or can be waived in 8 states, plus Washington, D.C.

    Eight 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

    Optional

    Optional

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

    Optional

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

    Optional

    For more information on how PIP coverage works in these states, choose a state below:

    PIP minimum: Insurers are required to offer at least $5,000 in PIP.

    What it covers: Drivers in Arkansas can choose to have their PIP cover medical payments, funeral expenses and lost wages.

    PIP minimum: With the exception of motorcycles, all vehicles require a minimum of $10,000 in PIP, but can be waived in writing.

    What it covers: Medical expenses, up to $200 a week in lost wages, replacement services and a death benefit.

    In order to sue an at-fault driver, your medical expenses must be over $1,000 or your injuries must be severe, such as a lost limb or paralysis.

    PIP minimum: $2,500 minimum, but can be waived in writing.

    What it covers: Medical expenses, 85% of lost wages and substitute services such as housecleaning or child care.

    PIP minimum: If you purchase car insurance, you must purchase a minimum of $1,000 in PIP, referred to as medical payments coverage.

    What it covers: Medical expenses for injuries sustained in an accident.

    South Dakota has no PIP or medical payments minimum requirements. If you choose to add it to your policy, it will pay for medical and funeral expenses that result from a crash.

    PIP minimum: All car insurance policies in Texas come with $2,500 in PIP, but this can be waived in writing.

    What it covers: Medical expenses, lost wages and substitute services, like housecleaning or child care.

    There are no PIP, also called medpay, minimum requirements in Virginia.

    What it covers: Medical expenses for accident-related injuries.

    All car insurance companies are required to offer $10,000 in PIP, but drivers can waive it in writing.

    What it covers: Medical expenses, up to $200 a week in lost wages, substitute services, such as housecleaning and child care, and funeral expenses.

    PIP is optional in Washington, D.C.

    What it covers: Medical expenses, lost wages and funeral expenses.

    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, Kansas, Massachusetts and Michigan, offer both PIP and medpay. And if medpay is available, it may be a good idea to add it to your policy as it can cover your PIP deductible.