DEFINITION of 'Personal Injury Protection - PIP'

A feature of automobile insurance that covers the health care expenses associated with treating injuries sustained in a car accident. With personal injury protection, the policyholder and his/her passengers, if any, who are hurt in an auto accident will have their medical expenses covered even if they don’t have health insurance. If cost of necessary medical care exceeds the automobile policy’s personal injury protection limits, health insurance may cover further expenses.   

BREAKING DOWN 'Personal Injury Protection - PIP'

Automobile insurance requirements and features differ from state to state. Personal injury protection is available primarily in no-fault states, meaning that if you are injured in a car crash, your insurance policy will pay for your medical care regardless of whether you caused the accident or another driver did as long as the accident itself is covered by the policy. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you will still be covered as long as your own policy includes personal injury protection. This type of coverage, in addition to making medical care affordable, can also provide payments for lost income, child care and funeral expenses related to the accident, which an auto policy’s medical payments coverage does not pay for. Medical payments coverage is available in some no-fault states, but typically has low limits. The most a policyholder will receive from filing a personal injury protection claim is the policy’s limit.

Personal injury protection is required in Washington, DC, and 15 states: Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Delaware, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kansas, Minnesota, New Jersey, Michigan, North Dakota, Utah, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas. Minimum coverage requirements vary by state; maximums depend on what the insurance company is willing to offer, which is usually no more than $25,000. If a policyholder’s health insurance provides coverage for injuries and rehabilitation related to a car accident, the policyholder probably only needs to purchase the minimum amount of personal injury protection required by their state. Personal injury protection is not a substitute for liability coverage, which most states require and which pays for injuries caused to another party, such as a pedestrian or the driver and occupants of another vehicle.

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