What is personal injury protection? | finder.com
Personal Injury Protection

What is personal injury protection and why do I need it?

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Personal injury protection covers medical bills and indirect costs from auto accidents.

Your health insurance will cover most of your medical bills, but it may not cover the indirect expenses you may incur from an auto accident. Personal injury protection can fill in the gaps.


What is personal injury protection?

If you’re involved in a car accident, personal injury protection (PIP) pays for the medical services you may need afterward.

It may cover the costs of:

  • Ambulance rides
  • Nursing care
  • Prosthetics
  • Lost income
  • Childcare
  • Funeral services

PIP will apply regardless of who’s at fault in an accident.

Does it come with a deductible?

PIP comes with deductibles and copays. You’ll choose how high you want them to be when you’re buying insurance.

To decide, check what your health insurance covers and consider how much you’d want to pay out of your own pocket. The higher you set your deductible, the lower your insurance premiums will be.

What is a deductible?

The deductible is what you’ll pay before your insurance company will pay a claim.

Let’s say you file a claim to your insurance company for a $5,000 car repair bill. Your insurance covers you for that amount, but it includes a $500 deductible. This means you must pay $500 out of your own pocket before your insurance will cover the other $4,500.

How it’s different from medical payments coverage

PIP is similar to medical payments coverage (or “med pay”) in that it covers medical costs after an accident.

The policies differ in many ways, however. For example:

  • PIP comes with deductibles and copays. Med pay doesn’t.
  • PIP covers more costs — such as lost income and psychiatric services.
  • Both are mandatory in different states, but PIP is required in more states.

Personal injury protection in action

You’re involved in a side-impact car collision, and your arm is now broken. You’re anxious, because you’re the only one in the family who drives your kids to school. Fortunately, PIP pays for the cost of hiring a nanny, who transports your kids to school while your arm heals.


Why should I buy personal injury protection?

If you’re involved in a car accident, your health insurance will cover you for most of your primary medical needs — for example, a broken arm. But you may not be covered for other expenses that stem indirectly from the accident. For example, health insurance doesn’t usually reimburse you for lost wages, while PIP does.

Further, you’re required to buy PIP in 15 states. To see if PIP is mandatory where you live, check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

How much does personal injury protection cost?

The cost of PIP varies widely depending on the state you live in, the car you drive, your driving history and more. It’ll typically cost under $50 a month.

How do I buy personal injury protection?

Your current insurer will offer personal injury protection — contact them and ask for more details.

Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best price. You can find coverage that works for you by comparing providers in our insurance comparison table.

Bottom line

Personal injury protection can cover you for costs that your health insurance doesn’t pay for. It’s also required in more states than medical payments coverage is.

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