Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • Personal injury protection (PIP insurance) helps protect you and passengers in case of an accident
  • PIP insurance is required in some states
  • PIP insurance will help with medical bills, lost wages, funeral costs, and will also protect you as a pedestrian

PIP car insurance, also known as Personal Injury Protection, is a coverage that should be a part of your car insurance coverage. Most insurance experts agree that PIP insurance is an important part of any driver’s policy.

PIP insurance coverage is there to protect you and your passengers in the event of an accident.

While it may overlap with other insurance coverage types, it is still a smart type of coverage to have to make sure that you are covered for all eventualities.

Looking for better coverage in case of a car accident? Enter your ZIP code above and compare at least three to four policies today!

PIP Insurance Defined

PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection, and it is not an insurance coverage that is required in all states. PIP is meant to pay for medical bills acquired from injuries in an accident, regardless of fault, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

One of the critical features of this coverage is that it will cover you regardless of which driver was at fault for an accident.

There are some states that require that drivers carry PIP insurance just like liability insurance.

These states are usually those that have no-fault insurance laws. Therefore, PIP insurance is often referred to as no-fault insurance. Other times it is seen as medical payments insurance.

Utilize the map provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to link to your state’s department of insurance and view your state’s requirements for PIP insurance.

The states that require PIP insurance have minimum amounts of coverage, just as with liability insurance. You can certainly purchase higher dollar amounts of coverage if you choose to do so, and you may find that having a high amount of PIP insurance is a good idea.

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PIP Pays Your Medical Bills

PIP car insurance has many uses. First off, personal injury protection will pay for your medical bills up to your dollar amount of coverage.

Medical bills from even moderate accidents can range into the tens of thousands of dollars and more.

Furthermore, Personal Injury Protection can also pay for your injuries when you are injured while riding in someone else’s vehicle.

Most people don’t inquire about a driver’s car insurance coverage before taking a ride, and you may very well only find out that the driver has no insurance after an accident.

You can try to recover payments from the at-fault driver of the vehicle you were in, you can utilize your health insurance, or you can rely on PIP insurance to cover your medical bills — which is more common than most people realize.

Although recent data compiled by the researchers at the Insurance Research Council estimated that approximately one driver in seven has no insurance coverage whatsoever.

PIP is especially important if you do not have medical insurance to help pay for your medical bills.

Medical bills from an accident can include:

  • The cost of an ambulance
  • Bills from the hospital
  • Bills from the doctors at the hospital
  • Medications
  • Tests
  • Follow-up appointments
  • Physical therapy that can last for months or even years

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Even with medical insurance, PIP coverage will give you another layer of protection.

If medical bills go unpaid, then eventually they will ruin your credit. Furthermore, without follow-up care after an accident, you could have injuries that affect you for the rest of your life.

PIP car insurance will help to ensure that injuries from an accident will be taken care of as best as possible.

It is critical to ensure that you have enough PIP coverage to cover many tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Car insurance is meant to make you whole after an accident; PIP insurance helps to make sure that you will be made as whole as possible in terms of your injuries.

PIP insurance will pay your bills directly to your creditors. It can work in conjunction with your medical insurance as well; possibly bypassing the need to pay any copayments that you may be responsible for with your medical insurance.

Consider This Scenario

You hydroplane on a rainy highway and crash into a telephone pole. There is no other driver who is liable for your damages. Your collision insurance will pay to fix the damage to your vehicle, and your liability insurance will pay to fix the damage to the telephone pole.

Your injuries are pretty serious, and you are rushed to the hospital by ambulance. At the hospital, you are treated at the Emergency Room, and there are extensive tests run to ensure that you have no head, neck, or back injuries. They keep you in the hospital for three days.

All of your hospital and ambulance bills total $50,000; your PIP insurance covers $15,000 and your medical insurance covers the rest.

Because of the PIP insurance, you do not need to pay your health insurance’s $500 copayment for the Emergency Room or the $200 copayment for the ambulance.

PIP and Lost Wages

Another reason why you want to buy PIP car insurance is that some PIP coverage will pay to replace your lost wages after an accident.

Costs from an injury don’t just include medical bills. Most injuries can last from weeks to months, and most of that time you may not be able to work.

Without disability insurance, PIP may be the only source of income you have until you are well enough to get back to work.

While it won’t pay 100 percent of your wages, something is always better than nothing. Again, you need to ensure that you have enough coverage to pay for both your medical and lost wages.

Consider This Scenario

You are in an accident where your vehicle is impacted on the driver’s side. The other driver’s insurance covers your medical bills and the damages to your car, but you have a severe injury that will take months to fully heal.

Your doctor has put you on bed rest for two months, and you can’t go back to work until the doctor releases you to work.

Your PIP insurance can pay for your lost wages, if that is a part of your coverage; you do not need to worry about how you will pay bills such as your mortgage or feed your family while you are getting better.

Recent studies have just begun to show how stress can negatively affect physical recovery. With PIP insurance, you won’t have to worry about anything except getting well.

Protecting Your Passengers

Another benefit of Personal Injury Protection is that it can also pay for your passengers’ medical bills, which is very important, since you and your insurance are responsible for paying for your passenger’s medical bills if an accident is your fault.

You also can’t control the health insurance coverage of your passengers. You can ensure that you have health insurance coverage, but you can’t make sure that your passengers have health insurance coverage.

PIP coverage will cover those in your vehicle who can’t pay for their own medical care.

Consider This Scenario

You are driving members of your child’s soccer team to practice when you are in a fender-bender. As a precaution, all of the children are taken to the hospital.

With PIP insurance, you do not need to worry about insurance coverage for any of the children you were carrying in your vehicle.

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PIP for Pedestrians

Another important feature of PIP insurance that makes it a worthy coverage to have is that it will also cover you as a pedestrian. If you are walking, and you are hit by a car, then your PIP insurance will also pay for your medical payments.

For instance, if you are walking on the sidewalk, and you are hit by a vehicle that drives off, there is no driver to charge to take care of your medical bills.

While such hit-and-run drivers are likely to be caught, they are also expected to have issues such as no insurance or drunk driving, which caused them to drive off in the first place.

A hit-and-run driver will be looking at serious jail time, so there is little chance for restitution in such a case. Your PIP car insurance will cover your injuries, up to your coverage amounts.

Again, such coverage can be used in conjunction with additional coverage types such as health insurance and accident insurance.

Furthermore, Personal Injury Protection can also possibly pay for funeral costs as a result of a car accident.

Make sure to review your PIP coverage to make sure that you have enough to pay medical bills of multiple people so that there is no doubt about coverage.

You will also want to ensure that you understand what your PIP insurance will cover in the event of an accident. Even if PIP insurance is not a requirement in your state, it is a smart form of car insurance to have.

Looking for better and more affordable auto insurance? Enter your ZIP code below and start comparison shopping today!