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     Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

     

    Personal Injury Protection (PIP)


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    Personal Injury Protection insurance can be a real headache, but it doesn't have to be. You may not have a choice, as PIP insurance is mandatory in many states. So take a minute to wrap your brain around this basic guide to Personal Injury Protection.

    What is Personal Injury Protection?

    Personal Injury Protection is a form of car insurance that is designed to compensate for an injured person's bills, specifically things like medical bills and fees incurred as a result of a car accident. Personal Injury Protection (also called PIP) sometimes will also cover things like a person's lost wages due to their inability to work as a result of a car accident, and any other damages associated with an automobile accident. A lot of Personal Injury Protection policies even compensate for funeral costs as well as pain and suffering. The great thing about PIP is that it is "no-fault" insurance coverage. This means it covers not only the person who is insured but also other people in the insured party's vehicle at the time of the accident, as well as any people hit by the insured person's vehicle. It is designed to pay out to an injured person regardless of who caused the accident or which driver owns policy with that coverage. Another good thing about Personal Injury Protection being no-fault is that the person owning the Personal Injury Protection will not have their insurance premiums increased should they need to file a Personal Injury Protection claim. Personal Injury Protection is only available in some states. But a lot of the states that do not offer PIP do offer Auto Medical Payments coverage (also called AMP). Some states have both PIP and AMP.

    Health Insurance and Personal Injury Protection

    It can be tricky sometimes to figure out if you should have both Personal Injury Protection and health insurance, or if health insurance is enough. A lot of times health insurance companies find ways to squirm out of paying for things that you think they should pay for. It really depends on what your current health insurance will cover, and more importantly, whether or not you trust your insurance company. Sometimes a person who already has some form of health insurance policy can still benefit from medical insurance coverage and/or PIP. Here's why. Your health insurance plan might refuse to cover certain injuries if they happened in a car accident. One reason for this is because it is against the law to drive a car without a certain minimum amount of auto insurance coverage, and some states do require medical insurance coverage and/or Personal Injury Protection coverage. This is just one of the many things that your health insurance company could use as grounds to deny coverage for your auto accident. Talk to your insurance company and ask them what they would cover if you happened to accidentally run someone over with your car. Hopefully this will never happen to you, but the purpose of insurance is to protect you in case the unthinkable should happen. Make sure that your insurance company has a clearly defined method for dealing with auto accidents, and make them explain it to you in a way you can understand. If something really bad happens and your insurance refuses coverage, you're really up a creek. Even if your personal health insurance policy does pay for your injuries should you be involved in a car accident, they may not pay for injuries to other people even in your own vehicle. If your medical or health insurance will not extend its coverage to other people, you really should also have PIP insurance. If your state does not legally require you to have PIP, your insurance company may still be legally required to offer it to you anyway. If this is the case, make sure you have refused the PIP coverage in writing, or you may get stuck paying for PIP anyway.

    Limitations of PIP

    PIP and/or AMP compensation limits can be anywhere from $1,500 to $250,000. This depends on the state in which the injury occurred as well as the type of injury. Each plan is different, so make sure your PIP covers a decent amount. There are some injuries that Personal Injury Protection will not cover. Usually injuries resulting from accidents involving things like motorbikes, mopeds and motorcycles, although PIP coverage is usually available on most actual motorcycle insurance policies. PIP does not cover injuries and accidents involving farm vehicles or other farm equipment as well as off-road or other "recreational vehicles." PIP may also not cover injuries if the insured person is committing a felony when the injury occurred, and obviously PIP does not cover if someone injures themselves on purpose. Again, make sure your PIP policy has clear, well-defined limitations presented in a manner in which you can easily understand.

    States Requiring Personal Injury Protection

    The following states require PIP coverage:

    • Colorado
    • Delaware
    • Florida
    • Hawaii
    • Kansas
    • Kentucky
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Michigan
    • Minnesota
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • North Dakota
    • Oregon
    • Utah

    These states all currently require all registered drivers to carry up-to-date Personal Injury Protection coverage. If you are moving to one of these states that requires PIP and you wish to drive a car, you will need to find out the state's predetermined minimum coverage amount and carry a Personal Injury Protection policy that covers that amount or more. If your state doesn't require PIP by law, you may still wish to carry it just to be safe. It's up to you. Whatever you do, make sure you do some research before deciding which Personal Injury Protection coverage is right for you. If you don't have PIP, at least make sure you drive really carefully all the time everywhere. But really everyone should be doing this anyway. If you're carrying PIP, at least you know you're covered in case the unthinkable should happen.

     

    
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