Most drivers have heard of “PIP” or Personal Injury Protection insurance, but many aren’t exactly sure what to make of it. Do we, as drivers, need it? Is it mandated by law? What does it cover in the event I become injured in an accident?
These are all great questions, and unfortunately, many less-than-qualified lawyers that handle car accident cases on a daily basis fail to recognize the importance of this type of insurance policy. Within this article we’ll make sure our readers become well informed and well acquainted with Personal Injury Protection (which we’ll refer to as “PIP”) and why they may be putting themselves at-risk should they choose not to carry it on their policy.
First, it’s important to understand that “PIP” is considered “no-fault” coverage due to its inherent nature of paying for claims regardless of whether or not the motorist was at-fault in the accident. However, we must not overlook the fact that it’s not as simple as calling up the insurance company and providing proof of an accident. Certain stipulations must be adhered to in order for “PIP” to cover the accident in question.
Next, we’ll provide the top three (3) things that make Personal Injury Protection so important.
1. How does Personal Injury Protection coverage work?
For the most part, this answer can be summed up simply: PIP coverage allows anyone covered by such a policy to file their own PIP claim with their insurance carrier (as opposed to the other party’s insurance carrier). Then, each driver involved the accident’s own insurer will pay their insured’s damages up to what’s allowable in the state they reside. When bodily injury expenses are in excess of that amount, the injured party can then proceed to file a lawsuit directly against the other driver said to have caused the accident.
2. What does “PIP” cover? What doesn’t it cover?
When a driver adds Personal Injury Protection to their existing insurance policy or to a new policy they’re signing up for, they add it with the knowledge that it covers medical bills and lost wages. What drivers aren’t always made aware of, is that in certain circumstances PIP may cover transportation needed for medical appointments should the accident victim be unable to driver or does not have a car due to the accident. It even goes as far as covering property damage such as law repair if the accident caused destruction of personal property.
In theory, PIP covers every reasonable medical and lost wages-related expense directly caused by the action. The catch (which isn’t so much a catch)? There’s a specified time frame to file a claim directly with your insurance carrier in order to be compensated for any injuries and lost wages sustained.
3. Does the state of Florida require it? Where else is PIP insurance mandatory?
Yes, Florida law requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection along with their car insurance policy regardless of whether they want it or not. This is in the best interest of the driver and everyone else on the road, and an excellent way to protect drivers in the event that an accident does occur. The safest drivers are the ones who know that protecting themselves is just another way to stay safe. PIP insurance is currently required by law in 12 other states as well: The District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah.
Oft forgotten factors
PIP insurance doesn’t necessarily mean the insured’s premiums won’t rise after an accident. Premiums are based on a wide array of different factors and the specifics of the accident. It’s important to seek experienced legal advice after a motor vehicle accident in order to be properly compensated as quickly as possible.
To wrap up this article, let’s look at examples of what drivers may not know affects their premium:
- Is PIP mandatory in the state the accident occurred/in which the driver lives?
- What’s the motorist’s driving record?
- The age and gender of the driver (new drivers often have higher premiums even without ever getting into an automobile accident)
In our next article, we’ll further explore PIP insurance and it’s counterpart, Medical Payments Coverage. This coverage, for some drivers, is thought to take the place of PIP insurance; however this is a common misconception that we will seek to explain in-depth to better inform our readers of the best ways to protect themselves on the road.