Personal Injury Protection: What Is It, and Do You Need It?

Medical bills aren’t the only costs associated with crash-related injuries. PIP helps pay nonmedical expenses for you and your passengers.

Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content
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Ashley Cox
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Mark Friedlander
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Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
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  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

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Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

Updated June 12, 2024

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Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of car insurance coverage that can pay for both medical expenses and nonmedical expenses related to injuries you or your passengers suffer in a car accident. In addition to paying hospital and doctor bills, PIP can reimburse you for lost wages, child care costs, and even funeral expenses.

You may need to buy PIP if you live in a “no-fault” state — they typically require drivers to carry personal injury protection as part of basic car insurance coverage.[1] But you may also consider purchasing PIP if you don’t have health insurance or if you have a high-deductible health plan.

Quick Facts
  • A dozen states have no-fault insurance systems and require drivers to carry PIP.

  • Besides medical costs, PIP can pay for nonmedical expenses like child care.

  • You can always purchase more than the state-required minimum amount of car insurance, including PIP.

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What is personal injury protection?

Often called “no-fault insurance,” personal injury protection is a type of car insurance coverage that can either be part of a state’s minimum required insurance or an optional coverage, depending on where you live. If you have PIP, your insurance will pay for your accident-related medical expenses and certain other costs, regardless of who’s at fault in an accident. It’ll also pay the same costs for any passenger in your car who’s injured in a crash.

PIP may even help when you’re not driving. For example, in some states, your personal injury protection may pay your medical bills and other covered costs if a car hits you while you’re walking or riding a bicycle.

Learn More: How Much Does Insurance Increase After an Accident?

Learn More: How Much Does Insurance Increase After an Accident?

How personal injury protection works

Most states have “at-fault” car insurance systems. In these states, the at-fault driver is liable and their insurer pays for the bodily injury and property damage costs of the others involved. While car insurance premiums in at-fault states tend to be lower on average than in states with no-fault systems, the at-fault system has its pitfalls.

In at-fault states, if you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, any settlement you get may not be enough to cover all your costs. And your own insurance won’t pay for your damages or injuries, unless you have an add-on for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Liability insurance only pays for damages or injury you cause to others. And collision and comprehensive don’t pay for medical bills.

But if you have PIP coverage, your insurance company could pay your medical bills and other covered crash-related expenses — regardless of who caused the accident. You may also have the option to buy more than the minimum required amount of PIP coverage if you live in a no-fault state.

Important Information

Like every other type of car insurance, personal injury protection coverage has limits. Your PIP coverage will pay medical bills and other covered expenses up to your limit, which is usually a set dollar amount described in your policy's declarations page. PIP also usually has a deductible amount.

What personal injury protection covers

Specific PIP coverages vary from state to state, but you can generally expect your personal injury protection to pay for the following:

Medical expenses

If injuries you sustain in an accident require you to get medical treatment, PIP insurance can help pay for things like doctor and hospital visits, diagnostic tests, surgery, rehabilitation, and even transportation by ambulance.[2] [3] Keep in mind, though, that your auto insurance policy will only pay your medical bills up to your coverage limits.

Lost wages

If your accident-related injuries are serious enough to prevent you from working, PIP can compensate you for lost wages. The exact amount of compensation will depend on the state where you live. For example, in New York, PIP can pay 80% of lost wages, up to $2,000 per month, for as long as three years following an accident.[4]

Child care and household expenses

If your injuries leave you unable to take care of your home and family, PIP can provide some help to pay for things like child care and house cleaning. The amount varies depending on the state. For example, in Washington state, basic PIP can pay up to $200 per week ($5,000 total) for replacement services.

Funeral expenses and survivor benefits

If the worst happens and you or a passenger dies because of a covered auto accident, personal injury protection coverage can pay toward funeral expenses. Some states refer to this amount as a survivor benefit, and the sum varies depending on the state. In Delaware, for instance, the maximum amount is $5,000 per person. In New York, the “death benefit” is just $2,000 per person.

Keep Reading: Minimum Car Insurance Requirements by State

Keep Reading: Minimum Car Insurance Requirements by State

What personal injury protection doesn’t cover

PIP won’t pay for every nonmedical expense related to a car accident. Personal injury protection commonly excludes:

  • Damage to your vehicle or someone else’s property

  • Theft of a vehicle

  • Vehicle damage due to weather or vandalism

  • Medical expenses or other costs that exceed coverage limits

It’s worth noting that other coverages within your car insurance policy may pay for these costs. Liability coverage can pay for damage you cause to someone else’s car or property, while comprehensive coverage can pay to repair or replace your vehicle if someone vandalizes it.

How much PIP coverage should you buy?

If you live in a no-fault state, you’ll have to buy at least the minimum amount of PIP coverage your state’s insurance laws require. But in some situations, you may want to consider buying more than the state minimum. Or you may choose to buy PIP if it’s optional coverage rather than required.

You may want to buy PIP or increase your PIP coverage amounts if you don’t have health insurance or if you have a high-deductible health care plan. PIP could help bridge any financial gaps left by your health insurance. Keep in mind, though, that your health insurance may pay first for any covered injuries, in which case your PIP coverage is secondary.

You should also consider your ability to pay other nonmedical expenses related to an accident. For example, if you can’t afford to pay for child care while you recover from an accident-related injury, PIP coverage can come in handy.

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Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from June 12, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

How to find cheap personal injury protection coverage

While PIP coverage can increase your auto insurance costs, it’s still possible to find affordable car insurance that includes personal injury protection. Basic steps to follow include:

  • Determine how much PIP you need. Your state’s requirements and your own financial situation should guide you in deciding how much coverage you need to purchase.

  • Determine your other coverage needs. Most states require drivers to buy at least a minimum amount of liability coverage. But you may also want to purchase full-coverage car insurance, especially if you lease or finance your vehicle.

  • Look into discounts you might qualify for. Many insurers offer discounts that can help reduce the cost of car insurance. You may qualify for a discount for buying your car and home insurance from the same company or for having a good driving record.

  • Compare quotes from multiple insurers. Comparison shopping is the best way to find an affordable policy that meets your needs. Get quotes from multiple insurance companies to find the one that’s best for you. A licensed insurance professional can advise you on coverage decisions.

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States that require personal injury protection coverage

Car insurance requirements vary by state, but no-fault states typically require PIP as part of basic coverage. Here are the states that require drivers to carry personal injury protection and their minimum required coverages:

StateMinimum Required PIP Coverage
Delaware
  • $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident in personal injury protection
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
Florida
  • $10,000 in personal injury protection
  • $10,000 per accident in property damage liability protection 
Hawaii
  • $10,000 in personal injury protection
  • $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage 
Kansas
  • Personal injury protection including: $4,500 per person for medical expenses, $900/month for one year for disability, $25/day for in-home services, $2,000 for final expenses, $4,500 for rehabilitation expenses
  • Survivor benefits ($900/month for one year of lost income plus $25/day for in-home services)
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage 
Massachusetts
  • $8,000 in personal injury protection per person, per accident
  • $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $5,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
  • $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage 
Michigan
  • $250,000 in personal injury protection (Medicaid and Medicare recipients may qualify for lower limits)
  • $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident bodily injury liability coverage
  • $10,000 property damage liability protection outside Michigan and $1 million within Michigan 
Minnesota
  • $40,000 in personal injury protection ($20,000 for medical expenses, and $20,000 for non-medical expenses)
  • $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage 
New Jersey
  • $15,000 in personal injury protection
  • $5,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage 
New York
  • $50,000 personal injury protection
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $10,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
  • $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident in liability for death
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage 
North Dakota
  • $30,000 in personal injury protection
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage 
Oregon
  • $15,000 in personal injury protection
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $20,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
  • $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage
Utah
  • $3,000 in personal injury protection
  • $25,000 per person and $65,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage
  • $15,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage 

States where PIP is an optional coverage

A handful of other states require insurers to offer personal injury protection as an optional coverage, but drivers don’t have to buy it. Drivers who do opt in for PIP, however, may need to buy at least their state’s minimum amount of it.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/9a822730bf/states_arkansas.svg

    Arkansas

    In the Bear State, PIP is optional. The state requires insurers to offer PIP, but drivers can decline the coverage.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/4efaad9f1e/states_kentucky.svg

    Kentucky

    Although Kentucky technically requires $10,000 of PIP, drivers can opt out of the coverage by submitting a special form to the state’s Department of Insurance. 

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/3ee7c71fef/states_maryland.svg

    Maryland

    Drivers in the Old Line State can opt out of buying PIP, but if they do purchase it, the minimum required amount is $2,500.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/3420c7361a/states_south-dakota.svg

    South Dakota

    Drivers can choose to buy PIP, but it’s not required.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/97b10cdbc5/states_texas.svg

    Texas

    All car insurance policies in Texas include PIP by default, but drivers can opt out of buying it. You’ll need to notify your insurance company in writing if you don’t want PIP in Texas.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/a0a8ec19ab/states_washington.svg

    Washington

    The state requires insurance companies to offer personal injury protection, but drivers don’t have to buy it. To decline PIP coverage in Washington, drivers must notify their insurer in writing. Otherwise, the insurer will add it to the policy.

Cost comparison: At-fault vs. no-fault states

Car insurance premiums can vary widely based on a number of factors, including the state where you live and its insurance requirements. The following table shows overall average monthly car insurance quotes by state, comparing at-fault and no-fault states, and those where PIP coverage is optional.

StateAverage Monthly QuoteAt-Fault or No-Fault State?
Alabama$183At-fault
Alaska$141At-fault
Arizona$220At-fault
Arkansas$213PIP optional
California$203At-fault
Colorado$220At-fault
Connecticut$281At-fault
Delaware$311No-fault (PIP required)
Florida$405No-fault (PIP required)
Georgia$293At-fault
Hawaii$103No-fault (PIP required)
Idaho$140At-fault
Illinois$161At-fault
Indiana$137At-fault
Iowa$151At-fault
Kansas$177No-fault (PIP required)
Kentucky$279PIP optional
Louisiana$368At-fault
Maine$139At-fault
Maryland$304PIP optional
Massachusetts$168No-fault (PIP required)
Michigan$353No-fault (PIP required)
Minnesota$171No-fault (PIP required)
Mississippi$195At-fault
Missouri$233At-fault
Montana$146At-fault
Nebraska$184At-fault
Nevada$355At-fault
New Hampshire$95At-fault
New Jersey$286No-fault (PIP required)
New Mexico$149At-fault
New York$457No-fault (PIP required)
North Carolina$97At-fault
North Dakota$143No-fault (PIP required)
Ohio$150At-fault
Oklahoma$197At-fault
Oregon$203No-fault (PIP required)
Pennsylvania$183At-fault
Rhode Island$272At-fault
South Carolina$260At-fault
South Dakota$183PIP optional
Tennessee$159At-fault
Texas$247PIP optional
Utah$181No-fault (PIP required)
Vermont$141At-fault
Virginia$191At-fault
Washington$194PIP optional
Washington, D.C.$289PIP optional
West Virginia$190At-fault
Wisconsin$165At-fault
Wyoming$141At-fault
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Because so many factors affect the cost of car insurance, it’s impossible to say for certain that your car insurance premiums will be higher if you live in a no-fault state. But it’s worth noting that in the table above, five of the 10 states with the highest average quotes are no-fault states that require personal injury protection insurance, and two others require car insurance companies to offer PIP as an optional coverage.

PIP compared to other types of insurance coverage

By now, you may realize that PIP coverage can overlap with other types of insurance coverage, including health insurance. Here’s how personal injury protection compares with other types of car insurance coverages.

PIP vs. bodily injury liability

While both types of coverage can pay for medical bills, they differ in whose bills each pays. Your auto insurance policy’s bodily injury liability coverage can pay for the medical expenses of the other driver and their passengers if you cause an accident. Your personal injury protection coverage will only pay crash-related medical costs for you and your passengers, regardless of who caused the accident.

Keep in Mind

Washington, D.C., and every state except New Hampshire requires a minimum amount of liability coverage, which pays for injuries or damages to other parties involved in an accident you cause.

PIP vs. medical payments coverage

Both types of coverage can pay for medical care related to a motor vehicle accident. But while PIP can also pay for nonmedical costs, like child care or household care, medical payments coverage (also called MedPay) only applies to medical costs. MedPay may also have other limitations, such as a time limit on payable medical expenses.[5]

PIP vs. full-coverage car insurance

Full-coverage car insurance generally includes collision and comprehensive coverages in addition to your state’s required minimum amount of liability insurance. Both collision and comprehensive cover your vehicle, but not the people within it. Personal injury protection pays to help care for the people in your car who are injured in an accident.

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Personal injury protection FAQs

Whether your state requires you to buy personal injury protection or it’s available as an option where you live, it’s important to understand how PIP works and what it protects. Here are answers to some additional questions you may have about PIP.

  • What states require PIP?

    Twelve states require drivers to buy personal injury protection coverage: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah.

  • What’s the difference between PIP and medical payments coverage?

    Medical payments coverage (MedPay) only pays for medical costs, while personal injury protection has additional benefits. PIP can also cover nonmedical accident-related costs, like lost wages, child care, household care, and funeral expenses.

  • Do you need PIP if you have health insurance?

    If you live in a state that requires PIP, you’ll have to buy the coverage even if you have health insurance. And if you do have health insurance, PIP can help pay for costs that your health insurance might not cover.

  • How do you file a PIP claim?

    Filing a car insurance claim is a fairly standardized process. You’ll need to contact your own insurance company or agent to initiate a claim and follow their instructions for the claims process. You may be able to file your claim by phone, online, mobile app, or in person with an agent or claims representative.

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "Background on: No-fault auto insurance."
  2. Direct Auto Insurance. "Explaining Personal Injury Protection."
  3. Allstate. "Personal injury protection (PIP) Coverage (AKA no-fault insurance)."
  4. New York State Department of Financial Services. "Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements Coverage."
  5. Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel. "Understanding PIP vs Med-Pay."
Evelyn Pimplaskar
Evelyn PimplaskarEditor-in-Chief, Director of Content

Evelyn Pimplaskar is Insurify’s director of content. With 30-plus years in content creation – including 10 years specializing in personal finance – Evelyn’s done everything from covering volatile local elections as a beat reporter to building fintech content libraries from the ground up.

Before joining Insurify, she was editor-in-chief at Credible, where she launched and developed the lending marketplace’s media partnership’s content initiative and managed the restructuring of the editorial team to enhance content production efficiency. Formerly, as tax editor for Credit Karma, Evelyn built a library of more than 300 educational articles on federal and state taxes, achieving triple-digit year-over-year growth in e-files from organic search.

Her early career included work as a content marketer, vice president and managing officer of a boutique public relations agency, chief copy editor for 14 weekly Forbes publications, reporting for large and mid-sized daily newspapers, and freelancing for the Associated Press.

Evelyn is passionate about creating personal finance content that distills complex topics into relatable, easy-to-understand stories. She believes great content helps empower readers with the information they need to make important personal finance decisions.

Ashley Cox
Edited byAshley CoxSenior Managing Editor
Headshot of Managing Editor Ashley Cox
Ashley CoxSenior Managing Editor
  • 7+ years in content creation and management

  • 5+ years in insurance and personal finance content

Ashley is a seasoned personal finance editor who’s produced a variety of digital content, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, and consumer lending products.

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

Konstantin Halachev
Data reviewed byKonstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
Headshot of Konstantin Halachev, VP of Engineering at Insurify
Konstantin HalachevVP of Engineering & Data Science
  • 7+ years experience in data analysis

  • Ph.D. in Computational Biology

Konstantin has led data teams across multiple industries, including insurance, travel, and biology. He’s led Insurify’s engineering team for more than three years.

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