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personal injury protection (PIP) coverage

Personal injury protection is a complex coverage available (or required) in certain states. In general, PIP can help pay for post-accident medical expenses regardless of who caused the crash.

Quick coverage facts

  • Pays for an insured's medical expenses regardless of fault
  • Only applies to medical expenses, not property damage
  • May be required or available as a policy add-on

What personal injury protection covers

PIP offers vital protection from costly medical expenses after an accident. Because it's such an important coverage, check the specifics of your health insurance plan and work-loss coverage, if you have these, to determine how much PIP coverage to add to your car insurance policy. Check to see how your health plan, in particular, handles expenses after a car accident.

Personal injury protection coverage is available only in certain states. Though the specifics can vary greatly by state, PIP generally covers you, drivers listed on your policy, and your passengers.

In case of an accident-related injury, personal injury protection can cover:

  • Medical expenses: medical and surgical treatment, dental and optometric treatment, ambulance and nursing services, medication, medical supplies, and prosthetic devices
  • Lost wages (in some cases): if you or your passengers are unable to work due to accident-related injuries, PIP can help you recover lost wages
  • Substitute services (in some cases): if accident-related injuries keep you or those covered from performing household tasks, like cleaning, PIP helps pay for substitute services, like a cleaning crew
  • Funeral expenses (in some cases): if accident-related injuries result in death, PIP can help pay for funeral expenses

Setting the limits of your personal injury protection

If you and family members in your household already have health insurance with excellent post-accident benefits, the lowest legally required PIP limits may be sufficient. If you'd like the additional protection that PIP can provide, like lost wages and substitute services expenses, you can always increase your limits to meet your specific needs.

On the other hand, if you and your family members don't have health insurance or have a plan that doesn't offer all the benefits of PIP, it might be in your best interest to get as much PIP coverage as you can comfortably afford. Consider the financial impact of an injury-causing car accident when deciding on your PIP limits.

How personal injury protection differs from bodily injury liability

Even where PIP is required, drivers still need to have bodily injury liability on their car insurance policies.

Generally speaking, liability coverage only kicks in if another driver successfully sues for damages or certain state-defined damage thresholds are exceeded. PIP is for you and your passengers; liability is for damages you cause.

Adding or adjusting your PIP coverage

If you're an Esurance customer, you can adjust your PIP limits by logging into your account or by giving us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Given the complicated nature of this coverage, the expert, human touch can come in handy.

If you're in the market for a new car insurance policy, you can start your free quote here.

Related links

Find out if your state requires PIP
Browse through our state insurance fact sheets for essential coverage info (plus a little trivia for good measure).

An overview of medical car insurance coverages
Find out more about the other coverages that can help pay for health care after an accident.

Bodily injury liability coverage
Read up on the other required medical coverage in no-fault states.

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