What Is Personal Injury Protection Coverage?
After an accident, drivers rely on their insurance coverages to pay for damages associated with the collision. In some cases, the costs of an accident exceed the insurance cap set by a driver’s insurance carrier. After a driver reaches this limit, personal injury protection (PIP) helps cover the remaining costs. PIP is an additional form of insurance that covers drivers in both no-fault and fault-based states.
What Does PIP Cover?
Personal injury protection reflects many of the same coverages an individual might claim when filing a personal injury lawsuit excepting emotional damages. Additionally, PIP covers all passengers involved in an accident with a driver. This additional form of coverage provides compensation for:
- Medical expenses – PIP covers services like medical examination, surgery, dental treatment, vision examination and treatment, emergency services, home nursing aid, prescription medication, and medical equipment.
- Lost wages – PIP covers lost wages caused by missing work while recovering from an accident.
- Wrongful death – This additional protection can help offset the costs of funeral and burial services after an accident.
- Substitute services – Substitute services include different forms of in-home aid for individuals who cannot physically complete household tasks, like keeping up with chores or providing childcare.
No-Fault vs. Fault-Based States
Personal injury protection plays different roles depending on the state’s fault designation. No-fault states do not require at-fault drivers to pay damages to the other party. In these states, each party’s own insurance company pays for their own vehicular and bodily damage. No-fault states require all registered drivers to purchase their minimum amount of insurance and PIP. This is because each individual covers their own accident-related expenses. In some cases, PIP is necessary to prevent the driver from having to pay for costs out-of-pocket.
Fault-based states require at-fault drivers to utilize their liability insurance when covering the other driver’s injuries and property damage. In fault-based states like California, personal injury protection is not mandatory. However, it is available to all drivers as an additive form of insurance. PIP is useful in helping at-fault drivers cover their own medical costs and supplementing liability insurance when covering the injured driver.
What Is Medpay?
Medpay, or medical payment coverage, is an additional form of insurance also offered through your car insurance. It only covers the owner of the vehicle, as opposed to PIP which covers all passengers. Medpay helps cover medical costs after an accident, offering two different tiers for clients to choose from:
- Primary coverage is the more expensive tier because its coverage is more extensive. Primary coverage works solely through your auto insurance policy.
- Secondary coverage is less expensive but requires you to have preexisting health insurance. Secondary coverage is truly supplemental in that it only covers the services that your health insurance does not.
Medpay generally establishes a cap of around $25,000, making it a great supplemental health insurance.
When Do I Need Medpay?
Medpay is useful when covering costs, like copays or additional services, that your health insurance doesn’t cover. It also helps when encountering uninsured motorists with inadequate liability coverage and in situations where the other driver’s insurance does not immediately pay off your medical bills.
What Does Medpay Cover?
Medpay is an extension of health care coverage, so the benefits associated with this insurance are medical-based. Medpay covers:
- Immediate medical expenses, including emergency care, surgery, and treatment
- Recurring medical expenses, including prescription medication and physical therapy
- Co-pays associated with medical testing and examination
Personal injury protection is not a mandatory form of insurance in California. However, it might benefit some drivers to purchase PIP through their auto insurance carrier. PIP covers more in damages than other options, like Medpay, but drivers who only require additional healthcare coverage on top of their base insurance plans benefit from service just as well.
If you are involved in a car accident in San Diego, contact a local car accident attorney to get help. We can answer any questions you may have regarding fault and damages.