Personal Injury Protection 101

The following is a guest post from Neil Richardson, an advisor for The Zebra, the nation’s largest car insurance comparison marketplace.

When it comes to car insurance, most people are familiar with coverage for injury and damage that you might cause to someone else (liability), and also damage to your vehicle (commonly, comprehensive + collision = ”full coverage”). However, there is another important aspect to car insurance that drivers need to know about as well: Injury coverage for you and your passengers.

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Commonly referred to as PIP for brevity’s sake, personal injury protection covers medical bills resulting from injuries that you or your passengers suffer in the event of a crash, regardless of fault. Since PIP coverage amounts vary by state and situation, you will want to ask your agent which options are available to you. If PIP isn’t available in your state, then you’ll likely have the option to choose Medical Payments coverage.

Both PIP and Medical Payments coverage are similar, though PIP typically provides a much broader spectrum of coverage. Whereas Medical Payments covers only medical bills for you and your passengers, PIP will often extend to cover additional things like work loss, funeral expenses and essential services, and even death benefit in some cases.

You should especially consider carrying PIP or additional medical on your policy if:

  • You are someone who drives often with passengers since you could potentially be held liable for their injuries from an at-fault accident. Even if your passengers don’t want to file a lawsuit against you for their medical bills, having this additional coverage on your policy will provide a major benefit to anyone riding in your vehicle.
  • You don’t have health insurance or if you have an extremely high deductible on your health plan. In emergency situations, your auto insurance will kick in immediately to provide medical coverage (assuming you have it added to your policy) rather than having to worry about covering the deductible on your health insurance.

If you live in a state that requires PIP, then you will have the minimum amount of coverage included on your policy. However, in most cases, you can also increase this limit to better protect yourself (much like you can with other coverage options). As with anything concerning auto insurance, if you aren’t sure of your options you should always ask your agent for clarification. Ultimately, your safest bet is to carry as much coverage as you can afford, and PIP is something you should strongly consider adding if you don’t already have it included on your policy.

Editor’s Note: Metromile offers this coverage for all policies, so if you’d like to add this protection, you can do so when choosing coverage levels in your insurance quote. If you are a current customer and would like to add this coverage, just give our customer support team a call (888-244-1702) and we’ll take care of everything for you.