If you have purchased car insurance in Pennsylvania, you have likely been asked to confirm coverage levels for a number of different types of coverage — including personal injury protection, or PIP. In Pennsylvania, all drivers are required to have PIP coverage.
Personal Injury Protection coverage is considered a first party benefit. This means that you receive compensation directly from your own insurance company if you are involved in a car accident. In contrast, third-party benefits are those that are paid to injured parties by the other driver’s insurance company.
While PIP plays an important role in the Pennsylvania personal injury system, it is far from complete coverage. As a Philadelphia car accident attorney can explain, the relatively low limits of PIP mean that in many cases, it is insufficient to cover the full amount of your damages.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
PIP is a type of insurance coverage that is required on every insurance policy issued in Pennsylvania, except for motorcycle insurance policy. It covers a number of items, such as medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses in the event of death.
As discussed above, Personal Injury Protection is intended to be used as a first party benefit. In this way, it ensures that a person injured in a car accident can receive treatment for his or her injuries, as well as coverage for other expenses.
Pennsylvania is a “no fault” state when it comes to accidents. This does not mean that you cannot sue another driver who causes a car accident. Instead, as a Philadelphia car accident attorney can explain, it means that you can access PIP benefits if you are injured in a car accident, without regard to fault. Even if you are at fault for an accident, you will still be covered under your PIP policy.
Importantly, using your PIP will not affect your premium. Your car insurance rates will not increase because you have made a PIP claim. Your insurance company may decide to increase rates based on claims paid out in your state or area, but it cannot raise your individual rates simply because you filed a PIP claim.
What Is Minimum PIP Coverage in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, drivers must have a certain amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage. It is against the law to operate your vehicle in Pennsylvania without PIP and other types of insurance coverage. If the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (or as it is more commonly referred to, PennDOT) learns that you have driven your vehicle without Personal Injury Protection, then your driver’s license, vehicle license plate, and registration could all be suspended. This would render you unable to drive until you have served the period of suspension, paid fees, and proof of insurance.
In Pennsylvania, minimum auto insurance PIP coverage is as follows:
- $5,000 medical benefits;
- $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident bodily injury liability; and
- $5,000 property damage.
Of course, these amounts are just the minimum coverage amount. Individuals may purchase higher coverage limits to meet their needs, and can talk directly to their insurance agent about the policy limits that best suit their needs.
How Does PIP Coverage Work?
The concept of Personal Injury Protection can be confusing, particularly when another driver caused an accident. Shouldn’t the other driver be required to pay for your damages? In Pennsylvania, the answer is not quite as simple, because PIP provides an initial level of coverage.
According to an experienced Philadelphia car accident attorney, if you have PIP coverage, then the at-fault driver is not liable for your medical expenses or other losses until your PIP policy limits have been exhausted.
For example, if you have $5,000 in medical benefits (the minimum amount), the other driver will not be required to pay for your medical expenses until they exceed $5,000. After that point, your own health insurance will start paying your medical expenses, and the at-fault driver will be responsible for your damages.
If there are multiple occupants of a vehicle, each with their own PIP, coverage applies based on what is known as “priority of coverage.” First, your own coverage will apply first. Next, a relative’s policy will be used (if you are a member of their household). After that, the policy covering the car that you were riding in will cover you. And finally, if you were a pedestrian or a bike rider, the policy on any car involved in the accident will cover you.
However, there are some cases where Personal Injury Protection coverage will not apply. If you were driving or riding on a recreational vehicle, a motorcycle or other type of motorized cycle, you will have to use your private health insurance for your medical bills. A skilled Philadelphia car accident attorney can help you seek compensation for your injuries if another party was at fault for the collision.
When it comes to medical benefits, PIP works like medical insurance. Simply provide your car insurance information and claim number at the doctor’s office or hospital. They will bill your insurance company directly. Unlike with your health insurance, you won’t get billed for co-pays or deductibles.
Experience Matters: How a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Can Help
The rules surrounding insurance in Pennsylvania can be complicated. If you have been hurt in an accident, the last thing that you want to do is try to figure out what coverage you have and how you can get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. Solnick & Associates can take care of that for you.
For more than 30 years, our Philadelphia car accident attorneys have helped victims of car accidents recover for their losses. We stand by our clients’ side throughout the process. Contact us today at 877-415-6495 or anytime via our online portal. Initial consultations are always free.