Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Mar 25, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) can give you peace of mind that not only are your medical expenses covered, but wages, childcare, funeral costs, and even household services may be covered as well
  • In some no-fault states, PIP is a legal requirement
  • It’s a good rule of thumb to have both health insurance and PIP because the combination can help you avoid paying your PIP deductibles

Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is a popular form of car insurance that may or may not be required in your state. PIP is typically required in no-fault states where drivers are required to use their own coverage to pay for medical expenses after an accident.

However, even if PIP is not required in your state, it’s often advised for peace of mind to cover costly expenses resulting in lost wages or medical issues after an accident. 

What does PIP cover?

PIP insurance covers medical expenses, loss of income if you need to take time off work, funeral expenses, childcare expenses, survivors’ loss, and even household services such as cleaning or lawn care. 

What is covered will depend on your insurance company and the state laws that apply to you. Often, coverage beyond basic medical care is considered an optional extra to add to your policy. This gives you more flexibility over the cost and coverage you need. 

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How much does PIP insurance cost?

Like with any type of insurance, the costs can vary a lot. You may be able to add PIP coverage to your existing policy for a small extra fee each month. The cost is down to a combination of factors including the insurance company, your state requirements, your personal choices, and any deductibles you wish to add.  

According to the CDC, the average cost of care after a car accident is $12,270, so it’s a good idea to get enough insurance to cover roughly that amount. However, bear in mind that you may also want your PIP to cover other things such as lost wages should you need time off work. That’s why some people choose a policy with much higher coverage just to be safe.

Do you need PIP if you have health insurance?

This can depend on whether or not PIP is required in your state of residence. If it is, then yes you will need to take out PIP even if you have health insurance in place. If not, then while it’s not a requirement, it’s often still a good idea to get it.

Here are some differences between PIP and health insurance:

  • PIP is required in some states, can cover non-medical expenses, and deductibles may apply.
  • Health insurance only covers medical expenses and is not limited to covering medical expenses only caused by car accidents.

The benefit of combining both PIP and health insurance is that you can get full coverage on all your medical and non-medical expenses if you get into an accident. There’s no need to determine fault and you may be able to avoid paying out on deductibles if you use your health insurance for some medical expenses. 

How does PIP relate to no-fault insurance?

No-fault insurance is a car insurance law that requires drivers to use their own insurance to pay for medical expenses. It is required in these states:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Oregon
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington

However, in Kentucky, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, customers can opt-out of the no-fault system and reject PIP insurance coverage. In the remaining states, the rules vary. Sometimes PIP is required, sometimes it’s optional. 

The benefit of no-fault insurance is that it covers medical claims quickly after an accident, regardless of whose fault it was. 

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Should I get PIP insurance?

The question is, do you really need PIP car insurance? That decision is made easy for you if you’re currently in a state that requires no-fault coverage and personal injury protection. But for those where it’s optional, it can be a tough decision if you’re trying to find a low rate.

While you may not legally need it if you don’t reside in a no-fault state, having PIP insurance can offer peace of mind that you will not be out of pocket if you get into an accident.

With the knowledge that your wages, childcare, and medical expenses will be covered after an accident, some people believe PIP insurance is a no-brainer. However, with additional coverage comes additional costs which is something to factor into your decision.

The best thing to do is compare car insurance quotes with PIP and without to see what your rates will be. That way, you can make a well-informed decision.