Insurance coverage can be a complicated discussion. Certainly, you want to purchase all the state-mandatory coverages with the mandatory minimums. However, there are other coverages that may prove beneficial as well. Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) mandatory in California? More importantly, who or what does it cover?
What Is Personal Injury Protection?
In no-fault states, personal injury protection exists to help pay for your medical expenses immediately after an accident regardless of whether it was your fault. Thus, the no-fault designator PIP sometimes carries. In no-fault states, PIP can help you pay your health insurance deductible, expenses that exceed your health insurance allowances, or even funeral expenses. In some states, PIP coverage can also pay for lost wages as a result of the accident and even child care services.
In no-fault states, PIP often has a minimum coverage amount, though you may purchase more. It is often a good idea to purchase more to ensure your medical bills are fully paid in the event of an accident. In addition, PIP would help cover passengers’ bills as well.
PIP does not cover damages to your vehicle or others involved, regardless of fault. In addition, PIP does not cover damages to other property. Collision and comprehensive coverages cover these expenses, respectively, though the state does not mandate them.
Generally speaking, no-fault states designed PIP to preclude drivers from using other drivers for damages as a result of car accidents. The aim was to reduce the number of personal injury cases in court as well as limit the monetary value of damages awarded. There are 13 no-fault states that make it mandatory to purchase PIP.
California Is a Fault State
When it comes to insurance, California is what is referred to as a fault state. This means that no-fault insurance, or personal injury protection, is not mandatory. The only insurance requirements are as follows:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Property Damage Liability Coverage – minimum of $5,000
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage – same as Liability Coverage
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage – minimum of $3,500
These coverages will compensate others for physical and property damage you cause, in the case of liability coverage, and compensate you for damages caused by uninsured drivers. Comprehensive, collision and PIP coverage are not mandatory in California. However, forms of each type of coverage are available for voluntary purchase and many California residents choose to purchase one or all.
PIP in California
Although PIP coverage is not mandatory in California, a form of PIP still exists in the state. PIP, or med-pay, is available for optional purchase. Depending on your insurance provider, your PIP coverage may also extend to your vehicle when driven out of state.
You may want to consider taking out PIP insurance if you:
- Don’t want to wait for a personal injury claim settlement – PIP often pays out much faster than claims processes.
- Want insurance to pay regardless of fault – even if the accident is your fault, PIP will still pay for your own and passengers’ medical expenses.
- Want payment in case you lose your personal injury case – even if your case is not successful, PIP will still pay for your medical bills up to the coverage limit.
- Are hit by an uninsured driver – although uninsured motorist coverage also addresses this need, PIP is often quicker and easier to use than uninsured motorist coverage. In addition, the limits are often higher.
- Want to make sure your coverage protects your passengers – PIP insurance covers your passengers as well as your own expenses.
If you believe PIP insurance may be right for you, speak with your insurance provider. If you have already experienced an accident and need clarification as to how your PIP and personal injury claim can work together, speak with your personal injury lawyer.