Pennsylvania may have set of unique laws regarding insurance coverage, but it is largely a no-fault state – those who are involved in an accident file a claim with their own insurance provider, regardless of who is at fault.
In order to help facilitate this system, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage is legally required by the state for all licensed drivers.
What is PIP Insurance?
Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage helps cover a driver’s personal medical bills if they were injured in a car accident – regardless of who is at fault. Even if you are at fault for the accident, your PIP coverage will cover your personal injury medical bills. Drivers in Pennsylvania are required to have a minimum PIP coverage of $5,000 medical benefits, $15,000 bodily injury liability per person and $5,000 property damage.
You can of course purchase higher coverage limits, but this is the minimum amount required in Pennsylvania. Driving in a ‘no fault’ state and having a PIP policy is intended to pay for personal injury bills through your own insurance and avoid wasting time and money on determining fault between you and another driver. Instead of waiting to file an insurance claim with another driver, your PIP policy pays you faster.
Pennsylvania’s PIP coverage will pay for medical bills as well as lost wages and funeral expenses if the accident was fatal. The goal with having PIP coverage is to provide each driver with medical insurance that will protect them in the event of an accident, regardless of who is to blame. After an accident occurs, your PIP coverage will kick in and pay for the expenses. After this fund has been exhausted, your personal health insurance will cover your personal injuries and then the at-fault driver will cover other damages.
A bonus to having PIP in Pennsylvania is that the coverage you purchase extends to the family members in your household and on your policy. If you are driving with other passengers and an accident occurs, your own personal PIP coverage will take effect. Next, a family member’s policy can be used. Whoever is driving the car will have their own PIP policy and that can be used to cover you as the passenger. One last thing to note here is that if you were hit by a vehicle while you were riding a bike or walking, the driver’s PIP policy will cover you. Personal Injury Protection will not cover you if you are riding a motorcycle or recreational vehicle; your private health insurance will kick in for these incidents and injuries.
In Pennsylvania, it illegal to drive without PIP coverage unless you operate a motorcycle. If the PennDOT, or Pennsylvania Department of Transportation catches you driving without PIP coverage, your license plates, registration and ID can be suspended. Following this suspension of driving, the driver would be forced to pay fines, provide proof of insurance moving forward and likely have a higher insurance payment.
After an Accident
Following an accident, you will make a claim to your own PIP insurance who will reimburse you for some or all of your medical expenses and lost wages. Your PIP insurer might require a recorded statement of events from you as well as a medical examination. If you do not cooperate with your PIP insurer, your benefits can be revoked. There are many steps and stipulations to follow when it comes to PIP in Pennsylvania so it is recommended to speak with a car accident attorney to guide you through the process.