What is PIP Insurance and How Does it Work?
Motorists in Las Vegas have many coverage options. In addition to the insurance required by the state, they can also buy collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist, and other policies.
One type of policy that doesn’t receive a lot of attention is personal injury protection, called “PIP.” PIP is also known as no-fault insurance because unlike other policies it does not matter who is responsible for the accident. The insurer will pay out provided you qualify for benefits. In this article, we will explain PIP benefits in more detail and discuss whether buying a PIP policy makes sense.
What Do You Mean by “No Fault” Insurance?
Nevada is a fault state that continues to observe traditional tort principles. This means that whoever is responsible for a crash is responsible for paying compensation to the victims. For example, if Michael crashes into Angelina, he must pay for her medical bills and lost wages. Even if Michael is injured, he cannot get Angelina to pay him compensation unless she also is to blame for the crash.
Nevada’s insurance requirements reflect these traditional tort principles. Motorists must carry a minimum of $25,000 per person in bodily injury insurance, up to $50,000 in bodily injury per accident when more than one person is injured. Nevada motorists also must carry $20,000 in property damage coverage. These minimums increased on July 1, 2018.
With a no-fault policy, Michael can submit his claim to his insurer, which will pay him because it does not matter who is at fault for the crash. If Angeline also has a no-fault policy, then she can submit her claim to her own insurer as well.
Does Nevada Require PIP Insurance?
No. As of 2018, 16 states require that their motorists obtain PIP policies. These states are:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
PIP insurance is also optional in several other states, including Washington, Texas, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Virginia, and New Hampshire.
Nevada motorists, however, can obtain medical payments coverage, which is like PIP. This policy will pay for your medical care regardless of fault, which means you can cause a crash and still receive benefits. Medical payments will also cover any injury to a person in your car, again regardless of fault. Medical payments coverage is voluntary, and Nevada motorists do not need to carry it.
What Does PIP Insurance Cover?
Personal injury protection benefits typically cover economic losses, such as medical treatment and lost wages up to a certain amount. For example, in Florida, PIP benefits will cover 80% of reasonable medical care and up to 60% of lost wages, up to the policy limit.
PIP benefits do not cover pain and suffering or other intangible harms like emotional distress. In horrific accidents that result in paralysis or traumatic brain injuries, a victim can often receive much more in pain and suffering than for medical treatment.
Many of the states that require PIP insurance also limit the ability of motorists to bring lawsuits, especially for pain and suffering damages. These no-fault states have used PIP insurance to try and crack down on what many perceive are frivolous lawsuits, where people with minor injuries sue for hundreds of thousands of dollars in pain and suffering.
What Does Medical Payments Insurance in Nevada Cover?
Medical payments insurance covers less than PIP policies. As its name implies, medical payments will cover reasonable and necessary medical care needed because of a car accident, such as:
- Transportation costs to the hospital
- Doctor visits
- Hospital stays
- Nursing care
- Dental care
- Prescription drug costs
- X-rays or other diagnostic tests
You should carefully review any policy to understand exclusions before you purchase medical payments coverage.
Is there a Minimum of PIP or Medical Payments Coverage I Must Buy?
Each state that requires PIP sets minimums. For example, Florida requires that all drivers carry at least $10,000 minimum. New York has much higher minimums–$50,000. Drivers should check with their state’s Department of Insurance for information on their precise requirements.
However, you can certainly buy more PIP insurance than the minimum. The amount you purchase is up to you. Because PIP is no-fault insurance, you should probably buy as much PIP as possible. Remember that catastrophic injuries can cost well over $100,000. Request price quotes from an insurance agent and look at your budget.
Because medical payments coverage is optional in Nevada, there is no minimum amount you must carry. Instead, you should analyze your needs. Generally, medical payments insurance is sold up to $10,000, though larger policies are also available.
On Average, How Much Extra Will PIP or Medical Payments Insurance Cost Me on Car Insurance?
Cost is absolutely an important factor. Unfortunately, everything depends on the policy and the insurer, as well as your own unique experiences. Generally, med pay coverage is not very expensive, usually because most insurers only offer a maximum policy of $10,000. For example, most insurers offer $5,000 in med pay coverage for between $3 and $20 a month.
However, State Farm also offers medical payments policies with $50,000 and $100,000 limits. These will cost more each month, though they might be a great deal depending on your needs.
Does Personal Injury Coverage Cover Injuries for the Other Party Involved?
Not usually. In no-fault states like Florida, the other driver should contact his or her PIP insurer if they need access to benefits. They don’t make a claim on your PIP insurance.
If you have medical payments coverage, another driver who is injured will not make a claim on it. If you were at fault for the accident, they can contact your bodily injury liability insurer.
What is the Difference Between PIP and Bodily Injury?
PIP (and medical payments) insurance is no-fault insurance, whereas bodily injury liability insurance is fault based. If you caused an accident and are injured, you cannot tap your bodily injury liability insurance. You also can’t make a claim with another motorists’ liability insurer, either. Your options, because you were at fault for the accident, are limited. Medical payments coverage or PIP can step in and provide benefits in accidents where you are at fault.
How Much PIP or Medical Payments Coverage Should I Get?
This is an individualized decision. The amount of your policy will impact how much it costs, for example.
However, with the cost of medical care rising at a rapid pace, you should probably buy as much coverage as you can afford. Even minor medical treatment can cost thousands of dollars, and anything beyond that could soon leave someone on the verge of bankruptcy. With medical payments coverage, you gain peace of mind. Of course, you shouldn’t buy more coverage than you can afford, so look at your budget.
When Should I Not Use My Medical Payments Coverage?
There are some situations where it makes more sense to use your health insurance than your medical payments or PIP. For example, your health insurance policy might require that you pay back the insurer for any bills the insurer covers with your settlement proceeds. If your health insurer ultimately picked up $40,000 in medical bills, then you will need to contribute $40,000 from your settlement to your insurer, dramatically limiting the amount you go home with.
However, if your medical payments policy does not require this type of reimbursement, then it makes sense to use it instead of your health insurance.
The same principle works in reverse. Your PIP/Medical payments policy might require reimbursement, but your health insurance doesn’t. In this scenario, you could come out ahead by using mostly your own health insurance to cover the costs of medical care.
One advantage of hiring an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer is that he can analyze your insurance policies and determine which one you should use. In some cases, it might not matter, but for other people, the choice of insurance could net them thousands of dollars.
Does Medical Payments or PIP Cover Pedestrians?
Yes! This is an outstanding benefit of these insurance policies. In Nevada, medical payments will cover you if you were injured as a pedestrian. For example, you might be walking across a parking lot when someone backs into you because they were not looking in their mirror. In this case, you can immediately tap your medical payments coverage, which can pay for your medical treatment.
How Do I Submit a Claim to a No-Fault Insurer?
The process for submitting PIP or Medical Payments claims is the same as submitting a claim to any insurer. You will typically need to do the following:
- Gather medical records, test results, and other information from all doctors who have treated you for injuries caused by the accident.
- Find medical records going back five years. An insurer is looking to see whether your injuries were truly caused by the accident or whether they existed before the accident, in which case the insurer will not pay for medical treatment.
- Collect the names of any witness to the accident, since the insurance adjuster will probably want to talk to them. Although your medical payments insurer is not looking to assign fault, they might want proof that the accident actually happened.
- Find a copy of the police report.
- Submit any photographs or videos you made of the accident. For example, you might have taken pictures of your vehicle, which can help establish you were injured in a car accident.
- Make copies of any pictures of your physical injuries, such as bruises, cuts, lacerations, burns, or abrasions.
Collecting all this information can be time consuming, and many injured motorists do not have the energy to go about getting everything in order. In that case, reaching out to a Las Vegas car accident lawyer can be a lifeline. One of our attorneys can help compile all necessary information and submit it to an insurer so that you get the compensation you need.
Naqvi Injury Law Represents the Interests of Motorists
The moments after a collision are a confusing time. Many people contact our office asking questions about how to handle the maze of insurance paperwork. They are worried about their futures and whether they will be able to cover their bills, such as their mortgage or rent.
If you have been injured in an accident, we want to hear from you. Our Las Vegas car accident lawyers have combined decades of experience helping accident victims just like you. We are experienced at taking the mystery out of insurance claims, and we advocate aggressively on behalf of our clients.
Reach out to us today. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, please call or send us an online message.