October 15, 2010

When Personal Injury Protection Is Required For Auto Insurance Policies

Personal injury protection is one of the most misunderstood forms of car insurance coverage, but it is a very important type of coverage. Often abbreviated PIP, personal injury protection provides benefits for the driver and passengers of a vehicle after injuries are sustained in an accident. It is very good coverage for drivers who commute often because it protects them from significant financial liability if their passengers are injured. It is also very worthwhile coverage for drivers who do not have a tremendous amount of medical insurance coverage. Sometimes, however, personal injury protection is just not a smart form of auto insurance. In some states, it is a required form of coverage that drivers must carry at all times in order to operate a motor vehicle legally.

States that require personal injury protection coverage tend to be "no fault" car insurance states. If you already live in a no fault state, you are probably aware that the legal systems works quite differently from states that follow a traditional tort system of insurance law. No fault states do not assign fault in an accident. Regardless of which party caused the accident, each party's car insurance policy pays for the costs incurred. This may seem unfair, but it is based on a ballpark model of insurance. This model holds that when a driver decides to operate a car, he or she takes a certain risk. No fault states deal with far fewer car insurance disputes than tort states because the court systems do not have to assign fault except in extreme cases.

However, this also means that every driver must have sufficient auto insurance coverage to deal with the potential costs of an accident. As you might have guessed, personal injury protection is very important to handle the costs of any medical bills for a vehicle's driver or passenger. No fault states require personal injury protection for every auto insurance policy, and most will also require some form of collision coverage to ensure that drivers are as well protected as they would be in at-fault car insurance states.

States vary in the amount of personal injury protection auto insurance coverage that they require. You can usually find out whether your state requires PIP by visiting your insurance commissioner's website or by calling your insurance agent. Most auto insurance companies will not allow their customers to purchase less than the state-required minimum coverage levels. Even if personal injury protection is not required in your state, it can be a very smart purchase. Protecting yourself and your vehicle's passengers is important, and the right amount of personal injury protection on your auto insurance policy will help you to do this.