Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is an extension of car insurance available in some U.S. states that covers medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages and other damages. PIP is sometimes referred to as "no-fault" coverage, because the statutes enacting it are generally known as no-fault laws, and PIP is designed to be paid without regard to "fault," or more properly, legal liability. PIP is also called "no-fault" because, by definition, a claimant's, or insured's, insurance premium should not increase due to a PIP claim.
PIP is a mandatory coverage in some states. PIP coverage may vary from state to state in terms of both what is covered and what types of treatments are considered customary and reasonable. For example, in Utah, acupuncture is a permissible medical treatment, while in California it is not. Some states also allow for PIP claims even if a Workers' Compensation claim exists, while others do not.
In some states, PIP is subrogable, meaning that your insurance carrier will pay for your loss, regardless of liability, and then recover (or subrogate) what it paid from the liable party's insurance carrier. This generally leaves the claimant/insured in a much better financial position, because his or her medical bills are paid, and the insurance carriers get to fight it out on their own, and after the fact.
PIP can cover, within the specified dollar and time limits, the medical and funeral expenses of the insured, others in its vehicle at the time of the loss, and pedestrians struck by its vehicle. The basic coverage is for the insured's own injuries, on a first-party basis, without regard to liability. Again, it is only available in certain states.
Many states that do not have PIP have Auto Medical Payments coverage, or AMP, and some states even have both. AMP is also a first party coverage, without regard to liability, but is only subrogable in a few states, and generally optional.
AMP & PIP limits range from $1500.00 to $250,000.00 depending on the injury and the state. Claimants involved in an auto accident are wise to submit their own insurance information to their medical providers, as third party carriers are under no legal obligation to pay a claimant's medical bills, while first party carriers are.
Third party carriers are subject to payment only after a judgement against them, and any payments prior to that are considered voluntary. Settling a claim with a third party carrier is considered a voluntary payment.
This is intended as general information, not as as legal advice. Please consult with your insurance company and your lawyer for detailed information and advice.