What Does Personal Injury Protection Cover?
Personal injury protection insurance is not required for drivers of Iowa. However, some car insurance policy holders may prefer to have this coverage in case of an auto accident, as it can go beyond typical coverage plans.
There are several things that personal injury protection can cover, but it cannot pay for everything. Continue reading to learn more about this coverage and how it can further protect Iowa drivers.
What Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?
Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is also called no-fault insurance. This is because it helps pay for multiple costs, such as medical bills, lost wages, or funeral expenses - no matter who is at fault for the car accident.
What Is the Purpose of Personal Injury Protection Auto Insurance?
The aftermath of an auto accident can lead to lots of work involving filing a claim and even suing another driver. However, starting in the 1970s, several states introduced legislation that would classify them as no-fault states. This means they would require PIP coverage within drivers' respective car insurance companies.
In most states, the purpose of this legislation is to streamline the process of determining who is at fault for a car accident. Often, cases can go to court just to determine who is responsible for paying for the damage. Many of them are for minor claims.
PIP covers medical expenses, property damage, and more using each driver's own insurance company. Resultingly, these firms cannot dispute who is liable, which saves the courtroom for more severe cases.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Personal injury protection covers several payments that typically follow an auto accident. No matter who is responsible, PIP coverage helps pay for costly expenses regarding recovery.
It can usually cover the following:
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical bills are often accompanied by the aftermath of an auto accident. While drivers may first turn to their health insurance, no-fault insurance includes medical payments coverage.
PIP insurance can help pay for medical expenses resulting from the accident. There are not many limits to what it can cover as long as there is evidence of payment on medical bills.
Overall, personal injury protection helps pay for the following medical expenses:
Medical costs are not the only way PIP coverage can help auto accident victims. Lost wages are quite common when someone is severely injured in a car accident and cannot work.
They should not be held liable for their injuries, so personal injury protection can aid in recovering the lost wages.
Funeral Expenses and Survivors' Loss
PIP coverage pays for funeral costs or burial expenses if an accident results in death. Additionally, it pays for survivors' loss. In the aftermath of a passing, no-fault insurance can recover the lost income for the surviving dependents.
Auto insurance does not normally pay for essential services, but PIP coverage could fill in this gap. If someone is injured in an accident, they may not be able to perform all the duties they would normally complete.
However, no-fault insurance can provide payment for supplemental services, such as house cleaning or childcare.
What PIP Insurance Does Not Cover
No-fault insurance is a supplemental feature of auto insurance and can assist the health insurance company in providing coverage. However, it cannot make payments for every form of damage caused by the accident.
Overall, PIP insurance cannot cover the following:
Medical costs and damages to other drivers
Damages to policy holder's property
PIP coverage can recover the costs of medical bills for the policy holder, but it does not cover medical expenses for another driver involved in an accident. This would fall under bodily injury liability insurance.
Nearly every state requires drivers to possess bodily injury liability insurance because their own PIP insurance cannot cover anyone but the policy holder.
Additionally, personal injury protection within an auto insurance company cannot pay for medical coverage that goes outside the policy limits. However, if a driver is severely injured or their medical bills exceed a certain amount, they could sue the at-fault driver.
Property Damage to the Other Driver
PIP insurance does not include property damage to the other driver if the policy holder is found liable. They should turn to property damage liability coverage within their insurance company limits.
Damages to the Policy Holder's Property
A car accident almost always results in paying for damage to vehicles involved in the crash. Unfortunately, personal injury protection coverage does not concern this damage for the driver for whom the no-fault insurance covers.
Drivers should speak with an insurance agent to verify they have collision coverage for this protection.
Is Personal Injury Protection Coverage Required in Iowa?
Iowa is an at-fault state. Therefore, the law does not require PIP coverage among drivers, although it is an optional offering among many car insurance companies.
While no-fault coverage is not required, Iowa does impose minimum coverage requirements for drivers' insurance:
$20,000 for bodily injury or death of an individual driver
$40,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one driver
$15,000 for destruction or damage of property caused in one accident
What Is an At-Fault State?
Unlike no-fault PIP insurance policies, at-fault states expect car accident victims to file a claim against the insurance company of the at-fault party rather than their own.
No-fault insurance states expect the claim to stay within one insurance provider for each involved driver.
Understanding Comparative Fault
Since Iowa is an at-fault state, the insurance company of the driver responsible for the accident must cover the costs. However, Iowa instigates comparative fault. This indicates that drivers are liable for a percentage of what they contributed to the accident.
If a driver is found 30 percent responsible for a crash, they may only recover up to 70 percent of their awarded compensation. Additionally, a driver who is found 51 percent at fault or more cannot recover any compensation from the accident.
How to Get the Best Protection from PIP Coverage
When considering the best personal injury protection coverage, there are a few things insurance holders should think about, especially if they do not live in no-fault insurance states.
Consider Health Insurance Coverage
To save money, drivers should opt for a smaller policy limit if they have reliable health insurance. They can utilize this alternative insurance payment rather than buying more coverage for their car insurance.
Consider the Deductible
If a driver has a high health insurance deductible or does not even possess a health insurance policy, they should consider purchasing at least the minimum coverage for medical payments on the PIP plan.
They can increase the coverage based on their determination of their health and what they would require.
Understand Which Coverage Pays First
If a driver gets injured in a car accident and has personal injury protection, the PIP coverage often covers medical payments rather than health insurance. This is because the motor vehicle crash directly relates to the injuries.
Evaluate Lost Wages
It would be wise to consider PIP coverage based on the driver's profession. They should regard what could happen if they had to miss work due to personal injuries caused by an accident.
If the job requires physical labor, it may be beneficial to have a PIP plan. Likewise, if they are paid hourly - rather than by salary - no-fault insurance can help make up for the income lost during recovery.
What to Do After a Crash in Iowa
Drivers have three options after an accident.
The first option is to file a claim against the at-fault party's insurance company. This is what most drivers choose, as Iowa is an at-fault state. Sometimes, the company tries to defer payment by challenging who caused the accident. Hiring an experienced Des Moines injury lawyer can help victims through these negotiations.
Filing a lawsuit against the responsible driver is the second option. This would work better if the driver's negligence is to blame for the crash. However, speaking with a professional lawyer can determine whether a case should be taken to legal action.
Finally, a victim can file a claim with their own insurance company, but this would work best for someone who is fully covered. Once another driver is found responsible, the company can seek compensation for the expenses covered.
Hire a Trusted Lawyer to File a PIP Claim Today
Filing a PIP claim can be challenging for car accident victims while in recovery from an injury. However, an experienced lawyer can help them through the process, so they receive the fairest amount of compensation. Tom Fowler Law can also answer questions like, "What does personal injury law cover?"
In Iowa, drivers often file a claim against the responsible driver's insurance. This leads to further negotiations that, without a seasoned lawyer, could lead to less compensation.
Having a legal professional as a resource can streamline the process to successful reimbursement.
Contact Tom Fowler Law for dependable legal expertise.