The difference between bodily injury and personal injury coverage in car insurance is that personal injury protection pays for the policyholder’s own medical bills, while bodily injury coverage pays for others’ medical bills when the policyholder is at-fault. Bodily injury coverage is a form of liability insurance. It is required in almost every state, but only 13 states require personal injury protection (PIP). It’s also worth noting that bodily injury coverage does not have a deductible, while PIP generally does.
Bodily Injury vs. Personal Injury Car Insurance
Personal Injury Protection
Bodily Injury Coverage
Injuries to the Policyholder
Injuries Caused by the Policyholder
Required in Most States?
Since PIP applies to the policyholder, their passengers, and their household members regardless of fault, it is often referred to as no-fault insurance. It is required in states with no-fault laws, where drivers must file claims for minor injuries with their own PIP insurance rather than with the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability coverage.
PLPD is shorthand for Personal Liability and Property Damage insurance. PLPD insurance covers injuries and property damage for the other driver if you are found to be at fault in a car accident but it does not reimburse you for your own medical expenses or damage to your own property, however.… read full answer
The term PLPD is most commonly used in Michigan; it is known as “basic liability” in the rest of the nation. Because PLPD auto insurance is mandatory in almost every state, it is the most basic form of car insurance.
How PLPD Insurance Works
PLPD insurance is divided into two groups: personal liability (PL) and property damage (PD).
How Personal Liability Insurance Works
Personal liability insurance covers medical costs for the victim of an accident. If you are the victim of a crash, the other driver’s PLPD will cover your costs. If the other driver is the victim, your PLPD will cover theirs.
Also called “bodily injury” coverage, personal liability insurance is often referred to in a split numeric form—$15,000/$25,000, for example. The first number to appear—in this case, $15,000—is the most an insurance policy will pay per person for injury care after an accident. The second number ($25,000 here) refers to the maximum payout per separate accident. The minimum amount of personal liability insurance a motorist must purchase varies by state.
How Property Damage Insurance Works
Property damage insurance covers the physical damage to other objects caused by your vehicle. The PD portion of PLPD can cover damage to another car, as well as government or personal property. That can include street lamps, landscaping, lawn furniture, or signage.
Property damage insurance is usually listed after the two maximum payouts for personal liability. So, for example, if a policy offers $15,000/$25,000/$20,000, the PD coverage is a maximum of $20,000.
Does PLPD Insurance Cover Theft?
PLPD insurance does not cover theft, as this is considered damage that affects you, not another driver or owner of property you might have damaged with your vehicle. Instead, theft falls under what’s known as comprehensive insurance, which addresses any repairs to your car which might take place outside of a collision. That includes hail damage, falling trees, vandalism, and theft. However, even comprehensive insurance will not cover the items stored in your car when it was stolen.
While PLPD does not cover theft, it does provide coverage in the event of an accident. As a result. if you are involved in an accident, and especially if the accident is your fault, the premiums for your PLPD insurance will likely rise. That means it’s more important than ever to comparison shop for the best rates. Know what’s required in your state, and compare quotes from several insurance companies.
You should have at least as much bodily injury liability insurance coverage as your state requires, and it’s good to purchase coverage limits that are equal to your assets. Maintaining enough bodily injury liability insurance to cover your net worth is recommended to prevent lawsuits.
Bodily injury liability coverage pays for other drivers’ and passengers’ injuries when the policyholder is at fault in an accident. Bodily injury liability can cover medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, legal fees, and other related costs.… read full answer
How Much Bodily Injury Liability You Need
Drivers everywhere except New Hampshire, Virginia, and remote parts of Alaska are required to carry at least their state’s minimum required amount of bodily injury liability coverage. And in every state, you are legally responsible for serious injuries resulting from car accidents that you cause.
In most states, if your bodily injury limits are not high enough to pay for all the medical bills from an accident, the not-at-fault driver and their passengers can sue you for any uncompensated expenses. Drivers with a high net worth are especially vulnerable targets for lawsuits if their bodily injury coverage does not pay for all of the other driver’s expenses.
Consequently, you should have enough bodily injury liability coverage to equal your assets, rather than just carrying your state’s minimum. After all, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners reports that the average bodily injury liability claim in 2016, the latest year with data, was $19,201 – more than some states require in coverage.
If you need more coverage than car insurance companies sell, you can always purchase an umbrella policy to keep your assets from being seized in the event of a lawsuit.
Bodily Injury Liability Requirements by State
Limit (per person)
CA, LA, PA
CT, HI, ID, MA, MI
NY, IL, OH, GA, and 30 others
MN, NC, TX, VA
Bodily Injury Liability Limits Example
The limits for bodily injury liability will usually be displayed as 15/30 or $15,000/$30,000, which is the minimum required for California. These numbers mean that, for any given accident, a driver's bodily injury liability insurance will cover:
$15,000 for injuries sustained by any one person
$30,000 for injuries sustained by all people involved in the accident
You need personal injury protection (PIP) insurance if you live in one of the 12 states that require it. You should also get PIP if your health insurance has low coverage limits or if you drive with passengers who could hold you responsible for their medical expenses in the event of an accident.… read full answer
In the 20 states (plus Washington, D.C.) where it is required or offered as optional protection, PIP covers medical expenses for the policyholder and his or her passengers after an accident, no matter who was at fault. However, PIP is not available at all in the 30 other states.
Always check with your insurance company or an agent for specifics on what coverage is required or available in your state before you determine what to include in your policy.
What Does PIP Cover?
Health insurance deductibles
Home care such as cleaning or child care
If you are in a car accident, PIP often works in conjunction with your health insurance coverage. Most health insurance deductibles must be paid before benefits start to be paid out, but your PIP may have a cheaper deductible, or no deductible at all.
How Does PIP Work With MedPay?
PIP insurance may overlap with another kind of car insurance known as Medical Payments, or MedPay. Like PIP, MedPay covers the costs of medical care resulting from of an accident, no matter who was at fault. Also like PIP, MedPay covers injuries to any passengers in your car. However, it does not pay for lost wages, rehabilitation or home-care services, which PIP would cover.
The way PIP and MedPay may work together depends on your state’s laws. If you live in one of the 12 states that require PIP, MedPay could be redundant. State limits on PIP vary widely, from $3,000 in Utah to New York’s $50,000 requirement. If your state has a low upper limit on PIP, MedPay coverage could act as a beneficial supplement. In a couple states – namely, Maine and New Hampshire – MedPay is used instead of PIP.
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