We’ve all seen and heard the countless jokes and memes about Florida—and, as a Floridian myself, I can say that some are funnier than others.
But perhaps we’re getting the last laugh because Florida is one of only 10 states that ensures immediate medical coverage if you’re injured in a car crash.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is required for owners of every registered motor vehicle in Florida.
It’s not just another premium for you to pay, though. If you’re injured in a car crash, you can receive $10,000 or more for qualifying injuries from your own insurance company regardless of whether you’re at fault for the collision.
That’s pretty smart, and a big help for many accident victims in Florida.
When is someone covered under PIP?
PIP insurance automatically covers the owner of the car that’s involved in a collision. It also provides coverage in these situations:
- Your children are covered if they’re riding in your car or on their school bus.
- Giving a lift to someone who doesn’t own a car? No problem. If an injured passenger doesn’t own a car, they’re covered under the PIP policy of a relative whom they live with. If they don’t live with a relative who has a PIP policy, they’d be covered by the other driver’s policy.
- Pedestrian and bicycle injuries could benefit from PIP, as well. If a bicyclist or pedestrian is injured and doesn’t have their own PIP policy and doesn’t live with a relative who has a PIP policy, they’d be covered under the policy of the at-fault driver.
What does PIP cover, exactly?
PIP no-fault insurance coverage pays medical bills and lost wages.
To claim a PIP benefit, you must have received treatment within 14 days of the crash. The treatment could be from a hospital, primary care provider, urgent care clinic, chiropractor, or even emergency medical technicians at the scene.
Even if your injuries didn’t require follow-up at a hospital or with a doctor, treatment has been established if you were treated at the scene by an EMT.
Massage therapy and acupuncture is not covered under PIP.
PIP covers the following expenses:
- Medical services
- Surgery and hospital costs
- Ambulatory services
- 60% of lost wages (up to $10,000) which includes costs for services like housecleaning, child care, and other tasks that you can’t complete yourself because of your injury.
- Death benefits (in the amount of $5,000) for funeral and burial expenses provided to the policyholder’s survivors
For example, if your total medical bills equal $10,000, PIP covers $8,000. PIP also caps payment at $2,500 for non-emergency treatment.
PIP limits on non-emergency treatment
Yes, you read that right. If your injury is considered a “non-emergency,” there’s a $2,500 cap on what you can recover through PIP.
You can receive the maximum PIP payout if you experience an emergency medical condition (EMC).
What qualifies as an emergency medical condition?
Florida law says that an EMC involves acute symptoms that would result in the following if you don’t receive immediate medical attention:
- Serious jeopardy to health
- Serious impairment of bodily functions
- Serious dysfunction of any body organ or part
When receiving treatment, the doctor should note in the chart if it’s an EMC.
Do you have enough coverage?
Although you’re required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage, we encourage you to purchase a policy with a higher amount. That’s because $10,000 could be just the tip of the iceberg for the costs associated with treatment if you’re in a serious crash.
If your accident is very serious and you experience a permanent or chronic injury such as traumatic brain injury, amputation, scarring or disfigurement, paralysis or loss of major bodily function, you could bring a claim outside of PIP.
If that happens, you’ll need a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer to make sure that you receive what you need to cover your expenses.