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PIP insurance refers to personal injury protection. Arkansas auto insurance companies will explain the importance of PIP coverage when you are deciding on the policy which best meets your needs. PIP coverage provides prompt assistance with medical and related expenses if you or your passengers are involved in an accident. These benefits are payable whether you are at fault or not.
What is PIP insurance?
PIP insurance, often referred to as no-fault insurance, pays benefits after an accident to help cover your medical costs and certain related losses and expenses. PIP insurance also pays these benefits for passengers in your vehicle.
PIP is designed to pay these benefits to the policyholder regardless of fault. The goal is to get funds for these expenses in the hands of victims quickly following an accident. Without PIP coverage, an injured driver’s recourse may be limited to pursuing a lawsuit against the other driver, or seeking a settlement with that driver’s insurer. Without PIP coverage, if you are at-fault, you may not have a path to recovery for your medical expenses.
PIP insurance does not cover any claims that another driver may have against you from an accident. Your liability insurance provides this coverage. Similarly, your collision and comprehensive coverage does not help in covering your own medical expenses. These coverages protect you against the financial consequences from damage to your vehicle. Collision insurance covers property damages (to your own vehicle) caused in a collision. Comprehensive provides similar property damage coverage but only from non-collision related perils such as a fallen tree.
How does Arkansas PIP work?
Drivers injured (or with a suspected injury) following an accident may find it beneficial to file an Arkansas PIP insurance claim as soon as practical. It is fairly easy to combine this request with any other claim under the policy, such as a collision claim. PIP is intended to cover your medical expenses directly without the need to deal with the other driver or his or her car insurance carrier, so determining loss will not necessarily impact how soon you receive a PIP payout. Generally, the sooner you file a PIP insurance claim, the sooner payment for your immediate medical needs and expenses can be addressed.
In Arkansas, PIP coverage is more comprehensive than many realize, and can be purchased in three separate packages or a combination of all:
- Part One: Medical payments including doctors’ bills, hospital charges and ambulance costs.
- Part Two: A portion of lost wages from missed work due to an accident.
- Part Three: Death benefits.
The advantages Arkansas PIP coverage offers are significant. For example, if you, your spouse and another passenger are all injured in an accident, PIP will cover medical procedures at the scene, ambulance costs and treatment at the hospital and afterwards, for you, your spouse and your guest. If you miss time from work, a portion of the lost income will be paid through PIP coverage. Even if the other driver was clearly at fault, all of these benefits would be paid directly to you by your car insurance company.
Is PIP required in Arkansas?
Arkansas is an at-fault state and therefore PIP is not mandatory in the state. In an at-fault state, the responsibility for compensating an injured driver falls on the shoulders of the driver found to be at fault in the accident. This can involve time-consuming and costly lawsuits, however. In cases like this, the not-at-fault driver’s car insurance company will pay at least a portion of the driver’s covered costs and seek reimbursement through subrogation from the at fault driver or his insurer.
In a no-fault state on the other hand, fault is simply not a factor in determining who will pay for the losses arising from personal injury or property damage due to an accident. Each party’s carrier is obligated to pay its own policyholders. This is where mandatory PIP coverage comes into play; in no-fault states.
However, despite being an at-fault state, Arkansas does promote the use of PIP coverage by requiring that all car insurance policies include at least $5,000 of PIP coverage. If you do not want the coverage, state law places the burden on you to decline PIP coverage in a written notice to your auto insurer. On the other hand, if you choose to maintain PIP coverage you can optionally increase the limits.
How much does PIP cost in Arkansas?
PIP costs are usually very affordable, as the risk may be lower than coverages like collision. And on balance the amount spent up front for PIP coverage can be well worth the investment to drivers, in light of the significant benefits available in the event of a serious accident. Of course, PIP premiums vary to some extent based on location and different carriers, so it is recommended to obtain quotes from several car insurance companies to find the most affordable provider for your car insurance needs.
Key things to note about PIP insurance in Arkansas
- Arkansas is an at-fault state and PIP insurance is not mandatory.
- PIP coverage will pay medical and related expenses for you and your passengers following an accident.
- Arkansas law does require that auto insurance policies include $5,000 of PIP coverage.
- Arkansas drivers can decline the PIP coverage but must do so in writing.
- Despite the optional nature of PIP coverage in Arkansas, there are significant advantages to PIP coverage which should be researched before settling on a car insurance policy.
Frequently asked questions
How and when do I file a PIP claim?
With most insurance companies, you can file a claim for PIP coverage by phone or online. It is often best to file for PIP benefits in conjunction with the submission of your entire claim. One you have your policy, it is always helpful to ask a representative to explain the claim process in detail so that you have the proper forms and procedures in place if an accident does occur.
Are PIP and medical payments the same?
Not quite, and it is important to understand the differences. Medical payments are just what you would think. This coverage pays for only your (and your passengers’) medical expenses from injuries sustained in a car accident. PIP coverage provides these medical benefits but also pays certain related expenses such as lost wages.
Do PIP payments need to be repaid from a settlement?
Usually, yes. If you are in an accident and the other driver is determined to be at fault, you typically first receive PIP benefits to cover medical and related expenses. If you later receive money through a suit or settlement from the other driver for the same expenses, those would be sent to reimburse your insurance company, based on the original PIP payments.