How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance Work in Delaware?

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Delaware requires all vehicle owners to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which provides coverage for injuries sustained in a car accident. PIP insurance is first-party coverage, meaning it pays for your own injuries and lost income if you're injured. PIP is also referred to as no-fault coverage, as it pays benefits no matter which party was at fault in the accident.

How Does PIP Insurance Work in Delaware?

Personal injury protection is a required form of auto insurance in Delaware for all vehicles. Your PIP insurance covers all parties involved in any accident involving a car, including the driver, passengers in your vehicle and anyone else injured in the collision. So a pedestrian or bicyclist who was hurt in a collision with your vehicle would also be covered by your PIP insurance. The only exception is that anyone in another vehicle at the time of the accident would be covered under the PIP of the car that they were inside.

PIP insurance in Delaware covers all medical expenses, lost wages and other costs related to an injury sustained for two years following an accident, so long as these expenses don't exceed your coverage limits. The minimum PIP coverage required in Delaware is:

  • $15,000 of expenses per person involved in an accident.
  • $30,000 of expenses for all parties involved in an accident.
  • $5,000 of funeral expenses.

These are the minimum requirements, but you can choose to purchase higher levels of coverage if offered by your insurer. Progressive, for example, offers PIP limits of up to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Any medical costs or lost wages that exceed your limits will not be covered by PIP, so you may have to lean on your health insurance or make a claim against the other driver in the accident, if they were at fault. In order to improve the likelihood that all your costs related to an injury are covered, we recommend purchasing higher PIP coverage limits if possible, as PIP benefits will be provided no matter how a car accident occurred.

What Is Covered by PIP Insurance in Delaware?

PIP insurance covers, up to your policy's limits, all of the following.

  • Medical Expenses: All necessary or reasonable medical expenses associated with your injury due to a car accident are covered by PIP insurance. These can include hospitalization, dental treatment, surgery, X-rays, ambulance transportation, prosthetics and rehabilitation.
  • Funeral Expenses: Up to $5,000 of expenses related to a funeral, such as the cost of services and a burial plot, are covered by PIP.
  • Lost Income: You can receive PIP benefits for the full net amount of lost earnings, so long as you can demonstrate the loss was due to your injuries from a car accident. This coverage extends to lost earnings if you're self-employed as well.
  • Other Related Expenses: If you're unable to perform certain necessary tasks due to your injury, such as home and child care, PIP will provide coverage for assistance services.

Delaware Tort Threshold

Unlike some states that require PIP insurance, Delaware is not a no-fault state. There's no limitation on your ability to sue the at-fault party in an accident for expenses or pain and suffering. The only restriction is that you can't sue the other party for reimbursement of expenses, such as medical bills or lost income, that were eligible to be paid for by your PIP insurance.

How and When to File a PIP Claim in Delaware

If you've been involved in an accident and would like to file a PIP claim, you should notify the insurance company as soon as possible. In Delaware, PIP only extends to injuries and lost income sustained within two years of the accident. You would file a claim with the insurer for the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident unless you were a pedestrian or bicyclist, in which case you'd notify the insurer of the vehicle that was involved.

Once you've contacted the insurer, they will issue you a claim number and send you a PIP application. The PIP application acts as the record of all procedures and costs that you intend to request payment for, so be as thorough as possible in listing all relevant information. A claim may be rejected or contested if it's for an injury not contained within the initial PIP application. Once you've completed and returned the PIP application, the insurer should begin to cover payments related to the accident.

PIP Coverage Over 2 Years After an Accident

Medical expenses may be covered by PIP insurance in Delaware over two years after an accident if one of the following situations apply:

  • The expenses were incurred within the two-year period, but you were unable to notify the insurer of them at the time. In order to have your claim processed, you must present them to the insurer within 90 days of the two-year period ending.
  • A necessary medical procedure was identified within the two-year period, but for some reason, it couldn't be performed during that time. In this case, a medical professional must identify the procedures and the need for delay in writing during the two-year period, along with costs and any projected loss of income. The maximum amount of lost income covered is, at most, your net loss over a period of 90 days.

How Much Does PIP Insurance Cost in Delaware?

The cost of personal injury protection insurance in Delaware varies depending on how much coverage you purchase, the deductible you choose and your driving history. As you can see from the sample quotes below, the monthly cost of PIP insurance can differ by $57 per month simply by changing your policy's deductible, or the amount of money you'd pay before receiving benefits.

The Monthly Cost of PIP Insurance Premiums

$0 Deductible$250 Deductible$500 Deductible$1,000 Deductible
$15,000/$30,000 PIP Limit$69$64$60$43
$25,000/$50,000 PIP Limit$92$84$79$57
$50,000/$100,000 PIP Limit$118$108$101$73
$100,000/$300,000 PIP Limit$149$137$128$92

Some insurance companies in Delaware will offer particularly high PIP deductibles, up to $15,000, which would essentially nullify your PIP benefits. While these policies will be significantly less expensive, they should only be considered if you're confident in your ability to pay the full amount of the deductible in an emergency situation. Otherwise, you'll be left with significant medical costs and may not have coverage to help pay for them, meaning you're likely to incur debts.

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