Health Insurance Vs. Personal Injury Protection Insurance After a Car Crash
After an accident in New Jersey, crash victims must first file a claim with their own motor vehicle insurance to help pay for medical bills, no matter who is at fault. Although Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are commonly used to cover these costs, some drivers use their health insurance instead.
As you can choose one or the other, it is important to consider the pros and cons of both options before making your decision. This can also be helpful if you are considering changing your primary insurer.
If you have questions about seeking compensation after a crash, consider speaking to our New Jersey motor vehicle accident lawyers to see how we may be able to help you.
PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION COVERAGE IN NEW JERSEY
When purchasing car insurance in New Jersey, there are two policy options drivers may choose from: basic or standard. Under each of these insurance policies, a driver may choose whether to have PIP benefits or their personal health insurance cover medical bills following an accident.
When a driver chooses PIP as the primary insurer, benefits may depend on the type of plan he or she chose when signing onto an insurance policy.
Under the basic insurance policy, New Jersey drivers are only offered the legal minimum of $15,000 in PIP benefits for most personal injuries. However, they may be able to claim a maximum of $250,000 in PIP benefits for accidents that result in permanent or significant:
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Other permanent or significant medical conditions that may be covered under a basic policy include any medically necessary treatment rendered at a trauma center or acute care hospital immediately after an accident, and only until the patient’s condition is stabilized in accordance with a treating physician’s judgment.
For drivers who choose a standard policy, they may choose between a legal minimum of $15,000 to $250,000 or more in PIP benefits.
PIP AS THE PRIMARY INSURER
If you choose to have PIP as your primary insurance on your motor vehicle insurance policy, you may not use your health insurance until your PIP benefits have been exhausted. Once your PIP benefits are exhausted, you may be able to use your private health insurance as your secondary option to cover the costs of treatment.
PROS AND CONS OF PIP AS THE PRIMARY INSURER
The pros of having PIP as your primary insurer far outweigh the cons. This is because PIP may cover more than just your medical bills. When you file a PIP claim, you may be able to recover compensation for any time you had to take off work to seek treatment for your injuries. Additionally, PIP may pay for any funeral or burial costs if the accident resulted in your loved one’s death.
One con about having PIP as the primary insurer, especially a higher PIP limit, is that your insurance premium may increase. However, the amount is sometimes insignificant in comparison to what you would have to pay out of pocket if you were injured and had no insurance.
To avoid a higher premium, some drivers choose to have a deductible for their PIP policies but keep in mind that the insurance will not kick in until your deductible is paid.
HEALTH INSURANCE AS THE PRIMARY INSURER
New Jersey drivers who have a good health insurance policy may consider naming their private health insurance as their primary source of insurance in case of an accident. If you do this, your PIP benefits will not kick in until your health insurance limits are exhausted.
PROS AND CONS OF HEALTH INSURANCE AS THE PRIMARY INSURER
If you have a health insurance plan that has little to no restrictions on which doctors you may see and low deductibles, choosing your health insurance as the primary insurer in case of an accident may be a good option for you. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most people. In fact, most health insurers only cover some medical providers, facilities and procedures, all with high deductibles that must be paid out of pocket by the insured.
If you switch providers or change jobs and lose health insurance coverage for a period of time, your vehicle insurance will provide PIP benefits, but you will have to pay an additional $750 deductible before those benefits kick in.
CALL TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION
If you have questions about your insurance coverage after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should strongly consider calling our experienced attorneys today.
You can schedule a free consultation with no obligation to take legal action. This is an opportunity to discuss your claim and learn about what your legal options may be.
We do not charge you anything up front and only get paid if you do, so there is no risk to you.
Call us today at (800) 518-0508