What’s the Difference Between MedPay and PIP in South Carolina?
There’s a simple answer and a detailed answer – the simple answer being that there isn’t one. The terms are generally used interchangeably, though South Carolina officially uses Personal Injury Protection (PIP). That’s the simple answer, but there is a lot more to know about PIP in South Carolina.
What Exactly is PIP in South Carolina?
PIP stands for Personal Injury Protection. It’s an optional part of your car insurance policy that covers reasonable and necessary medical expenses relating to your injury regardless of who is at fault for the accident that injured you. You can claim it from your insurer no matter who was at fault. While it may not pay all your bills or cover all your expenses, it should give you some relief if you were at fault – and perhaps a bit sooner than the other driver’s liability insurance if you were not at fault.
Is PIP Different Than Bodily Injury Coverage?
Yes, in two important ways.
- Bodily injury liability insurance coverage is a form of liability insurance required by law in the state of South Carolina for all drivers. PIP is optional, not required.
- Bodily injury liability coverage provides coverage depending on who was at fault – a person who was at-fault for the wreck likely will not be covered by the other party’s liability coverage. PIP covers you regardless of who was at-fault for the wreck, even if you were the at-fault driver.
South Carolina law specifically allows for, but does not mandate PIP coverage.
Why is PIP Often Referred to as MedPay in South Carolina?
Other states, including North Carolina, refer to similar coverage as MedPay. You can learn more about MedPay in North Carolina, if you’re curious.
Auto Insurance Terminology
Confused by the different names and coverages involved in auto insurance? Here’s the facts:
Liability Insurance (required): This is coverage for people who are harmed if you are at fault for an accident. It’s split into bodily injury and property damage portions – to cover injuries to the other driver and passengers, and damage to their vehicle or other property up to the policy limit.
Collision Coverage (optional): This covers your vehicle if you collide with another vehicle or object. If another driver collides with you and causes your damage, their property damage liability insurance generally should ultimately be the one that covers repairs or even replacement cost if your vehicle is totaled, up to the policy’s limit.
Comprehensive Coverage (optional): This protects your vehicle from things not covered under collision coverage, like weather and theft for example, up to the policy’s limit.
Personal Injury Protection (optional): As we’ve explained, this pays your reasonable and necessary medical expenses related to an injury regardless of who is at fault for the accident, up to the policy limit.
If I’m Not At-Fault for the Accident, Why Would I Want PIP?
People ask this all the time. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance will pay for my harms and losses and I won’t need PIP, right? Yes and no.
There are a few things you should be aware of.
- The PIP coverage on your policy may be able to pay you more quickly in some circumstances, and that can be important depending on your situation.
- While there may be multiple policies against which you can claim, insurance policies have limits. In other words, if your claim exceeds the policy’s limit, you’ll have to find other means of potential compensation – and bills could be piling up in the meantime.
- If you’ve purchased PIP, you’re paying for it every time you pay your insurance premium. Why would you pay for it if you never intended to use it?
Does PIP Pay Faster, and Why?
Sometimes. Every circumstance is unique. There are often delays when it comes to claims made against an at-fault driver’s liability insurance. The insurance company may make a strong settlement offer quickly – but don’t bet on it. More likely, any offer they make will be quite low. They may stall. They may contest fault. They may even outright deny your claim – every case is different.
A personal injury claim against a liability insurance policy may take months or longer to be paid, so anything faster can help you in a time of need. And, as stated earlier, if you’re paying for it – use it.
Will Claiming PIP Reduce the Amount of My Compensation From the Liability Insurance Policy?
No. The at-fault driver’s insurance does not get a discount based on your PIP claim. They are separate claims and are treated independently.
Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
If you’ve been injured by another driver in an accident, you’re fortunate to have opted for PIP coverage. It can be helpful in times of need, but you should seek fair compensation from the at-fault driver’s policies to address the harm done to you and the losses you’ve suffered. It helps to have an attorney in your corner, fighting for your best interests and who knows the law, how to deal with insurance companies, and how to seek compensation from the right sources. Call us right now at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Don’t delay a moment longer – tell them you mean business!