Personal Injury Protection vs. Bodily Injury Liability Insurance

personal injury protection in car accidents

If you’ve ever found yourself in the aftermath of an accident, you might have encountered some unfamiliar terms that can leave you feeling puzzled. Two such terms are “bodily injury” and “personal injury.” Understanding the difference between them is crucial, as it can significantly impact your insurance claims and the coverage you receive.

PIP covers your medical costs and lost income, regardless of fault, following an accident. It doesn’t extend to pain and suffering damages. In contrast, Bodily Injury Liability insurance covers injuries you may cause to others in an accident where you are at fault. It pays for their medical expenses and legal fees. 

To simplify, PIP primarily deals with your own injuries and losses, while Bodily Injury Liability Insurance addresses the injuries and losses of others affected by an accident for which you bear responsibility.

What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

Personal Injury Protection, commonly known as PIP, is a form of auto insurance coverage. Its purpose is to offer financial security for both you and your passengers in the event of a car accident, irrespective of fault. PIP extends beyond the coverage offered by standard liability insurance, which typically covers injuries and damages you may cause to others.

What Does PIP Cover?

  1. Medical Expenses: PIP covers your medical bills resulting from injuries sustained in a car accident. This includes doctor visits, hospital stays, surgeries, prescription medications, and other necessary medical treatments.
  2. Lost Wages: In the event that your injuries hinder your ability to work, PIP can compensate for your lost income. This ensures you can maintain your financial stability while you recover.
  3. Rehabilitation Costs: PIP extends to rehabilitation expenses, such as physical or occupational therapy. These services are vital for recovering from severe injuries and regaining functionality.
  4. Non-Medical Expenses: PIP can assist with non-medical expenses that may arise due to the accident. For instance, it can cover childcare expenses if you require assistance with caring for your children during your recovery. It can also assist with house cleaning and other essential services you may temporarily need.
  5. Funeral Costs: In unfortunate cases where an accident leads to a fatality, PIP may cover some of the funeral and burial expenses. This support can offer much-needed relief to your family during this challenging time.

Why is Personal Injury Protection Important?

Personal Injury Protection is crucial because it ensures that you and your loved ones are financially safe after an accident. It eliminates the need to establish fault or wait for legal disputes to resolve before receiving assistance. PIP kicks in promptly to support medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, helping you focus on recovery rather than financial worries.

What is Bodily Injury (BI)?

Bodily Injury is a type of auto insurance coverage that pays for injuries you may cause to others in an accident for which you are at fault.

What Does Bodily Injury Cover?

  1. Medical Expenses: it pays for the medical bills of individuals injured in an accident you caused. This includes doctor visits, hospitalization, surgeries, rehabilitation, prescription medications, and other necessary medical treatments.
  2. Lost Wages: In cases where the injured party is unable to work due to accident-related injuries, Bodily Injury coverage can compensate for their lost income. It ensures they can continue to meet their financial obligations during recovery.
  3. Funeral Expenses: Tragically, some accidents result in fatalities. Bodily Injury coverage can help ease the financial burden on the deceased’s family by covering some or all of the funeral and burial expenses.
  4. Legal Fees: In the case of a lawsuit stemming from the accident, BI can also cover the legal fees and representation costs incurred by the injured party.
  5. Pain and Suffering: BI may also provide compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and suffering experienced by the injured party due to the accident.

Why is Bodily Injury Coverage Important?

Bodily Injury coverage is essential because it helps protect your assets and financial well-being in the event of an accident where you are at fault. It ensures that you can fulfill your responsibility to compensate others for their injuries and damages, preventing you from incurring substantial out-of-pocket expenses or legal consequences.

What’s the Difference Between Personal Injury Protection and Bodily Injury?

PIP and bodily injury insurance coverage in car accidents

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Bodily Injury Liability are two essential components of auto insurance, each serving distinct purposes. Let’s discuss the specifics:

Coverage Focus

PIP is designed to provide coverage for you and your passengers, irrespective of who is at fault in an accident. It’s often referred to as “no-fault” insurance because it covers injuries and related expenses for those covered under your policy.

In contrast, Bodily Injury insurance (BI) comes into play when you are at fault in an accident. It primarily covers injuries and damages sustained by other parties involved in the accident. BI is often termed “third-party” insurance because it focuses on providing compensation to others harmed by your actions.

Coverage Scope

PIP is comprehensive in scope. It covers a wide range of injury-related expenses, including medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and non-medical expenses like childcare or house cleaning.

BI coverage specifically addresses injuries and damages sustained by others involved in an accident where you are at fault. While it covers the injured party’s medical expenses and lost wages, it does not extend to your own injuries or losses.

Fault Consideration

PIP operates under a “no-fault” principle, meaning that it provides coverage regardless of fault. Even if you were responsible for the collision, you can still receive PIP benefits to cover your injuries and expenses

In contrast, BI insurance is “fault-based.” It only comes into play when you are found at fault in an accident. In such cases, BI coverage compensates the other parties involved who have suffered injuries or losses due to your actions. Your BI coverage generally does not apply if you are not at fault.

State Coverage Limits

The requirement for PIP coverage varies by state. Some states, like Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, and Utah, mandate PIP as part of their auto insurance policies. In these “no-fault” states, PIP is compulsory, and as a driver, you must carry a minimum level of coverage, often defined by a specific dollar amount.

Bodily Injury liability insurance is mandatory in almost all states. However, the specific minimum liability insurance requirements vary from state to state. Each state sets its own regulations to ensure that drivers have a basic level of financial responsibility in case of accidents. BI coverage limits are presented in a three-number format, such as “25/50/25.” Let’s break this down:

  • The first number represents the maximum coverage per person injured in an accident.
  • The second number denotes the total coverage for all injuries in a single accident.
  • The third number is for property damage liability, a separate coverage type.

For instance, if your policy has a 25/50 BI limit, it means that it will provide coverage of up to $25,000 for injuries sustained by one person in an accident and up to $50,000 in total for injuries to all parties involved in a single accident, in addition to the required property damage coverage.

PIP vs BI – Which Insurance is Better?

The choice between PIP and BI depends on your specific needs and circumstances:

  • Many drivers opt for both PIP and BI to ensure comprehensive coverage. PIP takes care of you and your passengers, while BI handles the expenses of others when you’re at fault.
  • Check your state’s insurance requirements. In “no-fault” states, PIP is often mandatory, and you’ll need to carry a minimum amount. In other states, BI is a legal requirement.
  • If you already have robust health insurance that covers accident-related medical expenses, you might lean more toward BI. This could prevent redundancy and save on premiums.
  • PIP provides peace of mind by ensuring prompt assistance and eliminating the need to establish fault. If you want to focus on your recovery and not worry about the complexities of fault determination, PIP can be a valuable choice.

So, which one is better? Well, it depends on your situation. It’s a good idea to check your state’s requirements and assess your needs to decide what works best for you.

Minimum Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Limits in New York

In New York, bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability are typically characterized by minimum coverage limits known as 25/50/10. These coverage limits include:

$25,000 for Non-Fatal Bodily Injuries or $50,000 for Fatal Injuries

This means your insurance will cover up to $25,000 for each person’s non-fatal injuries in an accident. If the injury results in someone’s death, the coverage increases to $50,000. It’s designed to compensate individuals who are hurt in an accident you’re responsible for.

$50,000 for Non-Fatal and $100,000 for Fatal Injuries Involving Two or More

If an accident involves injuries to two or more people, your insurance will provide up to $50,000 per person for non-fatal injuries. If there are fatalities among two or more accident victims, the coverage increases to $100,000. This coverage ensures you can compensate multiple individuals affected by the accident.

$10,000 for Property Damage Liability

This portion of your insurance is set at $10,000 to compensate a third party for damage to their property, such as their vehicle or other belongings. It helps cover the expenses associated with repairing or replacing the damaged property.

Minimum Personal Injury Protection Coverage Limits in New York

In New York State, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is a crucial element of auto insurance. It is specifically designed to offer financial protection to both individuals and their passengers in the unfortunate event of a car accident, regardless of fault. Let’s explore the PIP coverage limits in New York and the options available to extend your coverage.

Minimum PIP Coverage in New York

The minimum PIP coverage amount required in New York is $50,000. This means your PIP insurance will cover up to $50,000 for various expenses resulting from injuries sustained in a car accident. These expenses typically include medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and other economic losses.

Additional PIP Coverage

New York drivers have the option to enhance their PIP coverage by adding what’s known as “Additional PIP” to their policy. When you choose additional PIP, you effectively double your PIP coverage. This means you’ll have a total of $100,000 in coverage. This additional coverage can be immensely valuable, especially in situations involving severe injuries and extended medical treatment.

Optional Basic Economic Loss (OBEL) Coverage

In addition to the standard PIP coverage, New York drivers can also opt for “Optional Basic Economic Loss” (OBEL) coverage. OBEL offers an extra layer of financial protection, providing an additional $25,000 in basic economic loss coverage.

What Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Not Cover?

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance provides valuable coverage for individuals involved in car accidents, but it’s essential to be aware of its limitations. Here’s a breakdown of what PIP insurance does not cover:

1. Economic Losses Beyond the $50,000 Limit: PIP insurance has a cap of $50,000 for covering economic losses resulting from a serious injury. If your expenses exceed this limit, PIP won’t cover the additional costs.

2. Property Damage: PIP insurance is focused on personal injuries and medical expenses. It does not pay for property damage, such as car repairs for your damaged vehicle or compensation for the other driver’s vehicle damage.

3. Coverage for Motorcyclists: PIP insurance typically does not extend to motorcyclists. If you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, you may need to explore other insurance options or legal avenues for compensation.

4. Non-Economic Damages: While PIP covers medical bills and economic losses, it generally does not address emotional distress, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring, and disfigurement.

What Does Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Not Cover?

Bodily Injury Liability insurance offers protection for injuries you might be responsible for in accidents where you are at fault. However, there are specific situations and types of damages that Bodily Injury Liability insurance typically does not cover:

1. Your Own Injuries: BI insurance does not cover your own injuries or medical bills resulting from an accident, even if you are at fault. You would need other forms of insurance, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), for coverage of your injuries.

2. Your Vehicle Damage: BI insurance is focused on bodily injuries to individuals, not on property damage. It does not cover repairing or replacing your vehicle or other property.

3. Other Driver’s Vehicle Damage: BI insurance generally does not cover damages sustained by the other driver’s vehicle. Vehicle damage is typically addressed through your Property Damage Liability insurance or collision coverage if you have it.

4. Non-Bodily Injury Damages: BI insurance typically does not cover non-bodily injury damages, such as damage to reputation, emotional distress, or pain and suffering.

Additional Auto Insurance Coverage You Might Consider

Additional auto insurance coverage, often referred to as optional or supplemental coverage, are policy add-ons that offer extra protection beyond the standard coverage included in your basic auto insurance policy. 

These additional coverages are designed to address specific risks or needs that your primary policy may not adequately cover. Here are some common types of additional auto insurance coverage you might consider:

  1. Collision Coverage: Collision coverage is a crucial component of auto insurance that steps in to cover the cost of repairing or replacing your own auto vehicle in case of an accident, irrespective of who is at fault. It’s valuable for protecting your investment in your car. 
  2. Comprehensive Coverage: This insurance provides protection for damages to your auto vehicle that are not related to a collision. It encompasses situations like theft, vandalism, damage caused by severe weather, and collisions with animals.
  3. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage is crucial if you’re in an accident with a driver who has insufficient or no insurance. It helps cover your medical bills and vehicle repairs.
  4. Gap Insurance: When you’re leasing or financing a vehicle, gap insurance bridges the gap between your car’s value and the amount you owe on your lease or loan in case your vehicle is declared as a total loss due to an accident.
  5. Rental Reimbursement: This insurance covers the cost of a rental car when your vehicle is undergoing repairs due to an accident.
  6. Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance coverage provides help in case your vehicle breaks down. This includes services like towing, battery jump-starts, tire changes, and fuel delivery.
  7. Rideshare Insurance: If you work as a driver for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft, this coverage ensures you’re covered while using your vehicle for business purposes.

Seek Legal Advice And Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident

At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, our seasoned car accident lawyers are committed to assisting individuals affected by personal injury accidents in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and the broader New York City Metro Area. With more than 15 years of unwavering advocacy, our personal injury law firm is here to support you.

Why Choose Us?

✅ Proven Results

Our track record speaks volumes. We take pride in achieving outstanding results, securing compensation exceeding $100 million for our clients in New York City.

✅ Efficient Paperwork Handling

We take care of all the necessary paperwork on your behalf, ensuring it’s filed correctly and within the relevant timelines. We aim to minimize your administrative burden while maximizing your chances of a successful claim.

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We understand the financial burden of legal representation. Our New York trial attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay us unless we successfully win your case.

✅ Free Consultations

Schedule a free consultation with us online or call our toll-free number at 917-540-8728. Our team is ready to engage in a detailed discussion about your case, respond to your inquiries, and offer valuable insights into your legal options.


What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

Personal injury protection, commonly known as PIP, operates under a ‘no-fault’ insurance system. This means that regardless of who is at fault in an accident, PIP covers your medical costs, lost earnings, and other related expenses.

What Is the Minimum Bodily Injury Liability Coverage in New York?

In New York, you must maintain a minimum Bodily Injury Liability Coverage of $25,000 for injuries (not resulting in death) to one person in a single accident and $50,000 for injuries leading to the death of one person in one accident.

What is the Difference Between Bodily Injury And PIP?

The key distinction between bodily injury (BI) and PIP insurance is that PIP covers injuries to you and others in the accident, regardless of fault. In contrast, BI covers injuries you cause to others if you’re at fault in the accident.

Which States Require PIP Coverage in 2023?

As of 2023, the following 12 states require Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, such as Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kansas, North Dakota, and Utah.

Note that PIP requirements and regulations may change over time. So, it’s important to stay updated on your specific state’s laws. You can also contact your insurance company for confirmation.

Do I Need PIP Coverage if I Already Have Health Insurance?

Yes, you should have PIP coverage even if you already have regular health insurance. Personal Injury Protection is a specific form of auto insurance that provides valuable benefits beyond what your health insurance covers.

Does New York Require PIP?

Yes, New York requires drivers to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of the state’s no-fault insurance system. Drivers must maintain a minimum of $50,000 in PIP coverage to cover medical expenses and economic losses arising from car accidents, regardless of fault.


Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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