How to Understand PIP Coverage In Denver

How to Understand PIP Coverage In Denver

Living in Denver offers a vibrant lifestyle with stunning mountain views and a thriving urban core. However, navigating car insurance options can be confusing, especially with acronyms like PIP thrown into the mix.

This comprehensive guide dives deep into Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage in Denver, Colorado, explaining its purpose, coverage details, and how it works in the state’s unique, “fault-based” auto insurance system.

Understanding PIP Insurance: What Does It Cover?

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is an optional car insurance coverage that helps pay for medical expenses and other losses incurred after a car accident, regardless of who caused it. While not mandatory in Colorado, PIP can be a valuable addition to your auto insurance policy, particularly for those concerned about unexpected medical bills or lost wages following an accident.

Here’s a breakdown of the main benefits typically covered by PIP:

  • Medical Expenses: PIP helps cover a significant portion of medical bills resulting from a car accident, including doctor visits, hospital stays, surgery, rehabilitation, and therapy. Coverage limits vary depending on your policy, but can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands.
  • Lost Wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, PIP may reimburse you for a portion of your lost income. This can be a crucial financial safety net during your recovery period.
  • Funeral Expenses: Some PIP policies extend coverage to help cover funeral expenses in the tragic event of a car accident fatality.
  • Replacement Services: PIP may cover the cost of household chores or childcare services you’re unable to perform due to your injuries.

It’s important to note that PIP coverage limits and exclusions can vary depending on your insurance provider and the specific policy you choose. Always carefully review your policy documents to understand the details of your coverage.

How Does PIP Work in Denver’s “Fault-Based” Auto Insurance System?

Unlike some states that follow a “no-fault” system where PIP automatically pays for medical bills regardless of fault, Colorado operates under a “fault-based” system. Here’s what this means for PIP:

  • Determining Fault: Following an accident, the insurance companies involved will investigate to determine who is at fault. This typically involves reviewing police reports, witness statements, and evidence from the scene.
  • Primary Coverage: The at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy becomes the primary source of compensation for the injured party. This includes covering medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages sustained.
  • PIP as a Secondary Source: If the at-fault driver’s liability coverage limits are insufficient to cover all your expenses, your PIP coverage kicks in as a secondary source of payment.
  • Medical Bills and Treatment: You can initially seek medical treatment and bill the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If their coverage reaches its limit, your PIP policy can help cover remaining medical bills.
  • Benefits Regardless of Fault: One key advantage of PIP is that you can still receive some benefits from your own policy, even if you were the at-fault driver in the accident. This can be helpful for covering deductibles or copays associated with the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.

Understanding Stacking: Some PIP policies offer “stacking” provisions. This allows you to combine the PIP coverage limits from multiple policies within your household, potentially increasing your overall available benefits. For example, if you and your spouse both have PIP coverage on your separate vehicles, and one policy has a $10,000 limit and the other has a $5,000 limit, stacking allows you to access a combined total of $15,000 for PIP benefits.

Factors to Consider When Choosing PIP Coverage in Denver

Deciding whether to add PIP to your Denver car insurance policy depends on several factors:

  • Cost: Adding PIP will increase your insurance premium. Consider your budget and risk tolerance when making this decision.
  • Health Insurance Coverage: If you have a comprehensive health insurance plan with low deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, the need for PIP might be less significant.
  • Employment Benefits: Some employers offer disability insurance that can help cover lost wages if you’re injured in an accident.
  • Driving Habits: If you are a frequent driver or commute long distances, the risk of an accident increases, making PIP more attractive.

Additional Considerations for PIP Insurance in Denver

  • Med Pay vs. PIP: Some insurance companies offer Med Pay coverage as an alternative to PIP. While similar, Med Pay has some key differences – it typically covers a broader range of medical expenses but doesn’t cover lost wages or replacement services. Carefully compare PIP and Med Pay options before making a decision. 
  • Minimum Required Auto Insurance in Colorado: It’s important to remember that PIP is optional in Colorado. The state only mandates minimum liability coverage, which includes:
    • Bodily Injury Liability: Covers medical expenses and other damages sustained by the injured party (up to the policy limit) if you are found at fault for an accident. This minimum coverage amount is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
    • Property Damage Liability: Covers repairs or replacement costs for property damaged in an accident you cause (up to the policy limit). The minimum coverage amount for property damage liability in Colorado is $15,000 per accident.
  • Medical Payments Coverage Limits: PIP coverage limits vary depending on your policy. Standard limits in Colorado typically range from $2,500 to $10,000 per person per accident. However, higher coverage limits are often available. Choosing the right limit depends on your risk tolerance and potential medical expenses in case of an accident.
  • Coordination of Benefits (COB): This provision in your PIP policy outlines how your PIP benefits interact with other insurance coverage you might have, such as health insurance or disability insurance. COB helps prevent duplicate payments and ensures you receive the maximum benefit from all your coverage sources.

Finding the Right PIP Coverage in Denver: Tips and Resources

With a better understanding of PIP insurance and its role in Colorado’s “fault-based” auto insurance system, here are some tips to find the right PIP coverage for your needs:

  • Shop Around and Compare Quotes: Obtain quotes from multiple insurance companies in Denver to compare PIP coverage options and pricing.
  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agent questions about PIP coverage details, limits, exclusions, and how it interacts with your other insurance policies.
  • Consider Your Needs: Evaluate your budget, risk tolerance, and existing health insurance coverage when deciding on the appropriate PIP coverage amount.
  • Review Your Policy Documents: Once you choose a policy, thoroughly review your policy documents to understand the specifics of your PIP coverage, including limits, exclusions, and the claims process, especially if you might need the help of a trustworthy Denver personal injury lawyer on your side. 

Additional Resources:

  • Colorado Division of Insurance: – This website provides information on car insurance requirements in Colorado, including PIP coverage.
  • National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC): – The NAIC offers consumer resources and guides on understanding auto insurance options.
  • Independent Insurance Agents Association of Colorado: This association can connect you with a qualified independent insurance agent in Denver who can help you shop for the best PIP coverage.


PIP insurance adds an extra layer of financial protection in case of a car accident in Denver. While not mandatory in Colorado, understanding PIP’s benefits and limitations helps you make informed decisions about your car insurance coverage. By carefully considering your needs, comparing quotes, and consulting with a qualified insurance agent, you can choose the right PIP coverage amount to ensure adequate financial support in the event of an accident.

Remember, prioritizing your safety on the road is paramount, but being prepared with the right insurance coverage provides peace of mind knowing you’ll have financial resources to recover in case of an unexpected incident.


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