In all standard New Jersey auto insurance policies the insured is provided with coverage called Personal Injury Protection or P.I.P. This coverage (usually between $15,000 and $ 250,000) provides medical benefits to the insured, relatives of his/her household and occupants of the vehicle when involved in a motor vehicle accident that involves an automobile. Under N.J. law “Automobile” means in general “a private passenger automobile not used as a cab or limousine; and a motor vehicle with a pickup body, a delivery sedan, a van, or a panel truck or camper type vehicle not customarily used in the profession or business of the insured.”
So under most circumstances when involved in a motor vehicle accident you will be covered by the P.I.P portion of your insurance policy. But what happens when there is an accident and you are the occupant of some other type of vehicle such as a motorcycle, bus, cab, limousine, or even a work type vehicle. In those instances P.I.P will not be available because those vehicles do not meet the definition of “automobile”.
Under N.J. law your auto insurance policy has another type of coverage known as Extended Medical Expense benefits. This part of your policy covers people injured in vehicles other than those defined as an “automobile”. But when selecting this coverage on your policy you must be very careful. This is because presently there are only two levels of coverage to choose: either $1,000 or $10,000. Obviously this is a significant difference in available benefits if you are in fact injured. When selecting coverage the policy language or an insurance agent might indicate you can save on the cost of your policy by selecting the lower $1,000 limit. But what they may not tell you is that the savings is literally about $5 to $10 per year. Almost no savings at all. So for almost no extra expense it is imperative you select the $10,000 limit and protect yourself and your family when this coverage unfortunately becomes necessary. What might seem like a meaningless decision when selecting your insurance can actually have significant consequences at a later time. Be smart and be careful.