Is Personal Injury Protection Insurance a Worthwhile Investment in Texas?
In Texas, current insurance laws only require drivers to maintain valid liability insurance to cover $30,000 for injured individuals up to $60,000 per accident as well as $25,000 in coverage for property damage per accident. While personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is not mandatory in the same way as liability insurance, many drivers choose to invest in this additional coverage to protect themselves and others in the event of a serious accident.
What Does Personal Injury Protection Insurance Do?
Personal injury protection insurance covers medical expenses, lost income (up to 80%), and injured person caregiver costs after an accident. Policies may also cover funereal costs in the event of a beneficiary’s death. A policyholder, family members, and vehicle passengers may benefit from this coverage regardless of fault. All Texas insurers must offer PIP insurance to policyholders. In most cases, the protection automatically comes with an insurance policy and covers a minimum of $2,500 in coverage. Policyholders can opt-out of PIP coverage or ask for a higher benefits limit.
Those who do sign a waiver to decline the coverage may face additional out-of-pocket costs after an accident. Personal health insurance will only cover certain medical costs associated with the injury, whereas PIP coverage extends to lost wages and caregiver hiring needs. The insurance protection comes in handy for at-fault drivers who suffer injuries as well as for drivers in accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists.
Texas Car Accident Statistics
The most recent data on uninsured motorists dates back to 2012, but it gives Texas residents an idea about the risk of driving without the protection of PIP and/or uninsured motorist coverage. In that year, one in eight drivers across the country drove without insurance. The percentage of uninsured motorists averaged at 14.7% with a range from 12.2% to 16% from 1992 until 2012, indicating that the amount of uninsured drivers remains within a few percentage points from year to year. In Texas, our uninsured drivers fell in slightly lower than the average at 13.3% but ranked close to the median when compared to other states.
In 2015, one person in Texas was injured every 2 minutes 8 seconds. That year, 246,335 suffered an injury, 17,011 people experienced a serious injury, and 3,531 people died. Hundreds of thousands of people drive on the roadways in Texas every day, including parents dropping off children, professionals, and commercial drivers. With the high injury rate and the possible number of uninsured drivers heading out on the roadway every day, all drivers must consider the risks and benefits of investing in PIP coverage.
If your medical insurance and other policy benefits will not support you, time away from work, and other costs after a serious injury, PIP may offer valuable benefits.
Managing Risk as a Texas Driver
Accidents often happen in the blink of an eye. At-fault drivers may not realize their error until it’s too late. If you’re liable for someone else’s injuries and your own, minimize financial risk by preparing for the unexpected. Those not at fault may never have the opportunity to hold the responsible driver financially liable. Hit and run drivers get away with their crimes too often, and underinsured or uninsured motorists may not own enough assets to cover an injured person’s financial needs.
When you can’t look for coverage elsewhere, your own insurance may offer the only path for recourse. An attorney can help you obtain fair benefits under policy limits, but he or she cannot force an insurer to pay something that the company does not owe within valid policy terms. Consider your own risk, review your insurance policy, and protect yourself and others from the devastating financial costs that often arise after car accidents.