You’ve just been in a car accident; thankfully you have insurance! But what if the other driver wasn’t as responsible? There are thousands of uninsured motorists driving on Texas roads every day, and if an uninsured driver causes you serious injuries in an accident, your own insurance may be the only way to get paid.
Coverage Under PIP and UM/UIM Policies
Texas insurance laws require insurance companies to allow motorists to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance and Underinsured (UIM)Motorist insurance. Motorists must reject these options in writing if they don’t want to include them on their policies. However, we strongly encourage you to opt in for this coverage. What are the various types of coverage?
1. Personal Injury Protection
PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage pays for reasonable and necessary medical expenses, as well as other damages, such as lost wages. This coverage is available regardless of who caused the accident. The typical amount of PIP coverage offered is $2,500.00. However, higher PIP coverage can be offered for little additional premium.
2. Uninsured Motorist
UM (Uninsured motorist) coverage covers your damages if the other driver is uninsured. So, for example, if you were hit by a driver that had no insurance and you were injured, you could make a claim against your own policy for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages.
3. Underinsured Motorist
UIM (Underinsured motorist) coverage is also available to provide coverage if the other driver’s insurance doesn’t cover the full extent of your damages. So, for example,if the other driver only carried minimal limits and you had a very serious injury, you may be entitled to make a claim against your own insurance policy for additional damages in addition to the maximum you have collected from the at fault driver. As with PIP coverage, it costs very little in additional premiums to purchase additional UM/UIM coverage.
The minimum amount of liability coverage required by law in Texas is $30,000.00. Often, we see cases where the insurance agent has encouraged the customer to only purchase minimal limits liability coverage, but waive the UM/UIM/PIP.
This is NOT IN YOUR BEST INTEREST.
Yes, you must carry liability coverage in the event you are at fault and cause injury and damage to another motorist, but think about the purpose of insurance… to protect yourself from unintended and unforeseen events. So, I strongly encourage you to not only purchase PIP/UM/UIM coverage, but please consider paying a slightly higher premium in order to PROTECT YOURSELF against another driver’s carelessness.
Don’t be like so many people we see in our practice who were trying to save money or did what the insurance agent recommended only to find themselves in a serious accident with insufficient insurance to cover their injuries and damages.
Another important thing to know is that if you find yourself in a position where you need to file a claim against your own insurance company is to understand that your own insurance company owes you the duty to deal with you in good faith.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Therefore, you may find yourself in a position to need to hire a Texas personal injury lawyer who is experienced in handling uninsured and underinsured motorist claims.