How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance Work in Texas?

PIP insurance is a form of first-party auto insurance coverage, meaning it pays for your medical expenses, lost wages and other costs if you’re injured in a car accident. PIP also covers medical expenses of passengers in your car if they’re hurt due to a collision. In Texas, Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is mandatory, unless you sign a waiver declining the coverage. But remember: Rejecting the coverage may leave you unprotected if you’re injured in an accident and suddenly face high medical bills or lost wages.

How Does PIP Coverage Work in Texas?

Personal injury protection coverage in Texas provides coverage for you and your vehicle’s passengers if there are injuries due to a car accident, no matter which party was at-fault for the collision. PIP covers:

  • All reasonable medical costs, including any necessary surgeries, X-rays, dental or eye treatments, medical procedures, prosthetic devices, and professional nursing
  • Ambulance services
  • Rehabilitation therapies
  • Funeral services
  • Lost income as a result of the accident
  • Replacement of necessary services provided by the injured party, such as family care or household maintenance, if the injured is not an income producer

Texas requires that every driver is offered at least $2,500 of PIP insurance, but you can typically obtain coverage for $5,000 or $10,000 if you want additional financial protection. The policy limit extends to each person injured in an accident, and it refers to the total amount of benefits available across all expenses. So, if you and your spouse were involved in a car accident, and you had $5,000 of PIP insurance in place, your insurance would cover up to $5,000 in expenses for you and $5,000 in expenses for your spouse. If you had broken your leg and were taken to the hospital, that $5,000 could be used for an ambulance trip, receiving X-rays and having your leg treated, but that would be the maximum amount of money available from your PIP coverage across all costs.

How and When to File a PIP Claim in Texas

Personal injury protection insurance only provides coverage for costs that occur within three years of an accident, but we recommend that you report all injuries and expenses to the insurer as soon as you’re aware of them.

When filing a claim, make to sure include all relevant receipts, bills, documentation of payments and other associated documents to help ensure it’s processed quickly. Depending on the type of expense, a PIP claim will provide different levels of reimbursement:

  • PIP insurance pays for 100% of the costs of medical treatment, ambulance services and funeral expenses. It’s important to provide documentation of all such treatments and their cost, as well as obtain documentation from the appropriate service provider demonstrating that these were related to the car accident. Otherwise, you may not obtain full reimbursement for a claim.
  • PIP will only cover 80% of lost wages due to an accident and will often require proof of income prior to the collision, as well as proof that injuries were directly associated with the loss of income.
  • Similarly, PIP covers 80% of expenses related to hiring any necessary caregiver while injured.

How Much Does PIP Insurance Cost in Texas?

The cost of personal injury protection insurance in Texas will vary based upon where you live, the amount of coverage purchased and your driving history. However, the cost of PIP insurance typically increases a modest amount if you purchase a higher level of coverage than the $2,500 minimum available. As you see from the sample quotes below, a driver with the state’s minimum liability insurance requirements could pay less than $39 per month to add $10,000 in PIP coverage.

No PIP Coverage$2,500 PIP$5,000 PIP$10,000 PIP
Cost of PIP$0$20.48$28.05$38.91
Total Monthly Premium$101.24$121.72$129.29$140.15

Unlike true no-fault states, if you reject PIP coverage in Texas, it won’t impact your liability insurance premiums. This is because Texas doesn’t have a tort threshold that would restrict your ability to bring a lawsuit against another party in an accident. Tort thresholds are often part of the law in no-fault states that require PIP insurance, as they limit lawsuits to only those accidents in which injuries are relatively significant.

MedPay vs Personal Injury Protection

Insurance companies in Texas aren’t required to offer medical payments coverage, also called MedPay, as they are with PIP insurance. If your insurer does offer both alternatives, you’ll only be able to choose one, as Texas law prohibits them from both being included on an auto insurance policy.

MedPay is similar to PIP insurance in that it covers medical expenses, hospital bills and similar costs related to injuries from car accidents. And MedPay will cover expenses no matter what party was at-fault, also similar to PIP coverage. However, PIP insurance also covers lost wages and reimbursement for certain services that MedPay does not cover. So, for example, if you were injured severely enough in a car collision that you missed two weeks of work, PIP would reimburse you for lost wages, while MedPay would not. Therefore, for similar levels of coverage, MedPay will be less expensive, as it’s essentially one component of PIP insurance.

In addition, MedPay in Texas is subject to subrogation, while PIP coverage is not. So, say you had $5,000 of MedPay coverage, which was used to pay for hospital bills after an accident. If you received a $10,000 settlement from the insurer of the other party involved in the accident, you would have to reimburse your own insurer for the $5,000 of MedPay used. However, if you had $5,000 of PIP coverage, you would be able to keep the entire sum.

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