Snellings Law PLLC Attorneys are Personal Injury Trial Lawyers

Insurance: Menu à la Car

(or “To PIP or not to PIP”)

Texas law may require all drivers to carry insurance, but can’t mandate that they understand the coverage. We find that many of our clients are unclear of their protection even after an accident and need us to explain their policies.

I get it – it’s confusing.

Between acronyms, numbers, and technical jargon, choosing a plan can make your head spin. It’s like ordering off a French menu: pick what looks good and affordable, then cross your fingers and hope for the best.

snellings law injury attorney insurance claims

I personally prefer BBQ, or when my daughter turns our home into a diner (as she did for our anniversary). In fact, I don’t understand a lick of French…but after law school, I speak fluent legalese and can help you interpret insurance clauses.

One of the most basic (but important) choices you’ll face regarding coverage is between “Personal Injury Protection” (PIP) or “Medical Payment” (Med Pay) provisions.

On the surface they seem similar — and Med Pay is often slightly cheaper — but PIP is by far the better selection and the one you should pick every time.

Both policies will pay medical expenses, but PIP coverage also includes lost wages (or replacement of services where the injured party is a homemaker and/or childcare provider), and isn’t subject to “subrogation”.

Subrogation is a fancy word for “payback” and is a harsh aspect of Med Pay provisions.

With subrogation, Med Pay insurers are entitled to first dibs on any settlement check or verdict you’re awarded for your injuries. They get their outlays back before you receive dime one. With PIP coverage, you keep it all.

Here is a quick comparison of insurance policies:

Coverage PIP Policy Med Pay Policy
Medical Bills
Lost Wages / Services
Not Covered
Payback Required

Returning to the menu analogy, Personal Injury Protection is like a meal deal that includes dessert and a doggy bag, while Medical Payment policies offer neither. Ordering PIP coverage is a no-brainer.

The good news is that Texas insurers are required to offer Personal Injury Protection as the default policy choice. You need to intentionally opt-out for Med Pay or neither coverage, which some do to save a few bucks. That decision often proves costlier in the long run.

The minimum PIP coverage is $2,500/person but I recommend carrying $5-10,000 (it’s a helpful cushion in a time of need for only a small bump in your premium).

If you want to learn more, check out our Instagram post on the subject:

…and if you have other questions about coverage, compensation, or your rights following an accident, feel free to call us for a free consultation. We’re happy to help out before or after an injury.


BONUS: Did you know that snails in France are required to paint an “S” on the side of their vehicles? That way, pedestrians can spot them and say, “Look at that s-car-go!” 🐌🚗


That’s what my daughter calls a “dad joke”. 😉


Tune in next time when we discuss uninsured/underinsured coverage.