Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, as a Backup

Another interesting strategy we found was to up the coverage on our car insurance with something in Texas called "PIP," or Personal Injury Protection. I know it's available in other states under a different name (possibly MedPay), but it is a coverage that will kick in if you are injured in some sort of accident that involves an automobile. It covers expenses regardless of who was at fault in an accident, and in some cases will cover lost wages.

Check out this article by CoverHound. Here's another good article from ValuePenguin.

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We have firsthand knowledge of this one. My husband was hit while cycling back in 2009 or so here in Austin by some chick driving her boyfriend's truck. She was cutting in and out of traffic, then sped up and turned right to go down a street, clipping him on his bike in the process.

It did real damage; he had torn the lining of his hip joint and we were facing about $54,000 in medical bills. Long story short, it required surgery, and even though we had health insurance through our company, we had to pay copays and out-of-pocket expenses that weren't covered by his deductible. We were forced to sue Progressive, the insurer of the vehicle, because they refused to pay, saying that he had run into her and therefore something called "comparative negligence" was at play. It was a lie...she ran into him, and Progressive was just playing hardball. (Progressive can be great if they're YOUR insurer, but if you're ever fighting against them with a legitimate claim, they are BRUTAL and very unfair and will do everything in their power not to pay a claim).

Back to the PIP. We didn't even know we had this coverage...the default was $5,000 and we had just accepted it, with a cost of something like FIVE DOLLARS a month added to our premium. And even though my husband (then fiancée) was on a bicycle, he was involved in an accident that involved a car, so therefore it kicked in.

Anyway, after the economy tanked around 2010, we found ourselves without health insurance again. So we looked into upping our PIP coverage, betting that any major health issues might be related to an auto accident or cycling. We raised the PIP coverage to $25,000, and when I was involved in a hit-and-run in 2011, the PIP kicked in again. 

So if you find yourself without health insurance, you might check out the options associated with your home or auto insurance to see if there is any coverage that might close the gap! It's not a bad idea to have even when you have other insurance...the cost is relatively low and can bring peace of mind.