Personal Injury Protection Rejection

Someone in Weatherford, Aledo, Azle, Brock, Hudson Oaks, Annetta, Mineral Wells, Cool, Millsap, Peaster, Poolville, Whitt, Lipan, and other communities in Texas probably does not know very much about Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on their automobile insurance policy. One of the things they should know is that it is a coverge they have automatically unless they reject it in writing.
The Texas Insurance Code, Section 1952.152(a) says:
An insurer may not deliver or issue for delivery in this state an automobile liability insurance policy, including a policy provided through the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association under Chapter 2151, that covers liability arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of any motor vehicle unless the insurer provides personal injury protection coverage in the policy or supplemental to the policy.
Subpart (b) of this same section says:
The coverge required by this subchapter does not apply if any insured named in the insurance policy rejects the coverage in writing. Unless the named insured requests in writing the coverage required by this subchapter, the insurer is not required to provide that coverage in or supplemental to a reinstated insurance policy or renewal insurance policy if the named insured rejected the coverage in connection with that insurance policy or an insurance policy previously issued to the insured by the same insurer or by an affiliated insurer.
Reading the above sounds well and good – but what if the insurance policy was purchased over the internet? If it was purchased over the internet, which a lot of policies are, how does the “rejection in writing” work for the PIP?
At a minimum the insurance company needs to show that it is the insured that made the rejection which is usually done by an electronic signature.
The Texas Department of Insurance put out a rather vague bulletin concerning this issue. The bulletin says they are adopting the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act.
The Texas Department of Insurance bulletin says, “Texas UETA creates a statutory structure in Texas that supports the use of electronic signatures and electronic records in everyday public and business undertakings. Texas UETA addresses the effect of electronic transactions as follows:
a. A record or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability because it is in electronic form.
b. A contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation.
c. If a law requires a record to be in writing, an electronic record satisfies the law.
d. If a law requires a signature, an electronic signature satisfies the law.”
The UETA is found in the Texas Business & Commerce Code, Chapter 43. “a” through “d” above is found in Section 43.007.
Chapter 43 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code is a good law to know, if for no other reason than to see laws keeping up with technology. As for the PIP rejection issue in this article, the issue that could still be contested is whether or not it was one of the named insured’s who completed the electronic rejection.
Chapter 2151 mentioned above deals with the type of insurance that is provided to individuals who have been refused insurance coverge due to their driving history or some related driving issue. Section 2151.102(b) says:
An applicant is not eligible for insurance through the association unless the applicant and the servicing agent certify as part of the application to the association that the applicant has been rejected for insurance by at least two insurers that are authorized to engage in business in this state and that are writing automobile insurance in this state.
As a final point. PIP coverage is required by Texas Insurance Code, Section 1952.153, to be in atleast a minimum amount of $2,500. Some insurance carriers will allow their insured to purchase as much as $100,000 of PIP coverage.