The Hard Questions You Need to Ask Over the Holidays
Holidays are of course the time to celebrate time with loved ones. They are often the only time that families get a chance to spend time together. Unfortunately tragedies do happen. Because we can't control the actions of others, it's important to have a plan in place in case of the worst case.
Ask if Your Loved Ones Carry UM/UIM Coverage on their Car InsuranceNot all car insurance is created equal. Regardless of the provider you choose, it's important to make sure you have coverage under UM/UIM. Did you know that estimates show 1 in 5 drivers in Texas are uninsured? That makes the odds of getting in a crash with someone who has no coverage of their own, very likely. In order to recover any money from them, it would require suing the individual. Unfortunately, they may have chosen not to purchase car insurance, and drive illegally because they couldn't afford car insurance. That person could carry the minimum liability insurance, which may not be enough to cover your injuries.
Purchasing UM or UIM coverage means that you have protection in the event of a serious accident. Although it is the job of adjusters to make sure that insurance companies pay out as little as possible on claims, help from a lawyer in a situation like this should give you peace of mind that your needs can be met with UM/UIM coverage. When you are visiting with loved ones, let them know how much it matters to you that they are safe and healthy - encourage them to take a look at their car insurance policy to make sure that they carry protection in the event of a crash with an uninsured driver.
Ask if Your Loved Ones Carry PIP CoverageOnly liability insurance is required in Texas. PIP insurance, or Personal Injury Protection Coverage isn't required in this state. That insurance provides coverage when you need compensation for injuries, lost income, medical care, regardless of who caused the accident.
What insurance is required? *The current minimum liability limits are $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage.* It won*t cover you when you need to replace your car or pay for your injuries. Liability insurance only protects you from the possibility of the other driver suing you when you cause a crash.
Many other states require vehicle owners and operators to carry personal injury protection coverage. That's because it covers vital needs such as medical payments, plus 80 percent of lost income. It can cover medical and wages for the driver, vehicle passengers, and other injured people (regardless of who caused the accident.) Family members may have chosen to opt out of the coverage to save money. Ask them if they have, and if at all possible, see that they carry personal injury protection in the event of a serious accident.
If Your Aging Relatives Could Be Driving Risks it May Be Time to TalkMany aging people in Texas live too far from public transportation to really make good use of it, and fear the isolation of giving up their ability to drive. Unless your parents are completely incapable of driving, they don*t have to give up entirely. You may suggest that they limit their driving to short trips during non-peak hours. These could be trips to the grocery store during the day. Their trips could be limited to periods of lower stress for driving.
Ask if Your Loved Ones have End of Life InstructionsUnfortunately people of all ages and health die on Central Texas roads each year. If someone you love, such as siblings or cousins have people that depend on them, ask them to see if they have any end of life plans in case a traumatic and unexpected disaster occurs.
Most importantly, those with dependents should consider the application of a will to provide ongoing instructions of their wishes on how those entities should receive their needs. A few examples could include children, pets. They may consider the application of a living will which will provide instructions for which life sustaining treatments they may want, including life support, medicines, and resuscitation. It should include a power of attorney, someone they love and trust to make healthcare decisions for them.
If an unexpected disaster happens - make sure your family has the tools to make the best decisions for you and your care.