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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage

14 Dec 2017  | P&K Law Firm  | Car Accidents

car insurance

In the state of Texas, everybody is supposed to have car insurance. If you go down to get your car inspected, if you go renew your registration, or if you want to get a driver’s license. Just about anything, they will ask you for proof of insurance. Everybody should have insurance but the reality of it is that there is about 25 percent of people driving around out there who do not have any insurance at all.

There are different types of car insurance. 

Liability

This is the one that the state of Texas says you have to have. Liability insurance covers you if you cause a wreck. The minimum in the state of Texas is $30,000 which means that if you are in involved in a car wreck and it was your fault, your insurance company will pay for the damage to the other car and to the people who were harmed up to the limits of your policy. If it’s a minimum limits policy it will be $30,000 on the personal injuries caused and $25,000 on the property damage. What if there are multiple people injured in the wreck? The $30,000 limit is doubled to $60,000. So, it is $30,000 per person involved or $60,00 per occurrence.

The reality is that most wrecks that are of any significance, they cause damages that are more than the $30,000. If you get hurt, let’s say you have to go to the doctor, ER visit, or if you hurt your back and may need injections. Your medical expenses are going to add up above $30,000 pretty darn quickly. So, if the person who caused the wreck that you were in only has minimum limit liability policy the most you could ever be able to recover in a claim against that person is $30,000. Technically, you could sue them and you could get a big judgment against them but when you go to collect it, the only thing that’s going to be there is the $30,000 in insurance and then whatever other assets that person may have. Realistically speaking, if someone is only able to afford a minimum limits policy more likely than not they don’t have any assets that could satisfy your judgment.

So, what do you do in that situation? What if you are in a wreck and someone who caused the wreck caused you to suffer injuries and the value of that claim is above what the insurance limit is of the person who caused it. Well, that’s when you have to look into uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. So, remember the state of Texas requires that you have at least the minimum liability limits of $30,000. Well, the law also says that each insurance policy is to include what’s called uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage.

 

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage

This coverage kicks in when somebody else causes a wreck and they are either uninsured or the insurance that they have is not enough to cover the damages caused. Well, there’s one little catch on that issue. In the statute, it says that the UM UIM coverage can be waived if the person getting the insurance signs a waiver. Unfortunately there’s a lot of insurance agents that just as a matter of course when you go in to get insurance they will give you a quote on liability insurance and then slide the waiver of uninsured-underinsured motorist coverage and then you walk out of there thinking you’ve got full coverage when in fact you don’t have full coverage.

So, make sure you look at your insurance policy. You will have a form in which is your proof of insurance but the thing is that doesn’t tell you what your limits are. You need to go look at the declarations page on your insurance policy and it will tell you how much your coverage is. There will be a part that will talk about liability, property damage, and uninsured-underinsured. Uninsured-underinsured is the one that you’re concerned about because that’s what protects you and your family. If you don’t have that and if you can afford it, it’s only pennies a day to get that extra coverage you should go and talk to your insurance agent and make sure that you get the uninsured-underinsured motorist coverage.

Personal Injury Protection

One other aspect is when you get the UM/UIM coverage there’s also what’s called personal injury protection and that is usually $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 and that coverage is a no-fault coverage whatsoever; if you get hurt in your car, lose time from work, if you have medical expenses. The personal injury protection is something that you get automatically because you pay for it. So, the idea is if you’re going to drive around in the state of Texas and you know there’s 25% of people out there who don’t have any insurance coverage, it’s in your best interest for you and your family to make sure that you have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage

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