How to Understand Uninsured Motorist Insurance in Texas
Texas law obligates drivers who cause accidents to pay for their own damage and the damage of others involved. Because drivers must meet their obligations to others, the state also requires them to carry auto liability insurance. However, even though it is the law to have car insurance, that doesn’t mean everyone will follow the rules. Therefore, someone might lack coverage even though they owe you for the costs of an accident.
Still, even if someone can’t compensate you for your losses, your own car insurance can benefit you. To have this protection, you’ll need uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Here’s how it works.
Texas’ Required Car Insurance
The minimum liability insurance required by Texas is:
$30,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
$60,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
$25,000 property damage liability coverage
When an accident is your fault, liability coverage will compensate other parties harmed as a result of your mistakes. So, if you hit another car because you swerved into another lane, then this coverage will help you repay the other driver.
Likewise, should the other driver cause the accident, then they are should be the party to repay you. They should have liability insurance that will address these losses. However, if this driver does not have liability insurance, then you might find yourself in a bind.
Still, if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your policy, then you might still have a source of assistance.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
By buying uninsured motorist coverage, you enable your own car insurance to pay for your damage even if an uninsured driver causes the wreck.
An ideal time when this coverage might help you is following a hit-and-run accident. Since the other driver fled the scene, you have no way to collect their insurance information. All the same, your uninsured motorist coverage can step in. It can take the place of liability coverage to pay for your claim.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Coverage for underinsured motorists is a bit different from uninsured coverage. It will pay when an at-fault driver has liability insurance, but lacks the right limits to cover your losses.
When you file this type of claim, you first file against the at-fault party’s liability coverage. Their policy will pay up to its limit. Your underinsured motorist policy can then help you pay your remaining losses.
Texas law requires all auto policies to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. However, it does not require drivers to buy this coverage, so you can choose to decline it. Still, this coverage can be a significant benefit to you should you ever have a wreck involving someone who doesn’t have insurance.