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Austin Insurance Law Blog

What is uninsured motorist coverage and must I carry it?

Getting struck by a motorist who does not carry the proper insurance can add more frustration and anger on top of the damage your automobile has sustained. After all, the law requires motorists to carry insurance in the event of an accident, so it feels wrong that the at-fault motorist does not possess insurance to cover your damages. However, Texas drivers do have an available safeguard against uninsured motorists in the form of uninsured motorist coverage.

According to Nerdwallet, uninsured motorist coverage is an additional policy that some insurers offer that covers drivers in the event they are struck by another motorist who does not possess auto insurance. This coverage also may be used if a motorist is the victim of a hit-and-run. If the other party drives away without leaving behind insurance information, uninsured motorist coverage can still cover the damages of the motorist.

What is long-term disability insurance?

Regardless of your age, there is a chance that you could become disabled either through an accident or due to a medical condition. To help plan for your future and ensure you can still take care of your obligations in Texas should you become disabled, you have the option of getting long-term disability insurance. 

According to Insure.com, long-term disability insurance is designed to offer you an income when you cannot work. You can often this insurance as part of your benefits package at work, but you also can buy it privately.

Tactics insurance companies use to delay or deny claims

When you become ill or injured, or your property sustains damage, you look to your insurance provider to cover the cost of care or repair. After all, the whole point of having an insurance policy is to prepare for the time when an accident happens and you need that money back to pay for expenses.

However, insurers see things differently because they are primarily businesses. Their goal is to keep their pockets full. Even the best of companies with high ratings of customer service and satisfaction do not shell out all the money for every claim, or they would go out of business.

Choosing between pension annuities or lump sums

Being laid off in Texas can cause a person to fret about providing for one's self in the future. For example, if you possess a retirement pension at your job, one of your concerns may be whether you can maintain that pension or if you can at least collect on the assets from it. Thanks to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), basic protections for your pension are in place, although whether you can cash out your pension or maintain is still up to the employer who first set up your pension.

According to Findlaw, ERISA sets minimum standards for employers who choose to offer pensions to employees. Pensions are not required under federal law, but employers who offer them must state how long an employee can work at a job before the worker has a non-forfeitable interest in his or her pension. What ERISA does not state, however, is whether a plan can be paid out in a lump sum if the worker leaves the job or if the workplace goes bankrupt or is shut down. A worker may receive a lump sum if the pension plan specifically calls for it and if the worker has met the requirements under the plan.

What happens when you get hit by someone with no insurance?

If another vehicle hits your vehicle in Texas, you have the right to assume they carry proper insurance coverage and can pay for any damages. It is normal to expect the person at fault to cover expenses of an accident, but in some cases, the person that hits you may not have insurance. If this happens, you may feel upset and be unsure what to do. After all, it was not your fault the accident occurred, so why should you have to pay for the damages?

According to HowStuffWorks, because the state requires each driver to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage, anyone who hits you and does not have insurance is breaking the law. That does little to make you feel better when your vehicle is damaged and needs to be fixed. You do have recourse, though.

3 reasons your homeowner's insurance provider may deny your claim

If you own property in the Austin area, chances are high that you have an insurance policy on it. You purchase homeowner's insurance for peace of mind against the unexpected. As long as you pay your premiums, you expect your insurer to cover damage that occurs from fire, storms and other covered catastrophes. You do not anticipate the need to ever file a claim, but you know that it might become unavoidable at some point. 

It is important for you to understand some common reasons insurers deny claims. Insurers must cover legitimate claims, but that does not stop them from looking for ways to deny them to avoid paying. Here are some common reasons for homeowner's insurance claim denials

How can I increase my chances of winning a ERISA suit?

At times, Texas employees may file a claim with their insurer only to see it denied. If your insurance plan is covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), this law provides for you to sue your insurance company in court to try and claim benefits you believe are unjustly being withheld from you. According to Findlaw, however, a plaintiff may miss out on convincing a judge of his or her claim if the judge does not receive the proper documentation.

During a ERISA lawsuit, a judge will consult the file the insurance company possesses on the policy holder to make a decision. This file is composed of all the documents that relate to the policy holder’s insurance plan, as well as insurance claims the policy holder has made, along with denials and subsequent appeals. This file can literally make or break a ERISA case, so any plaintiff wants as much information as possible in the file to support the plaintiff's argument.

Life insurance companies may cut costs at your expense

Families depend on life insurance to survive if something were to happen to one or more breadwinners. Collecting benefits can be the only comfort in a time of mourning and uncertainty. However, some families discover the unfortunate truth: many insurance companies attempt to avoid paying this vital support.

Forbes contributors report that the life insurance industry is struggling financially. Their profits have lagged over the past few years. They are behind in technological tools. Customer satisfaction is low. In an effort to recover, these companies will have to make a few major changes, which could affect Texas beneficiaries for better or worse.

3 things to do if your health insurance claim is denied

You expect your health insurance provider to pick up at least some of your medical claim, whether it is for an emergency operation or a routine visit to the doctor. But sometimes that is not the case. In fact, according to Forbes, 200 million health insurance claims are denied each year. That is a disheartening statistic that you may be a part of.

How do you deal with a health insurance claim denial? Is there any way to appeal one? Read below for a guide to responding to a rejected health insurance claim.

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Jon Michael Smith Attorney

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