If you live here, you probably know that this state requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of car insurance to cover the damage and injuries they cause to others in a car accident. However, not everyone follows Texas law, and some drivers may have insurance that is not enough to pay for the full extent of the damages they cause. This is where uninsured/underinsured auto insurance comes in handy.
Uninsured/underinsured auto insurance
Uninsured/underinsured auto insurance is a type of optional coverage that you can add to your own auto insurance policy. It protects you and your passengers if you are involved in a car accident with someone who has no insurance or insufficient insurance to cover your losses. It can help you pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage that exceed the other driver’s liability limits.
Texas has an issue
According to the Insurance Information Institute, Texas had the highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation in 2019, with 20.4% of drivers having no insurance at all. This means that if you are in a car accident in Texas, there is a one in five chance that the other driver has no insurance to pay for your damages. Even if the other driver has insurance, they may only have the minimum required by law, which is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, and $25,000 for property damage liability. These limits may not be enough to cover your expenses if you suffer serious injuries or extensive damage to your vehicle.
If you have coverage
You can file a claim with your own insurance company under your uninsured/underinsured auto insurance policy. Your insurer will pay for your damages up to your limits, minus your deductible. You can choose your own limits when you buy your policy, but they cannot exceed your liability limits. For example, if you have $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for liability coverage, you can have up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for uninsured/underinsured auto insurance coverage.
You can also file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover any damages that exceed your uninsured/underinsured auto insurance limits or that are not covered by your policy. However, this may not be very effective if the other driver has no assets or income to pay for a judgment. You may end up spending more money and time on legal fees than what you can recover from the other driver.