Like every other state, Texas requires motorists to maintain a minimum level of liability insurance to lawfully operate a motor vehicle. This insurance exists to protect other drivers if you are ultimately responsible for an accident. When other drivers fail to carry the appropriate amount of insurance, you might be forced to deal with your damages on your own.
The good news is that there are different types of insurance that could provide you with benefits following an accident with an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist coverage provides compensation when you cannot rely on the liability policy of the other driver. Keep reading to learn more about uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in Texas.
What Is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is an insurance policy separate from the liability coverage the state mandates. It will pay for your damages resulting from a car accident if the other driver lacked any liability insurance.
If you are struck by an uninsured driver, your UM benefits could replace the compensation you would normally recover from the other party’s liability policy. When you file your claim, you could recover damages up to policy limits.
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What Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is a part of a UM policy. While uninsured drivers lack liability coverage, underinsured drivers simply lack enough to cover the damage they have caused in a given accident. Still, underinsured drivers are often in compliance with state minimum levels of coverage. However, the minimum level of liability coverage required by the state is often below the full cost of motor vehicle accident damages.
If you are involved in an accident with an underinsured driver, your UM/UIM policy could still come into play. These policies apply any time the other driver lacks the coverage to pay for all of your damages in an accident. It could bridge the gap between what you pay out of pocket and what is covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
Is UM/UIM Coverage Required under Texas Law?
The only type of auto insurance required under state law is liability coverage. While UM/UIM coverage might not be mandatory, your insurance company must provide it as an option when you purchase your liability coverage. Whether you waive your UM/UIM coverage is up to you.
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What Damages does UM/UIM Cover?
UM/UIM covers many of the same damages as liability insurance. Primarily, this coverage provides you with benefits to pay for your past and future medical care expenses. Your UM/UIM policy could also go toward the cost of replacing or repairing your car after a crash.
It is important to remember that the policyholder is not the only party with the ability to file a UM/UIM claim. If a driver with UM/UIM coverage is in an accident with an uninsured motorist, the other passengers could also be entitled to file a claim. This is true for your passengers, family members, or anyone driving your vehicle with your permission.
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Do I Need UM/UIM Coverage?
The decision to purchase UIM coverage is yours to make. Although, it is helpful to be aware of the risks associated with driving in Texas. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 8.3 percent of all drivers across the state lack any liability insurance.
Given the prevalence of uninsured motorists, the risk of being involved in an accident when the other driver lacks adequate coverage is high. A UM/UIM policy removes the risk of having minimal or no avenues for compensation after a car accident. As a result, purchasing this insurance could give you peace of mind every time you get behind the wheel.
Keep in Mind That Car Accidents Can Result in Thousands of Dollars
The risk of colliding with an underinsured driver could be higher than you might think. The cost of accidents is already significant, with even minor collisions resulting in thousands of dollars in medical and car repair bills.
The need for UM/UIM coverage could become clear in accidents with multiple vehicles. With numerous injured parties involved, even high-limit policies could run out of coverage. UM/UIM benefits could protect a driver in these accidents, too.
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Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage may be helpful after getting hurt in a car accident in Texas. Even if the other driver lacks liability coverage, you could still hold them financially responsible for the accident. There might also be other parties that share the blame that could be liable for your damages.
Let the car accident attorneys of Loncar Lyon Jenkins help you pursue every avenue during your car accident injury claim. Our team has a history of success, and we are proud to advocate for those who need help after an accident. Call in the Strong Arm at (800) 285-4878 right away for your free, no-obligation consultation.