It is a sad situation when a victim of a serious car accident discovers that their auto insurance policy doesn’t provide them with the type of protection they need. Or, if the insurance company for the person at fault denies coverage for the collision.
Although the law requires that all Texas drivers have auto liability insurance, not everyone follows the law. In some instances, many drivers only carry the minimum auto insurance requirement, which is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. If you are involved in a car accident, your medical bills alone can exceed $30,000.00. Your auto liability insurance policy alone won’t help you recover those medical costs if the driver at fault either didn’t carry insurance or didn’t carry enough to cover your damages. In that situation, if all you have is liability insurance, through no fault of your own you would be on the hook for your own damages, like your medical bills. That’s where Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage comes into play.
Even if you’re the most learned and careful driver on the road, your skills won’t protect you alone from other drivers with no insurance or not enough insurance. You should consider UM/UIM (uninsured/underinsured) auto coverage. With UM/UIM coverage, you’ll be able to recover your losses such as medical bills or lost wages.
In Uninsured Motorist coverage in an auto policy, you are essentially buying auto insurance for another driver who causes an accident and did not have auto liability insurance of their own. In Underinsured Motorist coverage, claims are paid up to the policy limit of the underinsured driver and the insurance company pays the balance of the coverage that you purchased in your policy. In other words, if the underinsured driver was only able to cover $10,000 in your damages, and your policy limits for underinsured drivers with your insurance company covers damages up to $60,000, the insurance company is required to pay the remaining amount of damages after the first $10,000 is collected from the other driver’s insurance.
UM/UIM insurance also covers you and any household family member riding in any car as well as any non-family members riding in your insured auto. Most UM/UIM policies will provide coverage for hit-and-run accidents, as long as there was physical contact between the vehicles and the accident was promptly reported. Typically, UM/UIM coverage will pay for losses including medical bills, personal injuries, lost wages and property damage.
Although Texas law does not require you to purchase UM/UIM coverage, your insurance company must get you to sign a valid written waiver in order to exclude the coverage from your policy. Many drivers carry UM/UIM coverage without even knowing it, and some drivers think they have it even if they don’t. Those who choose not to buy UM/UIM coverage should think again. It is usually quite inexpensive, even as little as $43 per year, and can provide much needed coverage if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
So, if you are a Dallas resident, you should check to see if you have UM/UIM insurance coverage. Should the unfortunate happen and you are involved in a wreck on the Dallas roadways, UM/UIM coverage will provide you some insurance protection if the driver at fault is either uninsured or underinsured.