When you’re hurt in a car crash that wasn’t your fault, you face big expenses that you might not be able to afford. Your injuries may require expensive medical treatments, and your vehicle may be totaled. Paying for those costs out of pocket can be beyond your financial means, especially if your injuries put you out of work.
You can file a claim against the other driver’s insurance company to recoup some of those costs, but getting compensation isn’t always guaranteed. That’s because at-fault drivers may leave the accident scene, or they may be uninsured or not carry enough insurance coverage to adequately compensate you for your crash-related expenses.
How Many Drivers Are Uninsured in Texas?
Carrying minimum coverage auto insurance is required by law in Texas to drive legally. Unfortunately, underinsured and uninsured drivers are everywhere in Texas, despite being in violation of state laws.
A recent study found that Texas ranks 16th in the U.S. in most uninsured drivers, with around 14 percent of motorists not having valid auto coverage. However, because Texas has such a large population, that means there are millions of uninsured drivers on its roadways at any given time.
What Is the Minimum Legal Amount of Auto Insurance Coverage in Texas?
Although around 86 percent of Texas drivers meet the legal requirement for auto insurance coverage, that doesn’t always mean that you can count on their policies compensating you fairly if you’re involved in a crash caused by a negligent driver.
Texas’s minimum liability coverage breaks down to 30/60/25:
- $30,000 per injured person
- $60,000 total for each accident
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
While those amounts may seem substantial, they are often significantly less than what victims need—especially when they suffer serious injuries and become disabled and unable to work for long periods of time.
Protect Yourself with Underinsured / Uninsured Motorist Coverage
If you’re unable to get the money you need for your accident-related expenses from the person who caused the crash, you still have one more option: filing a claim against your own auto insurance policy. However, most auto insurance policies don’t cover crashes caused by other drivers unless you purchase optional coverage called underinsured / uninsured motorist coverage.
Purchasing this additional coverage typically doesn’t add much to your monthly insurance bill, but it can be extremely beneficial if your accident is caused by one of Texas’s millions of under or uninsured drivers.
How Does Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage Work?
Victims who are injured in auto crashes caused by drivers with adequate insurance coverage can be compensated by filing claims against those drivers’ insurance policies. But that isn’t an option when the other driver can’t be located, doesn’t have insurance, or has a policy that only offers minimum coverage.
If any of those scenarios apply to you, here’s what you can expect:
You’ll submit a claim to your own insurance company—Generally, auto insurance policies only pay out to victims in crashes caused by policyholders. However, having under and uninsured motorist coverage means you can benefit from your own policy.
Your insurance company will investigate the crash—Even if you have under and uninsured motorist coverage, it’s important to remember that your insurance company may still be skeptical of your claim. After all, insurance companies want to protect their own profits—not pay settlements to victims. Having a lawyer on your side can help you get a favorable result.
You’ll get compensation based on your expenses and the other driver’s insurance status—If the other driver can’t be located or doesn’t have insurance, your own policy will kick in to compensate you for your damages. If the other driver’s insurance doesn’t cover all of your expenses, your policy will make up the difference.
Unlike filing a claim against another driver’s insurance company, which falls under Texas’s personal injury statute of two years from the date of the accident, you may have only a matter of days to contact your own insurance provider to utilize your under/uninsured motorist coverage.
Dealing with an Insurance Company? You Need an Austin Auto Accident Lawyer.
Just because you’re adequately covered via under / uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t mean you’re a lock to get full compensation after a crash that wasn’t your fault. In fact, your insurance company may employ the same tactics against you as it would if you caused an accident that resulted in someone else suffering injuries.
Some of those tactics may include:
Getting you to admit fault for the crash—Insurance adjusters are known for befriending victims and getting them to talk about their crashes, only to take their words out of context and use them against them to deny their claims.
Offering you a low-ball settlement—Even if your insurance provider agrees to compensate you for your expenses, the settlement it offers may not be nearly enough to cover your medical bills and lost wages.
Denying your claim altogether—Sometimes insurance companies deny claims with little or no explanation, leaving victims feeling helpless in the face of huge accident-related expenses that they can’t afford.
Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you—especially when it comes to denying you the benefits of a policy you pay for every month. Contact the Law Office of Joel A. Levine and get a free auto accident case evaluation. We’re here to help you get the money you deserve.