Texas law requires that every vehicle have the minimum insurance coverage before it may be driven on the road. Insurance is even necessary when you are registering your car and even getting it inspected. Why? Because if you get into a car accident, it is important that you have the ability to pay for the damages or injuries you cause. Here is a summary of the types of insurance coverage available and how each one operates.
“Liability coverage” is protection you buy if you cause an accident and either damage someone else’s vehicle or property, or cause an injury. This coverage applies if you are at-fault in the accident and face possible legal liability. Liability coverage is the only type of coverage that is required under Texas law. The minimum coverage requirements are:
- $30,000 per person for bodily injuries;
- $60,000 per accident for bodily injuries; and,
- $25,000 per accident for property damages.
This means that if you cause an accident, your policy will cover you for these types of damages up to the applicable policy limits. You may purchase more coverage if you like, but these are the minimum coverages required in Texas.
Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payments Coverage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Medical Payments Coverage (Med-Pay) is extra coverage you can buy to cover any medical expenses you or your passengers incur as a result of an accident. It is not required that you have this insurance, but it is a good idea. How these coverages work are explained in more detail in my other articles. But, if given a choice, I would recommend that you get PIP rather than Med-Pay.
Uninsured and Under-Insured Coverage.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage is very important. I highly recommend that you get this coverage. Why? Because there are way too many people driving without insurance. For instance, approximately 1 out of 6 vehicles in Dallas are uninsured.
UM coverage protects you in the event your vehicle is damaged or you are injured in an accident with someone who did not have insurance. If that driver was at fault, then these coverages will step in to take the place of the insurance the other driver should have had. The minimum coverage limits are the same as liability coverage; although, you may purchase more coverage if you wish.
Some may say that their vehicle isn’t worth the expense of this extra insurance. Keep in mind that UM coverage not only covers your car, but also covers you and your passengers in case of an injury. I get too many calls from people who get into accidents with uninsured drivers. Then, it’s even worse news when they discover they had no UM coverage either. In these cases, the client usually ends up eating the entire loss.
Comprehensive and Collision Coverage.
These coverages only pay for damages to your car. Injuries are not included. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damages due to a “non-collision” incident. This includes fire, theft, storm damage, vandalism, etc. Collision coverage, on the other hand covers damages caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Both coverages apply regardless of who is at fault.
In conclusion,when purchasing insurance coverage for your vehicle, keep in mind that you are not just insuring a car. You are insuring yourself. And you are also protecting yourself in the event you have an accident with those many drivers out there who do not carry insurance.
And lastly, if you are injured in an accident, call an attorney. It is important that you get proper legal representation so that your attorney can help coordinate all the possible benefits you may be entitled to collect. It is more complicated than you think and there are many pitfalls if you do or say something wrong.