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Uninsured & Underinsured Coverages 101

Liability insurance protects others from your driving, where uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your family from everyone on the road.

Texas law requires drivers to have automobile liability insurance, which is the insurance that pays for the other person’s expenses if you cause an accident. Minimum liability coverage in Texas is $30, 000 per injured person, with up to maximum of $60,000 for all injured persons in the same accident, and $25,000 for property damage. The shorthand for this coverage is 30/60/25.

In theory, every driver on Texas highways is covered by liability insurance to protect you and other drivers. In reality, some people drive without insurance or hit and run after an accident or even if they have the minimum coverage required by law it may not be enough to cover your damages. This is where uninsured and underinsured coverage comes in.

An uninsured driver is someone who either has no insurance or who hits and runs. An underinsured driver is one who does have liability insurance, but in an amount that is not enough to cover your damages. For example, a negligent driver might have 30/60/25 minimum coverage but be found liable for $50,000 in personal injury damages to you individually. If you have underinsured coverage, it would pay the difference.

Texas law gives you the opportunity to buy insurance coverage to protect yourself against both uninsured and underinsured motorists. This coverage is optional, but your insurance company must offer you the opportunity to purchase it. If you decline this coverage, your refusal to purchase it must be in writing.

This coverage protects you, your family members, the passengers in your vehicle and anybody driving your vehicle with your permission. It pays medical and funeral expenses, car repairs, car rental, the replacement of the damaged contents, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability up to the dollar limits you have purchased.

You have the opportunity to protect yourself against both uninsured and underinsured motorists.

You can buy uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in the minimum 30/60/25 amount or in a larger amount up to the dollar limits of your liability policy. If you are not sure what choice you made when you were offered the opportunity to buy this coverage, call your insurance agent.

Your liability coverage protects you from having to pay damages to someone if you cause an accident. Your liability policy will not pay your expenses resulting from and accident with uninsured or underinsured motorist. Uninsured motorists often have few assets, and you could face significant financial hardship if you do not have this type of coverage and you are injured by such a driver.

Even if the other driver has liability insurance, it may be only the minimum amount, and such coverage can quickly be exhausted. Medical care is expensive. The replacement costs of even a single vehicle can easily exceed $25,000. It is recommended that you purchase at least the minimum amount of both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If possible, have as much uninsured and underinsured coverage. This may be your only protection against uninsured and underinsured motorists.


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