The state of Texas requires all drivers to carry adequate car insurance on their vehicles, but many motorists are unaware of what the specifics entail. If you’re one of these drivers, this comprehensive guide of the basics as they relate to your auto insurance policy can help. If, however, you’ve been harmed by the negligence of another driver, it’s time to consult with an experienced Austin car wreck attorney.
What’s in This Guide
It’s important to understand that Texas requirements regarding your auto insurance policy are minimum requirements, and there is no guarantee that these amounts will cover your full range of damages if you are in an accident that leads to a car accident claim. These basic requirements include:
- Minimum coverage of $30,000 per injured person in the event of an accident
- At least $60,000 in total coverage per accident
- A minimum of $25,000 for coverage of property damage
The shorthand for these basic minimum coverage requirements in Texas is 30/60/25. Texas is what is known as a fault state, which means that the at-fault party’s insurance policy is responsible for covering the injured party’s losses. As such, the state does not require drivers to carry underinsured or uninsured driver coverage, but doing so is well-advised (and your insurance provider is required to offer this coverage to you). If you’re injured by another driver who doesn’t have adequate coverage or who doesn’t have car insurance at all, your underinsured or uninsured driver coverage may be your only legal recourse.
Proof of Insurance
In Texas, you are not only required to carry an auto insurance policy but are also required to carry proof of insurance that you will need to produce in all the following instances:
- In order to register your car, obtain a Texas driver’s license, or renew either, you’ll need to show proof of insurance.
- If you are pulled over by the police for a traffic violation, you will be required to show your drivers’ license, your registration, and your proof of insurance.
- If you are involved in an accident, showing proof of insurance is also a requirement.
- You also need to show proof of insurance during your annual vehicle inspection.
When you purchase a car insurance policy, you will receive an ID card from the insurance company that you keep in your car (along with your registration), and that serves as your proof of insurance in the event that you are pulled over or are involved in an accident.
The Various Kinds of Auto Insurance Policies
If you are not sure what kind of coverage is contained in your auto insurance policy, you are not alone, but understanding the basic categories of coverage can help.
In Texas, the only kind of coverage you are required to carry is liability insurance, which pays out in the event that your negligence causes someone else on the road to experience any of the following forms of loss (called legal damages):
- Property damage to the injured party’s vehicle
- The injured party’s medical expenses
- The injured party’s lost earnings
- The injured party’s physical and emotional pain and suffering
The same is true if you are injured by another driver’s negligence – his or her liability insurance will cover your losses.
While collision coverage is not mandated by law in Texas, the lender involved in your car purchase will require that you carry in in relation to any financing that you receive. This coverage will kick in if your car is damaged while you still owe money on it. Collision coverage will pay out in one of the following ways (whichever is least expensive):
- Your car’s actual value at the time of the accident
- The actual cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle at the time of the accident (if the price of repairing the vehicle is more than the car’s actual value, it will be totaled, and the car’s replacement value – or the amount it was worth prior to the accident – will be paid out)
- The amount on the insurance declaration page
While similar to collision coverage, comprehensive coverage kicks in when the expense of replacing or repairing your vehicle is related to something other than a collision, such as vandalism, theft, hail damage, or other events that are not related to collisions.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
As mentioned, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage pays out when the damages you incur are caused by a driver who doesn’t carry the requisite insurance (if he or she carries any insurance at all), which unfortunately happens far too often. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage also kicks in if you’re injured by a hit-and-run driver.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage addresses the medical costs that you and/or any occupants of your vehicle experience in a car accident. Additionally, PIP coverage pays out for lost earnings and other nonmedical expenses. Every auto insurance policy in Texas includes PIP coverage, and you must notify your provider in writing if you choose not to purchase it (which is unlikely to be in your best interest).
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage addresses the medical bills incurred by you and/or your passengers in the event of an accident. If you’re hurt as a passenger in someone else’s car, your medical payments coverage will also kick in.
Don’t Delay Consulting with an Experienced Austin Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been injured by another driver’s negligence, your own auto insurance policy may play a role, but you need the skilled legal guidance of a practiced Austin car accident attorney on your side. The dedicated car accident attorneys at The Patel Firm fit the bill, and we’re well prepared and well-positioned to help you. Because obtaining just compensation for your full range of losses is paramount, please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact or call us at 361-400-2036 for more information today.
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