So, what does it mean if you are in an accident caused by the negligence of an uninsured driver?
Although they may be responsible for causing the collision, more likely than not they will have no way to compensate you for the damages done to your car or truck, to repay you for your lost wages or income earnings missed while you are unable to work due to your physical injuries, or to pay for your bills and expenses for needed medical treatment.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
While your liability insurance is mandatory under state law and pays for damages caused by you to others in accidents where you are found to be at fault, there is other insurance available to you to protect you and your family from uninsured motorists (UM) and underinsured motorists (UIM).
Referred to generally as UM/UIM coverage, this optional coverage protects you and the occupants of your vehicle by paying up to the UM/UIM coverage policy limit for wreck related damages and losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other losses when you are injured by a person who doesn’t have any liability insurance, or does not have sufficient liability insurance to cover all of the damages and losses caused by the wreck.
In a Texas Standard Form Personal Auto Policy, an “Uninsured motor vehicle” is defined as a land motor vehicle or trailer of any type,
1.) To which no liability bond or policy applies at the time of the accident;
2.) Which is a hit and run vehicle whose operator or owner cannot be identified and which hits:
- you or any family member;
- a vehicle which you or any family member are occupying; or
- your covered auto.
3.) To which a liability bond or policy applies at the time of the accident but the bonding or insuring company:
- denies coverage; or
- is or becomes insolvent.
4.) Which is an underinsured motor vehicle. An underinsured motor vehicle is one to which a liability bond or policy applies at the time of the accident but its limit of liability either:
- is not enough to pay the full amount the covered person is legally entitled to recover as damages; or
- has been reduced by payment of claims to an amount which is not enough to pay the full amount the covered person is legally entitled to recover as damages.
Although the UM/UIM coverage is optional auto insurance coverage, the state regulators consider it important enough that the auto insurance companies are required to obtained a signed written rejection of this coverage. If you are in a wreck and did not reject this coverage in writing, you may still be entitled to this coverage, minus the premium you would have paid to obtain the coverage.
We strongly recommend that motorist obtain UM/UIM coverage equal to the amount of their liability auto insurance coverage.
If you have any questions about your auto insurance coverage, or if you, a family member or friend has been injured in an accident and you are trying to figure out which coverages apply, please feel free to contact us at 214-559-7202. We will be happy to discuss with you the details of your case at no charge in a free consultation.