When you are injured in a car wreck there is usually more than one insurance policy available to cover your injuries. Ideally, the person who caused the wreck would have a liability insurance policy to cover all of the damages caused by their negligence.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Texas law requires that each driver carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage. Many drivers do not carry more than the minimum amount required. Each driver must have at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage. This is called 30/60/25 coverage. Most often a minimum policy is not enough to cover the serious injuries suffered in a car wreck.
Understanding Auto Insurance Requirements in Texas
Texas drivers must pay for the costs of car accidents they cause. If another driver causes an accident resulting in injury, the victim may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Liability Insurance of the at-fault driver covers the following expenses incurred by someone damaged by an insured’s negligence or wrongdoing:
- Medical and funeral costs, lost wages, compensation for pain and suffering;
- Car repair or replacement costs; and
- The cost of a car rental.
Although Texas law only requires liability coverage, insurance companies offer a variety of policy options that can provide additional types of coverage to protect a driver in the event they cause an accident or are the victim of an accident:
- Liability coverage;
- Collision coverage;
- Comprehensive coverage;
- Medical payments coverage;
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage;
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage;
- Towing and labor coverage; and
- Rental reimbursement coverage.
In the event that a person is injured in a car wreck by another driver who is not carrying any insurance or is not carrying enough insurance to cover the cost of the damages suffered, I look to the other policy options to try to collect as much money as possible to compensate my clients for the damages suffered. Below is a description of a few of the insurance policy options I may be able to collect from on behalf of my clients.
Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your car after an accident.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payments coverage pays your and your passengers’ medical bills. It also pays if you’re hurt while riding in someone else’s car or while walking or biking.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
PIP coverage is insurance money that pays you from your own policy when you are involved in a car accident regardless of who is at fault. PIP is required by law to be part of an auto policy that is written in the state of Texas unless the insured waives the coverage in writing.
The statutory minimum personal injury protection coverage is $2500. However, the PIP coverage can be written in higher amounts should you need additional coverage.
PIP covers everyone in the insured vehicle up to the PIP policy limits. PIP also covers every insured regardless of what vehicle they are in at the time of an accident.
Payments under the PIP policy apply to covered losses that are incurred within three years of the accident date. Generally, the insurer must pay the claim within 30 days of receipt of the claim.
Personal injury protection provides payment for the following:
- Medical expenses related to the wreck;
- Replacement of lost income; and
- Reimbursement for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for central services normally performed by the injured person for the family or the household.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In theory, every driver on Texas highways is covered by liability insurance to protect other drivers. In reality, some people drive without insurance, or they hit and run, or, even if they have the minimum coverage required by law, it is not enough to cover the other driver’s damages. This is where uninsured coverage and underinsured coverage come in.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays if you’re hit by someone who didn’t have insurance or didn’t have enough to pay your medical and car repair bills. It also pays if you’re in a hit-and-run accident. Insurance companies must offer you this coverage. If you don’t want it, you must tell the company in writing.
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 the other driver’s damages in a situation.