by Dallas Car Accident Attorney, Tim O’Hare
Follow The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google+.
Texas law requires drivers to carry auto liability insurance as coverage for any accidents they may cause. If you are at fault in an accident, liability insurance pays to repair or replace the other driver’s vehicle and also covers medical expenses resulting from the accident.
But liability insurance is very basic, and isn’t always enough to cover the other driver’s costs if you’re at fault in an accident. In Texas, drivers must purchase at least the minimum amount of liability insurance — $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident; and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This is known as 30/60/25 coverage. If you only carry the minimum, you could be putting yourself at risk of being sued by the other driver if you are at fault in an accident and your insurance does not cover all of the other driver’s associated expenses. In addition, liability insurance does not cover the cost to repair or replace your vehicle or treat your injuries if you are at fault in an accident.
Even if you are not at fault in an accident, if the other driver only carries the minimum liability insurance, you could be out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. The good news is that there are other types of insurance coverage you can purchase to help you pay these additional expenses, such as personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments coverage, collision and comprehensive coverages. You may also add towing and labor coverage as well as rental reimbursement coverage to your insurance policy.
Here’s an outline of various types of insurance from the Texas Department of Insurance:
Personal Injury Protection — Also known as PIP coverage, this insurance pays medical and funeral bills resulting from an accident, plus 80 percent of lost income and the cost of hiring a caregiver for an injured person. PIP covers you, your family members and other passengers in your vehicle, and other injured people, no matter who is at fault. A minimum of $2,500 in PIP coverage is available, but most insurance companies allow you to purchase more.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist — In the event you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist, a hit-and-run driver, or a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your costs, UM/UIM insurance covers those gaps. Bodily injury UM/UIM pays for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement and other injury damages. Property damage UM/UIM pays for auto repairs and damage to items in your car.
Medical Payments Coverage — Covers medical and funeral bills resulting from an accident. Medical payments covers you, your family members, passengers in your car and other injured people including bicyclists and pedestrians, no matter who is at fault.
Collision Coverage — Collision coverage is required by your lender if you still owe money on your car. If the insurance company determines your vehicle can be repaired, it will pay the cost to fix your car. If it determines your car cannot be fixed, it will be “totaled” and the insurance company will pay actual cash value of your car (the current value of your car), less your deductible. No matter what the determination may be, you will only receive up to the maximum dollar limits of your policy (listed on the declarations page of your policy). This insurance covers your vehicle only, regardless of who was driving it, so long as the driver had your permission to drive the vehicle and wasn’t an excluded driver.
Comprehensive Coverage — Also required by your lender if you still owe money on your car. Comprehensive coverage pays the cost of replacing or repairing your car if it’s stolen (the theft must be reported to police) or damaged by fire, vandalism, hail, falling objects or most events other than a collision. Payments are limited to your car’s actual cash value, minus deductible.
Towing and Labor Coverage — If your car cannot be driven and must be towed, towing and labor coverage pays for your car to be towed to a repair shop and covers the costs of associated labor, such as changing a flat tire or jump-starting your battery.
Rental Reimbursement Coverage — If your car is stolen or being repaired, rental reimbursement pays a set daily amount for a rental car. This coverage only pays for rental reimbursement if your car was damaged in an accident or by another event covered by your insurance, such as fire, hail or theft.
To protect yourself from costly repairs or medical expenses incurred due to an accident, it’s important to carefully review your insurance policy. Know what your policy covers and consider purchasing other coverages to add or expand your insurance coverage.
We’d be happy to discuss your coverages with you and make recommendations to ensure you have the type of coverage that best fits your needs.
Also, if you have been injured in a car accident, or have lost a loved one in a wreck with an uninsured or underinsured driver, call us. The experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare will guide you through your case and ensure you get everything you deserve.
Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for your FREE Case Evaluation 972-960-0000 or Toll-Free 888-960-0020