Brian White | December 13, 2016 | Auto Accidents
It has been a national requirement to have auto insurance in some form for nearly 100 years. States have the autonomy to decide what the minimum requirements will be, along with any other insurance laws. Texas’ car insurance regulations are indeed different from its neighboring states, so it’s important to know exactly what your policy entails.
Texas Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements
The minimum coverage in Texas is 30/60/25, which means: $30,000 per injured person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 to cover third-party property damage. This is the bare minimum, and it’s recommended that you purchase insurance which can cover more damage. Whether or not your insurance will cover such damages depends on your policy.
Your auto insurance acts as proof of financial responsibility in the event of a car accident. You will receive an insurance card and you must carry it with you at all times. It’s crucial to know exactly what is included on your policy, such as how many people are actually covered by it. Liability insurance will cover:
- You and your family members (those related by blood and marriage).
- Other people driving your car with your permission.
- Family members attending school away from home.
- Spouses living elsewhere during a separation.
If you are found to be at fault, you will be responsible for paying the other person’s medical expenses, property damage bills and their lost wages from the time they may have missed at work. Liability covers these things, as well as defense costs, attorney fees and up to $250 bail. It only covers all of this up to the dollar amounts specified on your policy; everything after that is out-of-pocket, which is why only having the minimum insurance may be detrimental.
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
If you still owe money on your car, you’ll be required to have these coverages on your plan. Collision covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car after an accident, while comprehensive covers things such as damage caused by vandalism, fire, hail or other falling objects. If your car was stolen, you must report it to the police otherwise insurance won’t provide any compensation. With both of these, your payment will be limited to the car’s cash value minus your deductible.
Texas Auto Insurance Optional Coverages
The minimum coverage is the most basic kind you can purchase, and may not be enough to cover all of the damages. Texas only requires you to have liability coverage. However, there are additional pieces of coverage that can be purchased a la carte, and they can provide extra peace of mind for the unexpected. Depending on your lifestyle and how often you are in your car, additional coverage may be a worthwhile purchase.
Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Medical payments will cover hospital bills and funeral expenses for you, other passengers in your car, and other injured people including pedestrians or bicyclists, regardless of who was at fault. PIP coverage, in addition to medical payments, plus 80 percent of lost wages and the cost of a caregiver should be necessary.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
According to the Texas DMV, approximately 20 percent of the drivers in the state are uninsured. Given that a lot of uninsured drivers may very well hit-and-run if they’re involved in an accident, this may be the most necessary of optional coverages. There are two types you can get:
- Bodily Injury – pays for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability. There is not a deductible.
- Property Damage – pays for repair, rental, and any damage to items inside your car. There is a $250 deductible.
You, your family members, and others driving your car with your permission are all covered UM/UIM insurance.
Rental Reimbursement and Towing Coverage
If your car is badly damaged you’ll need to have it towed, and you’ll need a rental car while it’s being repaired. This optional coverage will reimburse you of both of these costs, as well as the labor. However, rental reimbursement only covers expenses if your car was damaged by something which is explicitly mentioned in your policy. So if your car was damaged in a fire but your policy only covers hail, you won’t be reimbursed.
Texas Negligence Law
Texas operates under the modified comparative fault rule. This means that you are compensated based on the percentage in which you are deemed at fault. If you are awarded $10,000 in damages but are found to be 25 percent at fault, then you will receive $7,500 of that. The “modified” part of this means that if you are found to be 51 percent or more at fault, then you won’t be awarded any compensation at all.
If you have been in an accident, contact the experienced Houston car accident attorney Brian White. Brian can help you battle your insurance, and is dedicated to ensuring that you are compensated fairly for your injuries. Call for your free consultation.