Brian White | August 30, 2023 | Car Accidents
Uninsured motorist insurance (UM) is one of the most popular optional forms of car accident insurance, and for obvious reasons. UIM (underinsured motorist Insurance) is almost as popular. There are few motorists who would not benefit from purchasing UM/UIM insurance.
Mandatory Auto Insurance Under Texas Law
Texas law requires all drivers with cars registered in Texas to carry the following minimum auto liability insurance coverage/
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage (per person);
- $60,000 in bodily injury liability coverage (per accident); and
- $25,000 in property damage liability insurance.
Contrary to what many people believe, UM insurance is optional, not mandatory, in Texas. It seems mandatory, though. When you are purchasing mandatory liability insurance in Texas, state law requires the insurance company to offer you at least $30,000 in UM/UIM insurance.
If you don’t respond to the offer, your policy will include UM/UIM. The only way you can decline coverage is through a written rejection of coverage filed with the insurance company.
The Pros of UM/UIM Insurance
There are several “pros” of UM/UIM insurance, as outlined below.
You’re Covered Whether or Not the At-Fault Driver Has Effective Liability Insurance
In Texas, about 8% of all drivers are uninsured. That doesn’t necessarily include drivers who are uninsured for situational reasons, such as:
- The driver deliberately causes an accident in a “road rage” incident; or
- The driver is driving the vehicle without the permission of its owner.
The insurance covers you, your family members, passengers, and anyone driving your car with your permission.
You Can Purchase UM/UIM Insurance for Property Damage
UM/UIM policies can protect you against property damage. This is especially important if you own an expensive car. Texas’s $25,000 minimum property damage liability insurance might not be nearly enough to compensate you all by itself.
UIM Insurance Protects You When the At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Is Insufficient
The difference between UM and UIM (uninsured and underinsured, respectively) is as follows:
- “UM” insurance protects you when you suffer an accident in which no insurance resources are available. The at-fault driver might lack insurance, or you might not be able to locate them.
- UIM insurance protects you if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient to pay for all of your damages.
Ultimately, each type serves to protect you from a similar type of scenario.
Special features of UIM insurance
If the at-fault driver carries only minimum liability insurance, for example, it won’t be enough to cover your injuries if they exceed $30,000. UIM can help supplement your insurance resources in a situation like this.
Although the minimum available insurance pays only up to $30,000, you can buy a policy with higher limits that should cover your damages for all but the most catastrophic injuries.
UM Protects You in Hit-and-Run Accidents
It doesn’t matter whether the at-fault driver carries liability insurance if they flee the scene of the accident and you cannot locate them. UM insurance treats this situation the same way it would treat an accident with an at-fault but uninsured driver.
UM/UIM Insurance Offers Full Personal Injury Damages
Both UM and UIM offer you the same types of compensation that you would receive if you filed a personal injury lawsuit (subject to policy limits, of course). Compensation can include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses;
- Lost earnings;
- Diminished earning capacity;
- Out-of-pocket expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
You can also seek compensation for any other tangible or intangible loss that arose directly from your accident.
The Cons of UM/UIM Insurance
There are only a few minor downsides to UM/UIM insurance:
- UM/UIM insurance costs money. Still, most drivers pay less than $100 per year for both types of coverage.
- UM/UIM property damage insurance applies a $250 deductible.
- An “actual contact” rule applies to coverage of hit-and-run accidents. If an at-fault driver caused you to swerve into a tree and then disappears, you cannot use your UM insurance to compensate you.
Overall, the pros of UM/UIM coverage far outweigh the cons.
Purchasing UM/UIM Insurance Now Can Greatly Decrease Your Need for a Lawyer Later
The odds are high that you will need UM/UIM insurance at some point in your driving career. If you purchased it in advance, great! You might still need a lawyer, though.
If you didn’t purchase UM/UIM insurance, then you will probably need a lawyer to help you find an alternative source of compensation in the event of an accident that was an uninsured or underinsured driver’s fault.
Contact the Houston Car Accident Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
For more information, contact the Houston car accident law firm of Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (713) 500-5000.
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers
3120 Southwest Freeway, Suite 350
Houston, TX 77098
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – East Fwy
11811 East Fwy, Suite 630-06
Houston, TX 77029
Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers – South Loop
2600 S Loop W, Suite 293
Houston, TX 77054