Getting injured in a car wreck is bad enough — but what if the other at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance or not enough insurance to pay for your vehicle damage, medical bills, and other costs?
Unfortunately, you could be left holding the bag.
To protect yourself from uninsured or underinsured drivers on Texas roads, the personal injury lawyers at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group recommend adding UM/UIM coverage to your insurance policy if you don’t already have it. In this article, we will explain UM/UIM coverage and how it can help if you (or your passengers) are injured in a wreck caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
But first, please watch this short video by Fort Worth personal injury lawyer Ty Stimpson, who has devoted his life to helping people who have been injured due to other people’s negligence.
What is UM/UIM coverage?
UM/UIM coverage is a type of insurance policy that pays for injuries and damages caused by a motorist who:
- flees the scene of an accident – also known as a hit and run driver.
- is underinsured – meaning they don’t have enough coverage to pay for your damages or injuries.
- is uninsured – meaning they don’t have insurance at all.
UM/UIM insurance covers expenses, up to your policy limit, for medical bills, lost wages, vehicle repairs, rental car, etc. Think of it as back-up coverage that provides an extra layer of protection in the event of the unthinkable.
At Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group, we understand car accidents can be sudden and stressful events. That’s why we want to make sure you have the information you need about uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
What does UM/UIM stand for?
UM stands for uninsured motorist; UIM stands for underinsured motorist.
Who is covered under a UM/UIM policy?
Your UM/UIM policy can cover you, the named insured, your family members, passengers in your car at the time of the accident and anyone driving with your consent.
Aren’t Texans required to carry auto insurance?
Yes, Texans are required to at least have liability coverage, which pays to repair the other’s driver’s vehicle if they are at fault for the accident, as well as their medical bills and other expenses.
According to Section 601.072 of the Texas Insurance Code, drivers are required to have at least $30,000 worth of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. This is commonly referred to as 30/65/25 coverage. Unfortunately, millions of Texans don’t carry any insurance at all.
How many uninsured drivers are in Texas?
Even though Texas drivers are required by law to carry liability automobile insurance, millions of people have chosen to ignore this mandate. An estimated 20 percent of drivers are currently uninsured in the Lone Star State, according to TexasSure, a program designed to reduce the number of insured motorists in Texas. Texans pay nearly $900 million a year for protection against uninsured or underinsured motorists.
If you’ve ever been involved in an accident with someone without auto insurance, you’ll understand why driving without insurance is so problematic.
Does Texas law require UM/UIM coverage?
No, Texas doesn’t require UM/UIM coverage. However, your insurance company is required to offer it. If you do not want to purchase it, you must turn it down in writing. As mentioned, the personal injury attorneys at Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group recommend adding UM/UIM coverage to your policy.
How much UM/UIM coverage should I have?
The amount of uninsured motorist coverage is entirely up to you — we recommend purchasing as much as you can afford. That way, if the unthinkable happens, you can be sure you and your family are protected.
It’s important to point out that you can’t purchase UM/UIM coverage after the fact. In other words, you won’t be able to add it to your policy after you’re involved in an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident. So, it’s important that you purchase enough UM/UIM coverage now, at the front end. UM/UIM is typically affordable and is worth a few extra dollars a month.
Are there any other ways to protect myself from uninsured drivers?
Yes, if you or a loved one sustained injuries after an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you may file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. Unfortunately, the uninsured driver may not have the financial means to pay for your medical bills and other losses. It’s important to consult with an experienced Fort Worth car accident lawyer to discuss all of your options.
Can someone go to jail for driving without insurance in Texas?
Driving without insurance is a misdemeanor in Texas, but it’s not a jailable offense. Instead, the driver will receive a traffic ticket and face a fine of up to $350 for a first offense. A repeat offender could face a fine of up to $1000, driver’s license revocation, and possible vehicle impoundment.
Injured by a driver with no insurance or insufficient insurance? Contact us.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident by North Texas driver who fled the scene or is without insurance or has insufficient insurance, call Varghese Summersett Injury Law Group today for a free consultation. We will do everything in our power to obtain full compensation from every possible source. Don’t wait. Call us now at 817-207-4878 (HURT). We serve accident victims throughout Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington and the surrounding areas.