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How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers in Texas

auto-insuranceIf you are involved in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you may experience real difficulty in collecting on your Houston car accident insurance claim. According to the Insurance Information Institute, uninsured drivers in Texas in 2012 accounted for 13.3 percent of all drivers. This means that more than one in 10 motorists on Texas streets and highways were driving without any insurance at all. When underinsured drivers are added into the mix, the risks can increase considerably for drivers in Houston and throughout the state of Texas. Here are four tips that can help you protect yourself financially after an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Always Call the Police

A police report can provide solid evidence regarding the cause of your accident and the other driver’s lack of insurance. This can help you negotiate more effectively with your own insurance company and may allow you to limit increases in your premiums after an accident in which you were not at fault. If you need to pursue your claim against the other driver in court, having a police report that supports your side of the story can also ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Invest in Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Purchasing uninsured motorist insurance to cover the expenses caused by uninsured and underinsured drivers can increase the amount of your monthly premium. This coverage, however, can provide real financial protection for drivers in a number of key scenarios:

  • Hit-and-run accidents are often covered by uninsured motorist insurance and can pay for damages and injuries sustained in these traumatic events.
  • If the other driver does not maintain adequate insurance coverage to pay for injuries and damages sustained in the accident, your own underinsured motorist policy will typically pay for any additional costs up to the limits of your auto insurance coverage.
  • If you are involved in an accident as a pedestrian or bicyclist, your uninsured or underinsured insurance coverage may cover your injuries or damage sustained to your property in these events.

This coverage can protect you and your family against the financial repercussions of these accidents on Texas roadways.

Maintain Legally Required Insurance

The state of Texas requires drivers to take financial responsibility for accidents they cause. This is usually accomplished by purchasing a liability insurance policy that meets the minimum requirements under Texas law:

  • $30,000 in liability insurance for each injured individual
  • $60,000 in injury coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in coverage for property damage

Known as 30/60/25 coverage, this minimum amount of liability insurance is required for all drivers who do not demonstrate financial responsibility in one of two alternative ways:

  • By providing a large surety bond backed by real estate, drivers can self-insure against the potential costs of accidents.
  • Drivers can also demonstrate financial responsibility by depositing a minimum of $55,000 with the Texas state comptroller.

For most drivers, maintaining the minimum required liability insurance is the cheapest and most efficient way to address the issue of financial responsibility in the state of Texas.

Enlist the Help of Legal Professionals

Filing a Houston auto accident lawsuit against an uninsured or underinsured driver can sometimes allow you to collect the compensation you are owed after a serious accident. Retaining the services of an experienced attorney can help accident victims navigate the legal process and achieve the highest Houston auto accident settlements for their losses and injuries. Even if the driver responsible for the collision has limited financial resources, your attorney can ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome for your legal proceedings.

By taking steps to protect yourself against uninsured and underinsured motorists and by maintaining adequate insurance on your own vehicle, you can avoid some of the most financially devastating consequences of auto accidents on Texas streets and roadways. These four strategies can provide you with added support when dealing with the expenses and damages caused by these catastrophic events.

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