When purchasing auto insurance in Texas your agent must offer UM/UIM (Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist) Coverage. If you do not want it you must reject it in writing. This means you and your agent will have to go through an extra step of signing a written rejection of such coverage. DO NOT REJECT UM/UIM. Please excuse all caps, but before you go down that road take the time to understand what you are doing. The details are below but for those who do not have time or patience to read the rest, long story short, UM/UIM is relatively inexpensive (many spend more on coffee than what is spent on UM/UIM coverage) and a high reward if you ever need it.
The great state of Texas makes it mandatory for any driver of a motor vehicle to have car insurance. Car insurance can be purchased in many shapes and forms. It can be simple liability insurance only to “Full Coverage” (more on this later). Stiff penalties and consequences await those who dare drive without at least liability insurance. Those individuals may face a significant citation, somewhere in the hundreds, to a suspension of their driver’s license. Yet, about some 14% of drivers on the roadway are uninsured. So if you are involved in an auto accident you roughly have a 1 in 7 chance of being hit by someone without insurance.
I always recommend buying UM/UIM coverage. You can add this to your existing liability insurance policy for far less than some people spend on Starbucks a year. Now, I understand individuals with tough economic circumstances. I have been there. I have gone through times in my life where the cheapest liability insurance available is all I could afford. Knowing what I know now, I still urge everyone to do what they can to have this coverage.
I especially urge this to those driving a vehicle that is financed or new-ish and have “full coverage”. Let’s be honest, if your budget allows for this perk, you can afford another few tens of dollars a month to pay for UM/UIM coverage. It is important to understand what full coverage is, or more like what it is not. There is no single agreed definition of full coverage. I have dealt with many individuals who think they are covered for their injuries after an accident because they have full coverage only to find out that did not include UM/UIM. In my experience when someone says they have full coverage, they for sure have liability and coverage for your vehicle. One covers your legal duty and the other covers the bank that financed your car. But what about you?
This is why you must purchase UM/UIM. If someone collides with you and the person that hits you does not have insurance or if the damages are so high that the policy limit is not enough. You do not want to leave it to chance and hope that everyone on the road will have insurance. Make the wise choice and add UM/UIM coverage to your existing policy.
To be clear if you are a victim of an accident and the person at fault does not have insurance, Uninsured Motorist protection will cover your injuries. Your insurance coverage will step in as if they were the person that hit you. Too often I have seen individuals with injuries that have to go untreated because they do not have funds to pay for the much-needed treatment.
Additionally, there are terrible circumstances when even if someone has insurance the coverage is not enough. In my profession, the dreaded math problem is something we hate to see for our clients. This happens when the coverage provided is not enough. Keep in mind that Texas requires liability coverage of at least 30/60. This means that everyone is covered by at least $30,000 for injuries from an accident. But when you have vehicles weighing more than a ton traveling at high speeds you can imagine how there is a potential for drastic damages that can cost a whole lot more than $30,000. Especially considering the skyrocketing prices of medical care in this country. The dreaded math problem occurs when the costs to care for our client's injuries are significantly higher than the policy limits. However, If you have Underinsured Motorist protection your policy coverage will supplement the coverage of the person at fault.
I always say, "Hope for the best but plan for the worst." I hope accidents do not happen. If they do, that they are not significant and that the person at fault has insurance. However, the reality is that many times the opposite is true.
Do not leave it to chance, get UM/UIM coverage. If you are ever involved in a car accident, contact an attorney with the experience needed to make sure your rights are protected and enforced.