Car accidents are common on the roads of Texas, and while most drivers have auto insurance, not all do. In fact, according to a recent study, about 14% of Texas drivers were uninsured in 2019, leaving car accident victims at risk of financial ruin. If you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, it’s essential to have Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage. This article will explore why UM coverage is a crucial auto insurance policy component.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage is an insurance policy that protects drivers in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. An uninsured or underinsured motorist policy pays for your injuries if you’re hurt by someone who:
- Leaves the scene of the wreck and cannot be found or identified later.
- Doesn’t have insurance or the financial means to pay for your injuries.
- Has insurance but doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your injuries.
This type of coverage provides financial protection for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage that may result from an accident with an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist coverage is typically divided into two categories: bodily injury coverage and property damage coverage.
Bodily injury coverage provides compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver. Property damage coverage provides compensation for damage to your vehicle. As well as, other property resulting from an accident with an uninsured driver.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Is Optional
Yet, this coverage is vital. In Texas, when you buy car insurance, your insurance company has to offer uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you want to reject this policy, you must do so in writing.
While it may be tempting to reject uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to lower your premiums, you may be putting yourself at significant risk. A lack of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage could leave you financially vulnerable.
Why You Need UM Coverage
- Protect Yourself in Case of an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver: If you are involved in a car accident with a driver who is uninsured, you could be left with out-of-pocket expenses for medical bills, lost wages, or property damage. UM coverage ensures you’re financially protected if an uninsured driver hits you.
- Reduces Financial Burden on You and Your Family: Even with health insurance, medical expenses can add up quickly, especially if you require extended hospital stays, surgery, or rehabilitation. If you’re left with mounting medical bills and the other driver is uninsured, UM coverage can be a lifesaver and reduce the financial burden on you and your family.
- Covers Uninsured Drivers with No Assets or Resources: Often, uninsured drivers don’t have adequate assets or income to compensate accident victims. UM coverage provides a safety net in such situations and helps ensure you receive the compensation you need and deserve.
- Peace of Mind: You can’t control the actions of other drivers, but you can control your level of protection. UM coverage provides peace of mind by offering an added layer of protection against the unforeseen.
How UM Coverage Works
Let’s say you’re in a car accident with an uninsured driver and have UM coverage. Your UM coverage will activate and cover your medical bills and property damage up to the limits of your policy. Suppose the uninsured driver is at fault, and the damages exceed the limits of your policy. In that case, you may be able to pursue additional compensation through legal action, such as a personal injury lawsuit.
The Consequences of Not Having Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Without uninsured motorist coverage, car accident victims may be forced to pay for their medical bills, lost wages, and property damage out of pocket. They may sometimes take out loans or sell assets to cover these expenses.
Consider the following example: John drives to work when an uninsured driver hits him. John suffers a broken arm and requires surgery, resulting in $30,000 in medical bills. John cannot work for six weeks due to his injury, resulting in $10,000 in lost wages. Additionally, John’s car is totaled in the accident, resulting in $20,000 in property damage. Without uninsured motorist coverage, John would be responsible for paying these expenses out of pocket, totaling $60,000. This financial burden could be devastating for John and his family.
Understanding the Legal Landscape of Uninsured Motorist Claims
Filing an uninsured motorist claim can be a complex and challenging process. Insurance companies may deny claims or offer low settlements, leaving victims without adequate compensation for their losses. Additionally, the legal process for filing an uninsured motorist claim can be lengthy and time-consuming.
Working with an experienced lawyer for car accidents with uninsured drivers can help victims navigate the legal process. As well as help them obtain fair compensation for their losses. An experienced lawyer can help victims gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and file a lawsuit if necessary. At Walker Texas Lawyer, we have over 40 years of experience helping car accident victims with uninsured motorist claims.
Choosing the Right UM Coverage Policy
Choosing the right uninsured motorist coverage can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider, including coverage limits, deductibles, and exclusions. When selecting an insurance policy, it is important to consider your specific needs and budget.
Consider the following factors when choosing uninsured motorist coverage:
- Coverage limits: The coverage limit is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for a claim. Make sure to choose a coverage limit that will adequately protect you in the event of an accident.
- Deductibles: The deductible is the amount you will pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay for a claim. Consider choosing a higher deductible to lower your monthly premiums.
- Exclusions: Some insurance policies may exclude certain types of accidents or injuries. Make sure to read the policy carefully to ensure that it covers the types of accidents and injuries you are most concerned about.
- Provider Reputation: Research insurance providers and choose one with a reputation for responsive customer service and prompt claims processing.
- Premium Costs: Premium costs can vary significantly, so obtaining quotes from different providers and comparing pricing is essential.
If you are considering motorcycle insurance, we discuss motorcycle insurance coverage here.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Is Crucial
As a responsible driver, you cannot predict when you’ll be involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. However, you can protect yourself and your family from the financial burden by ensuring your auto policy includes Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. At Walker Texas Lawyer, we understand the complexities of auto insurance and personal injury claims, and we are committed to helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to learn more about UM coverage and how we can help you in the event of an accident.
The Houston Auto Accident Attorney Can Help
If you are injured in an auto accident, you may deal with physical injuries, financial loss, and emotional distress. It’s crucial to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. Hiring Walker Texas Lawyer means that you have a skilled and knowledgeable advocate fighting for your rights and interests. Our team has a proven track record of success in handling auto accident cases and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We have the resources and expertise to negotiate with insurance companies and pursue litigation if necessary. Walker will handle all the legal details so that you can focus on your recovery. At Walker Texas Lawyer, we are dedicated to providing personalized and compassionate service to our clients, and we offer a free consultation to help evaluate your case. Contact us today to learn how we can help you after an auto accident.