All states require drivers to have some type of car insurance in case they are in an accident. While Texas drivers are required to meet a minimum of car insurance to cover injuries and property damage, it is important to realize that the costs of a crash can quickly escalate over these limits—and if a driver does not have enough insurance, he may be forced to pay the accident costs out of his own pocket.
How “Fault” Laws Affects Texas Drivers
Every state has a law mandating which party’s insurance will pay for the costs of a crash. Some states haws are “no-fault,” meaning that each driver’s insurance company pays for his own injury and property damage costs, regardless of who caused the accident. Texas, on the other hand, is a “fault state,” meaning that the insurer of the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying the other party’s costs relating to the accident.
Texas drivers are required to carry a minimum of liability insurance commonly called 30/60/25 coverage, which covers accidents up to the following limits:
- Bodily injury for each person. Texas requires a minimum of $30,000 liability insurance per person, meaning the insurer of an at-fault driver will pay up to $30,000 in injury or death of expenses for one victim.
- Bodily injury for each accident. If you only carry the minimum of insurance, your insurer will only pay the expenses of a single accident up to $60,000, regardless of how many people are injured.
- Property damage. Texans are required to carry separate insurance of at least $25,000 to cover the costs of damage to another person's vehicle, home, garage, or other property.
Texas law also requires that all drivers carry proof of insurance every time they operate a vehicle, either by keeping it on their person or inside the vehicle with you. A driver who cannot provide proof of insurance after an accident can be charged with a fine, while those who do not have insurance will face additional penalties.
Optional Coverage for Drivers in Texas
As you can imagine, these minimums may not even begin to cover the costs of a serious crash. Injury costs may rise into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, while property damage costs can include fair replacement costs and other losses. If the injured driver’s medical bills and property losses exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limits, the injured driver can sue the at-fault driver to make up the difference.
In addition, Texas car accident case law follows a modified comparative negligence system, meaning an injured party can recover damages in court as long as he or she is found to be less than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident. As a serious accident can result in extremely high injury bills, drivers in at-fault states are usually advised to carry the maximum amount of car insurance they can afford. Drivers can help protect their personal assets after an accident, by selecting optional insurance choices beyond those required by state law, including:
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. What happens if the other driver is at fault for an accident, but does not have enough insurance to pay for the costs of the crash? If you attempt to sue the at-fault driver, he may not have enough assets to cover your injuries, leaving you forced to pay for your own medical bills. This coverage ensures that a driver’s injuries will be paid for up to a set maximum if he is injured in an accident caused by someone else.
- Medical expense coverage. This type of coverage provides payments for medical expenses for you and your passengers regardless of who caused the accident.
- Personal injury protection (PIP). This insurance provides payment for medical bills and lost income when you or your passengers are hurt in an accident. With PIP, your insurer provides you with the limits of your coverage even if another insurer already covered your costs.
- Collision coverage. This type of insurance pays for repairs or replacement of a vehicle that was damaged in a crash.
- Comprehensive coverage. This insurance is similar to collision coverage, but is extended to cover the repairs or replacement of a vehicle that was damaged due to vandalism, weather conditions, fallen objects, or theft.
Are you having trouble getting payment from an insurer after someone else caused an accident? Contact us today to have us go over the details of your claim in your free consultation!