Most Texans believe that if they get hurt in a car accident, they will be compensated by the at-fault driver’s car insurance. But in Texas, many drivers have the state-minimum insurance coverage that will only cover $30,000 worth of your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain, physical impairment, and other losses that can last well into the future. Worse, Texas is plagued with drivers who carry no insurance at all.
What many Texans don’t know, though, is that there is an inexpensive and simple way to protect yourself if you get hurt by someone who has no insurance, or insufficient insurance to pay for the damage they cause. By purchasing Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (“UIM coverage”) through your own auto insurance carrier, you can help ensure a car wreck doesn’t also wreck you financially. Essentially, UIM coverage acts as a back-up policy if you are hurt in a car accident that was caused by someone else. UIM coverage can be used to compensate for your economic losses – such as medical expenses and lost earnings – as well as your non-economic losses – such as pain and physical impairment – that are caused in an accident. And, because Texas law requires your auto insurance company to offer this coverage to you, securing UIM coverage can usually be done online or through a quick phone call with your auto insurance company. Even better, in most instances, adding this coverage to your insurance policy is pretty inexpensive compared to other insurance coverages, and can cost as little as $10 per month.
The question really shouldn’t be whether you should carry UIM coverage. Instead, the question should be how much UIM coverage you should carry. The answer is simple: as much as you can afford. Like any other insurance, the hope is that you won’t need it. But, when you do, it’s better to err on the side of caution. For example, suppose you are in a car accident that requires you to have a basic neck surgery. These days, that surgery alone can cost north of $250,000, believe it or not. If the driver who caused the crash has the state minimum policy, and you do not have any UIM coverage, only $30,000 of that bill is going to get paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance. But, if you had a $500,000 UIM policy, you’d likely get the $30,000 from the at-fault driver, and you could claim the remainder of your bills (and other losses) against your own policy. You’d be much better off financially.
Another benefit of UIM coverage is that it follows you wherever you go. So, if you are a pedestrian or bicyclists and get hit by a car, the UIM coverage you bought on our auto insurance policy will cover you. Or, if you are a passenger in another car, and get involved in a car accident, the UIM coverage you bought will cover you.
To sum it up: buy as much UIM coverage as you can afford. This is the advice we give to our friends and families. We hope you’ll never need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it!