Car Insurance and Financial Responsibility in Texas
In Texas, all drivers are required to have auto insurance. This is known as the state’s “financial responsibility” law, and it applies regardless of the type of vehicle you drive, how frequently you drive, and your driving record.Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Texas
Texas’s financial responsibility law establishes minimum insurance requirements for liability in the event of an accident. At a minimum, drivers are supposed to have coverage of: (i) $30,000 for each injured person, (ii) total injury coverage of $60,000 per accident, and (iii) $25,000 for property damage. However, as summarized by the Texas Department of Insurance, this often will not be enough to cover the full cost of accident victims’ injuries and losses:
“Because of car prices and the high cost of medical care, the minimum amounts might not be enough to pay all of the other driver's costs if you're at fault in an accident. Other drivers could sue you to collect the difference. Consider buying more than the minimum limits to protect yourself financially.”
Additionally, Texas has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the nation. According to the latest data, an estimated 1.6 million drivers in the state are uninsured. Due to the high number of uninsured drivers and the high risk that a driver will be “underinsured” (carrying only the minimum coverage required under Texas’s financial responsibility law), it is important for responsible drivers to consider purchasing enhanced protection for themselves and their loved ones.Insurance Coverage Exclusions that May Apply in the Event of an Accident
Even if a driver has auto insurance, there are certain circumstances in which his or her coverage may not apply. For example, three common auto insurance “exclusions” include:
- Excluded Drivers – An auto insurance policy may cover certain household members, but not others.
- Racing – Street racing is considered an intentional dangerous act, and most insurance companies will seek to deny coverage if it appears that their policyholder was racing.
- Uber and Lyft – Uber and Lyft drivers typically must purchase separate coverage for the time they spend providing ride-sharing services.
As with all issues involving the insurance companies after a collision, dealing with an insurance company’s attempt to deny coverage based on an exclusion is a task best left to an experienced San Antonio auto accident attorney.Non-Mandatory Auto Insurance Options in Texas
To help protect yourself against the costs of an auto accident, you can purchase a variety of types of optional insurance coverage. Under the standardized Texas Personal Automobile Policy, the types of optional coverage that are available include:
- Enhanced Liability Coverage – Liability coverage above the minimum requirements discussed above.
- Collision Coverage – To cover the damage to your vehicle.
- Medical Payments Coverage – To cover accident-related medical and funeral expenses.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage – To cover medical bills, funeral expenses, and 80 percent of your lost wages.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage – To cover your losses in the event of an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
If you have questions about your insurance coverage or another driver’s insurance coverage for accident-related injuries, you can contact Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos for a free consultation. To speak with San Antonio car accident attorney Ronald A. Ramos in confidence, please call (210) 308-8811 or tell us how we can help online now.