You are stopped at a red light when all of a sudden, a driver traveling behind you slams into your vehicle. You call the police and wait for them to arrive. The officer determines that the other driver was texting and did not have insurance. Your day just went from bad to worse.
The Insurance Journal estimates that between 12 to 14% of Texas drivers do not have insurance. In the Rio Grande Valley, it is believed that the number is even higher. This should concern every driver considering the damage that can be caused by an auto accident. When an insured driver causes an accident, the insurance will pay to have your car repaired and will compensate you for your injuries, medical bills, and any lost wages you might incur as a result of the crash. With an uninsured driver, you can be left to bear all costs for repairs, injuries, and lost wages. If you have full coverage on your vehicle, you can at least get it repaired. If you do not, you will have to pay out of pocket for repairs.
This risk can be offset by purchasing uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is a type of insurance that will protect you if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver or if you are the victim of a hit-and-run accident. This coverage will stand in the place of the insurance that the at-fault driver should have had. It will cover auto repairs and compensate you for injuries, medical bills, and lost wages.
In Texas, an insurance company is required by law to offer uninsured motorist coverage when purchasing your insurance policy. To opt out, you must specify in writing that you do not wish to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. In the highly competitive insurance industry, it may be suggested that you remove this coverage to lower your insurance premium. The additional cost for uninsured motorist coverage is nominal compared to the potentially exorbitant expenses associated with being hit by an uninsured driver.
As an attorney, I regularly encounter issues with uninsured drivers. A new client will come into the office and, after investigating the claim, we will learn that the other driver does not have insurance. If our client does not have uninsured motorist coverage, there is, unfortunately, nothing that can be done. On multiple occasions, we have had clients left to pay out of pocket for their vehicle repairs as well as ambulance and hospital bills.
If you are unsure whether you have uninsured motorist coverage, you can call your insurance agent and find out. If you do not have this coverage, I would recommend you seriously consider adding it. It is a small price to pay to ensure that you will not have to pay out of pocket for vehicle repairs or medical bills caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.