To drive legally in Texas, all drivers are required to carry auto insurance. Texas has a specified minimum amount of car insurance that must be carried to drive in Texas. Yet does that minimum amount required by automobile insurance provide you with enough coverage in Texas? You may be surprised to learn just how little protection the minimum policy actually offers you.
Auto Insurance Minimum Limits
In Texas, drivers must carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance to protect themselves if they are found to be at fault in an accident. Texas state minimums are $30,000 for Bodily Injury Liability (or BI) per individual and $60,000 per accident as well as $25,000 for Property Damage Liability (PD).
According to the Texas Department of Insurance:
There are eight basic auto insurance coverages. You can choose whether to buy the others.
Liability coverage pays to repair the other driver’s car if you caused the accident. It also pays the other driver’s and his or her passenger’s medical bills and some other expenses. Texas law requires you to have at least $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage. This is called 30/60/25 coverage.
Think about buying more liability coverage. The minimum liability limits might be too low if you cause a multi-vehicle accident or the other driver’s car is totaled. If you don’t have enough liability coverage to pay for the damages and injuries you cause, you might have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. The other driver could sue you.
Collision coverage pays to repair or replace your car after an accident.
Comprehensive (other than collision) coverage pays if your car is stolen or damaged by fire, flood, vandalism or something other than a collision.
Medical payments coverage pays your and your passengers’ medical bills. It also pays if you’re hurt while riding in someone else’s car or while walking or biking.
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is similar to medical payments coverage. It pays your and your passengers’ medical bills. But it also pays for things like lost wages and other nonmedical costs. All auto policies in Texas include PIP coverage. If you don’t want it, you must tell the company in writing.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays if you’re hit by someone who didn’t have insurance or didn’t have enough to pay your medical and car repair bills. It also pays if you’re in a hit-and-run accident. Insurance companies must offer you this coverage. If you don’t want it, you must tell the company in writing.
Towing and labor coverage pays to tow your car if it can’t be driven. It also pays for labor to change a flat tire or jump-start your battery.
Rental reimbursement coverage pays for you to rent a car if yours is stolen or being repaired after an accident. Some policies also pay for taxis or ride-hailing services.
What does my policy cover?
Coverages vary by policy and depend on the types of coverages you choose. This table shows some of the things most policies do and don’t cover. Read your policy or talk to your agent to be sure of your exact coverages.
Most policies cover the following:
Damage to your car because of fire, hail, theft, flood, flying gravel, or hitting an animal (if you have comprehensive coverage)
Accidents that happen while you or someone covered by your policy is driving a rental car
Accidents that happen while you’re driving in other states and Canada
Your attorneys’ fees if you’re sued because of an accident
Car repair, lost wages, and medical and funeral bills to the other driver and passengers if you cause an accident
Most policies do not cover the following:
Accidents that happen while you’re driving for a ride-hailing service or delivering food or other items for a fee
Accidents that happen while you’re driving a car that doesn’t belong to you but you could use regularly, like a company-owned car
Equipment not permanently installed in your car
Accidents that happen while you’re driving in Mexico, driving for business, or racing
Damages that you caused intentionally
Repair claims: Insurance companies will pay for repairs or replacement of your car only up to its actual cash value. Actual cash value is the cost to replace your car, minus depreciation. Depreciation is a decrease in value because of wear and tear or age.
Some companies might give you a list of preferred repair shops, but they can’t require you to use a shop on its list.
The insurance company is only required to pay for parts of like kind and quality to those that were damaged. It doesn’t have to pay for original parts from the manufacturer.
What if the other driver’s insurance company refuses to pay my claim?
If you believe the other driver was at fault, but his or her insurance company won’t pay your claim, file a claim with your own insurance company. You must have collision coverage to do this. Your insurance company will probably try to collect from the other driver’s company.
Be aware that if you file a claim with your own company, you’ll have to pay a deductible.
What if the other driver’s limits aren’t high enough to pay my bills?
If the other driver’s policy limits aren’t high enough to pay for all your car repairs, file a claim with your insurance company. Your collision or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage should pay the difference. If you file a claim with your insurance company, you’ll have to pay a deductible.
If the other driver’s limits aren’t enough to cover all your medical bills, file a claim with your auto insurance company or your health insurance company. Your auto insurance company will use either your PIP coverage, medical payments coverage, or your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to pay the difference. You might have to pay a deductible.
What if the insurance company totals my car?
If the cost to repair your car is close to its current value, the company will probably decide to total it. This means the company will pay you to replace your car rather than fix it.
If the company totals your car, it will pay your car’s value minus depreciation. Depreciation is a decrease in value because of wear and tear or age. For instance, if your car is 10 years old, the company will pay you the value of a 10-year-old used car. It won’t pay to replace your car with a new car that’s the same make and model as your totaled car.
Be prepared to negotiate with the company to get what you think is a fair deal. A company might raise its offer if you can show that your car would sell for a higher price. Get written price quotes for a similar car from used car dealers. You can also look in the classified section of your local newspaper for used car prices.
If you still owe money on your car, the amount the company will pay you if it totals your car might not be enough to pay off your loan. This will happen if the market value of your car is less than what you owe. Auto dealers and lenders usually offer guaranteed auto protection, or gap, insurance for this.
Should I Speak With My Insurance Company After an Accident?
Car accidents can be disorienting and may even leave you injured and in need of emergency medical care. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your particular car accident case, once you are in stable condition, you will need to report the car accident to your insurance company. When you go to report the accident to your insurance company, you will speak with an insurance adjuster who is on a mission to gather as much information about your accident as possible. While you may feel that it is harmless to speak with your insurance company, it is important to keep in mind that insurance companies use predatory tactics in order to protect their money. You may feel ready to speak with an insurance adjuster immediately following your accident, however, it is important to remember, the insurance adjuster you speak with knows you were just involved in an accident. They will take advantage of the fact that your emotions are high and you are still processing the events that occurred.
Don’t let these predatory companies take advantage of the fact that you were involved in a high-stress situation and do not have detailed knowledge of what to expect when filing a car accident claim. They will ask you the same question in many different ways, hoping to find inconsistencies or exaggerations in your account of the accident. The goal of the insurance adjuster will be to discredit you so they can get away with paying you the minimum amount of money for the injuries you have suffered. Even when you have taken time to calm down and collect yourself, navigating conversations with insurance adjusters can be tricky, one misstep can end up costing you.
Luckily, when you choose to work with an experienced car accident attorney, you can protect yourself from being taken advantage of from insurance companies. Attorney Caruthers has a track record that will make insurance companies take your case seriously. These companies know going up against an attorney that their typical bully tactics will not be as simple to get away with. This is because cases handled by personal injury attorneys are more difficult for them to manipulate you into answering too many questions or revealing irrelevant information that they will use against you. Never provide an insurance company with information following an accident without first contacting your personal injury attorney. The sooner you contact your personal injury attorney following your accident, the better your odds at fair compensation will be. Our team is waiting to help you!
Car Accidents Happen
Drivers should practice safe driving, however, even the safest drivers can be involved in tragic car accidents. If you or someone you love has suffered the misfortune of being involved in an accident due to the reckless or negligent actions of another driver, Attorney Caruthers can help you. By working with an experienced car accident attorney you will protect your rights and protect you throughout the process by ensuring you are not blamed for the accident and that you receive the compensation you deserve. Our legal team understands how physically, emotionally, and financially devastating car accidents can be, this is why we put your need first. If our team is unable to negotiate reasonable compensation, we can help you file a personal injury lawsuit seeking additional compensation in your case. Learn more about how we can help you get the justice you deserve when you fill out this no-obligation form.
Spanish-Speaking Legal Help Following Car Accident
At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you. We make it simple for those who have been injured in car accidents to navigate the legal system in order to get the results they need to continue on in their lives. Schedule your no-obligation car accident consultation with Attorney Caruthers today. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your needs are being met and that you are getting the treatment you deserve in your car accident case. Don’t hesitate, the sooner you call the more we can do to help your case!
Best Car Accident Attorney in Houston TX
If you have been injured, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work because of a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you! Our team works hard to bring the most efficient and practical solutions to your car accident case. Beverly R. Caruthers proudly serves and defends the Greater Houston area including but not limited to Baytown, Conroe, Crosby, Humble, Huntsville, Lake Jackson, Missouri City, Pasadena, Spring, Tomball. Our legal team is bilingual and offers Spanish speaking legal counsel for all of our clients. If you need legal representation following an incident don’t hesitate to contact Beverly R. Caruthers Law Office!