The Ins and Outs of Car Insurance Coverage

Houston Car Accident Attorneys are Here to Help

While purchasing a car is a fun and exciting task, deciding what type of car insurance you will purchase is anything but.  However, it is an important consideration that should be taken seriously.  We all hope that we are never in a car accident, but it is smart to plan for the worst case scenario.

Here we hope to help you by laying out the different types of auto insurance coverage available in Texas, and the pros and cons of purchasing each.  After reviewing your options, feel free to contact one of our Houston accident attorneys to help you in any way necessary.

Texas Law Requirements

Texas law requires that motorists pay for the accidents that they cause, and most people cover this financial responsibility requirement by acquiring car insurance.  The minimum liability requirements are as follows:

  • $30,000 for each injured person
  • Up to a total of $60,000 per accident if 2 or more people are involved
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident

These are the minimum amounts, but most drivers choose to have additional coverage to cover themselves in case they are involved in an accident that results in severe personal injury or property damage to themselves or others.

In this article we want to discuss the various types of coverage in addition to the basic liability coverage that you may purchase, and discuss the benefits of each one.  No one anticipates being in a serious car accident, but it is best to consider the worst case scenario in which you will be held personally liable for the amount of damage in excess of your coverage’s upper limits.

If you have been in a car accident and need assistance dealing with your medical bills or the insurance companies, a Houston car accident attorney from Kirkendall Dwyer LLP can provide you the immediate answers and assistance you need.  Please feel free to contact us for your free consultation.

Additional Auto Insurance Coverage

Comprehensive Insurance

Comprehensive coverage functions the way it sounds: no matter what happens to your car, your insurance will cover it.  Car accidents are not the only bad things that can happen to your vehicle.  You might be driving on a dark rural road and hit a deer.  In Texas, where the weather is as unpredictable as it can be inclement, hail can cause serious damage to your car.  Comprehensive coverage will also cover carjacking and theft.

Adding this type of coverage to your policy can be expensive.  Shop around for the best price for comprehensive coverage.  You can also do things such as install an anti-theft system or tracking device in your car.  This can bring the price of the coverage down.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays for damage to your own vehicle, regardless of whose fault the accident and resulting damage was.  This can come in handy in many situations.  If you are at fault for the accident, collision coverage will still cover repairs to your car.  If the other party is at fault for the accident but can not pay for the repairs for some reason, you are covered.  If it is unclear whose fault the accident was, while a legal battle wages to establish fault, you can rely on collision coverage to cover your repairs in the meantime.

Collision coverage is very valuable.  It allows you to rest assured knowing that your car repairs will be covered no matter what the situation.  However, if your car is old and you know that in the case of a serious accident you would not seek to make all repairs and instead buy another vehicle, then you may choose to forgo collision coverage.  In this case however, you should be sure that you have enough in emergency savings to cover yourself.  With newer, more expensive cars, we suggest you do purchase collision coverage.

Medical / Personal Injury Coverage

This type of coverage provides protection for you and your passengers.  No matter who was at fault in the accident, personal injury coverage will cover your medical bills to treat your physical injuries.  However, if you have comprehensive medical insurance, this might not be something you need to purchase.  A good general health insurance policy is likely to be broader and cover more than this type of car insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

There are plenty of drivers on the road that do not meet the minimum financial responsibility laws.  Unfortunately, this means that it is possible to have an accident that was not your fault with a person that has no car insurance, or has inadequate insurance to cover the personal injuries and property damage incurred.  In this situation, though the negligent individual is still liable for the damages out of pocket, he might not have the money to pay for it.  This is where uninsured or under-insured coverage comes in handy.  If the accident was not your fault but the other party is not financially able to cover damages, your insurance will pay.

Whether or not you choose to purchase this type of insurance depends on the risk you want to take.  In Texas, it is estimated that there are about 2.6 million uninsured motorists on the road.  While this number has gotten better over the last few years, getting stuck with bills for an accident you didn’t cause is an unfortunate thing.  In Texas, all uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is subject to a $250 deductible which you must pay before you receive full coverage.

GAP Insurance

GAP insurance stands for “Guaranteed Auto Protection”.  This comes into play when you buy a new car that you are making car payments on.  In this case, you may owe more money on the car than it is actually worth.  If your car is totaled or stolen, you may owe the lender more than you receive from your insurance company, and you would be liable for the difference.

But with GAP coverage, you will be covered for the difference between the actual cash value settlement from your insurance company and the outstanding balance on your car loan.  The policy may even cover the deductibles on your standard car insurance policy.

Some lenders require this type of insurance, so you may have it without realizing it.

Contact a Houston Car Accident Attorney for Help

When it comes to car accidents, hindsight is 20/20.  When you purchased your car insurance, you may have decided against additional coverage.  If you have been in a car accident and are unsure how to proceed, a Houston accident attorney can guide you every step of the way and make sure that you are compensated for your injuries.  The insurance companies know exactly how to delay payments and cover the minimum amount for your damage and injuries.  Having a Houston accident attorney in your corner will level the playing field and ensure that you are compensated fully and promptly.  Contact us today for your free case review.