Car insurance is something that many of us take for granted. We pay our premiums and then don’t think about it again until we need to make a claim. If you’re in a car accident it’s important to be prepared for the next steps and have a good understanding of how insurance plays its part. You might not know how much insurance coverage applies to your situation or who is liable for any injuries that occur as a result of the crash. Do you even have insurance? What should you do if your car is totaled? What happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance or has less coverage than you? Below are 10 things you should understand when it comes to car insurance.
1. What is Liability Insurance?
Texas law requires all motorists to have automobile liability insurance, this is the type of insurance that pays for another person’s expenses if you cause an accident. This includes medical payments as well as damage to someone’s property. Minimum liability coverage in Texas is $25,000 per injured person, with $50,000 for all injured persons in the same incident. Texas offers hefty fines and penalties for individuals caught driving without auto insurance. Failure to produce valid auto insurance amounts to a minimum fine of $175 and a maximum of $350. If there are multiple instances a driver can be charge much harsher fees and can even lose their license.
2. What are Damages?
There are two general categories of damages: compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include medical bills, lost wages, loss of future income, property damage and pain and suffering/mental anguish. Punitive damages serve as punishment to the defendant for his actions. Punitive damages are only awarded of the driver who caused the accident was guilty of outrageous actions such as road rage or driving under the influence of drug or alcohol. A jury will only award the plaintiff with whichever type of damage he/she feels is most appropriate given their circumstance after hearing all evidence presented at trial.
3. What is the difference between Collision and Comprehensive Insurance?
Collision covers damages to your own vehicle in an accident with another vehicle or object, for example a tree or guardrail. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your car caused by something other than a collision, such as a fire, natural disaster, falling object, theft or vandalism. Neither collision or comprehensive policies will cover damages to another person’s vehicle or property.
4. What is Full Coverage Car Insurance?
Full coverage policies usually include collision and comprehensive coverage. These two types of coverages are often paired together as they both protect you against different types of accidents that could happen involving your car. You’ll want to make sure your policy includes these coverages if you’re looking for complete protection on the road; it’s one way to ensure that you’re never left wondering what happens next after a serious accident!
5. What is Uninsured Coverage?
Uninsured coverage protects you if you are hit by a person that does not have liability insurance coverage. In this case, your personal uninsured coverage will help pay for damages even if you are not at-fault for the accident. Texas does not require Uninsured Coverage but it is always a good idea to carry it. This can help you from paying out-of-pocket for a car accident that was not your fault.
6. What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured coverage protects you if you are hit by a person that does have insurance but the policy amounts aren’t large enough to cover your damages and/or medical bills. The at-fault driver’s insurance will typically pay for all damages up to his or her auto insurance policy limits, then your underinsured motorist coverage may cover the excess amount up to the limits you select when you purchase your policy.
7. What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
Personal injury protection is a type of car insurance that covers the medical costs in case after an auto accident. It will pay for some of your medical bills, lost wages, and funeral expenses if you are seriously injured. In Texas, personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is mandatory, unless you sign a waiver declining the coverage. Rejecting the coverage may leave you unprotected if you’re suddenly injured in an accident and face high medical bills or lost wages.
8. What is the Difference in First and Third Party Benefits
First and third party benefits can be confusing, but they are important to understand if you have been in a car accident. First-party coverage provides protection from damage to the insured’s own vehicle or property, while third-party insurance is when a claim is made with the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident. Ideally, if you are involved in an accident that is not your fault the other driver’s insurance (third-party insurance) will pay for your damages. However, all insurance companies will try to pay you as little as possible and it is important to contact an experienced Texas Personal Injury Attorney before you agree to or sign any settlement offers.
9. What is the Difference in Limited Tort and Full Tort?
The difference between limited tort coverage and full tort can be financially drastic. Limited damages mean that you can only receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages and repair costs. Full tort policies allows patients to receive full compensation for all of these things with the addition of pain and suffering. This policy option provides you with the best potential to receive additional compensation after an accident.
10. What about Worker’s Compensation?
Workers are only able to receive workers’ compensation benefits if their injuries occurred during the scope of their employment and while on-the-job. If you were injured in a car accident while driving for work-related reasons, you may be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Contact a Texas Personal Injury Attorney to Discuss Car Insurance Coverage
Then it comes to car insurance in Texas, the bottom line is that you need to be educated about your car insurance and what it means for you. It can seem like a big hassle to shop around and study policy options but we want you to feel confident in the decisions you make with regards to protecting yourself and your loved ones on the road. A car insurance policy can be one of the most important decisions you will make. Whether it comes to choosing coverage options, or understanding how your current policy works-you are going to want to educate yourself on all aspects before making any decision. Our attorneys have extensive experience in this field and can help with whatever questions you might have about your situation. If you’ve been injured in an accident and your insurance company is giving you the runaround call Adam Miller, The Texas Bulldog today at 713-572-3333!