If you suffered injury in a Texas car accident but the other driver failed to carry auto liability insurance, you may have an avenue to receive compensation for the resulting damages. Uninsured motorist coverage is a form of auto insurance that covers the purchaser of the insurance in just these kinds of situations.
If you suffer, for example, $50,000 in out-of-pocket medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering, you may be able to make a claim against your own uninsured motorist coverage to pay for that loss.
Did you keep uninsured motorist coverage in your policy?
The answer is a “may” because it will depend on whether you declined this coverage when you bought your own policy. Your insurance company had a legal obligation to offer it to you, and you would only have been able to decline it by signing off on that decision.
Some car owners decline the UM coverage so their premiums will be lower. However, that may be penny-wise and pound foolish, given the numbers of people who fail to secure liability insurance for any negligent driving they may engage in.
Bodily versus property damage coverage
There are two kinds of UM coverage, one for injury to your body, the other to your property. The bodily injury coverage could pay for the following:
- Pain and suffering from physical trauma
- Lost wages due to inability to work
- Disfiguring scarring
- Permanent or temporary disability
With regard to property damage coverage, unlike the body coverage, there is a $250 deductible. However, it then pays for your auto repairs, any damaged items in your car, and even a rental car while your own vehicle receives repairs.
Most significantly, UM coverage also protects your passengers as well as any family members driving your vehicle or non-family members you have permitted to drive your car. It also covers the situation where the negligent party was a “phantom” driver who pulls off a hit-and-run at your expense, disappearing so you cannot determine if he or she maintained insurance or not.