In some ways, liability insurance coverage helps make the outcome of a collision a little bit fairer. Instead of forcing someone who made responsible choices at the wheel to file a claim against their own insurance coverage, the Texas insurance system allows the person not at fault to use the insurance coverage of the person responsible for the wreck.
This approach in theory reduces the likelihood of someone who has responsible driving habits paying more for insurance through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, liability coverage means that the person injured by someone else’s bad habits on the road also depends on their foresight and personal responsibility for financial concerns.
For a small but noticeable number of people hurt in Texas car crashes or coping with a totaled vehicle, there will be a gap in insurance coverage that makes them responsible for certain costs.
The Texas requirements aren’t enough for the worst crashes
What the state requires and what a driver actually carries in liability coverage can be vastly different. Most people who talk to their insurance agents or attorneys about their personal liability end up investing in additional coverage because they recognize that what Texas mandates won’t protect them and their assets sufficiently after a crash.
There are two basic kinds of insurance that are mandatory. Drivers should have property damage liability coverage to pay for the destruction of someone else’s vehicle and any other property damage that occurs in the crash, but Texas only requires that people have $25,000 of such coverage. The requirements for bodily injury liability coverage aren’t much higher.
The state mandates $30,000 of medical coverage for crashes where one person reports an injury and a minimum of $60,000 in such coverage for collisions that hurt more than one person. You may recognize that the property damage coverage would provide less compensation than the value of your new vehicle, and severe injuries could cost $30,000 in trauma care within a few hours of someone’s admission to the hospital in some cases.
What hapens when insurance is insufficient
If you find yourself in the intimidating scenario of having serious injuries or an unsafe vehicle and not enough coverage to fully pay those costs, you may have a few options available to you. If you have underinsured motorist protection on your policy, you can make a claim against your insurance coverage for the costs that the other driver’s policy doesn’t pay.
You may also be able to take the other driver to civil court to seek compensation for the remainder of your losses. Sometimes, there could be another party, other than the driver at fault for the crash, who is to blame, like a business that turned out defective vehicle components.
Looking into all of your options is a smart step when you have more costs from a recent car crash than the other driver has insurance coverage.