What insurance coverage should I have?
Before you get on the road, you should make sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage in Texas. By law, you must carry a certain amount of liability insurance to cover any damages done to another person or automobile. You must have $30,000 of coverage for injuries to another person, up to $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. The shorthand for this is 30/60/25 coverage. Know that coverage can be higher, which may be needed if there are more than two cars involved in an accident.
You can determine how much collision coverage you would like; it is optional if your car is paid for. However, make sure that you are comfortable with the amounts and know how much certain damages may cost if you are the at-fault driver.
Read more about auto insurance on the Texas Department of Insurance’s website.
Collision Claims & Insurance
As you may know, your car loses value over time. Therefore, the amount of the claim will be determined by the value of the damaged property at the time of the accident. Whoever is at fault for the claim, the insurance company will only pay out up to the policy limits. So if you have $7,000 worth of damage, but the collision is only covered up to $5,000, the at-fault driver will have to pay the remaining $2,000. Also, know that there is a statute of limitations for making claims in Texas. You must file within two years of the date of the accident. However, the insurance company only has 15 days to either accept or reject your claim once filed.
Using your collision insurance may help if the at-fault driver’s insurance does not cover the entire cost of the damage to your vehicle. If it is a significant amount, you will want to consult with a lawyer to determine the best course of action.
Depending on the costs, extent of damage, and your own budget, you may either wait to receive money from the insurance company or repair your car and accept the insurance company’s check as a reimbursement for costs. In cases when a car is totaled and not drivable, you will have to wait out the process and should consider hiring an attorney to pursue further damages that may have been caused by the accident.
Know that insurance can also cover medical expenses and lost wages. If the at-fault driver caused the accident due to careless behavior, you may pursue punitive damages as well. Some examples of careless behavior are:
- Distracted driving, possibly while texting
- Drunk driving, or even driving with certain drug substances that can affect motor skills
- Aggressive driving
- Speeding and/or disregarding road signs/stop lights.
To pursue such damages is not as simple as filing a claim. Be sure to reach out to our law offices if you believe you were in an accident where the driver was engaged in these behaviors, and we will work hard to see that you are properly compensated.