One of my clients called me a couple of weeks ago. She’d stopped at a red light waiting with cars in front of her and behind her for the light to change. She heard a horrible noise behind her. A car had crested the hill behind the row of parked cars, apparently didn’t see the red light or them, and slammed into them without ever touching their brake pedal. Cars behind my client were pushed into her and she was pushed into the car in front of her.
Dallas Police and Fire Department personnel responded as they do for any accident involving three or more vehicles. Information was gathered from each driver by officers on the scene for the report they’d file. Cars that were not drivable were towed, while those who could drove them away when they’d provided their information. As it turned out, the driver who plowed into the stopped cars did not have current car insurance.
My client’s question was what should she do and how would her claim be processed. In this instance, and too many like it, my client is the innocent victim of a driver who’s uninsured. Car insurance claim adjusters refer to this type of claim as an uninsured motorist claim. Dallas County has led all Texas counties the past couple of years with the most uninsured drivers, which is why I recommend my clients carry coverage to protect themselves and their property from uninsured drivers.
Uninsured motorist coverage, referred to as UM/UIM for uninsured motorist / under insured motorist, protects Texas drivers from two groups of people, while providing two types of coverage.
Driver Groups: In the first case, UM/UIM provides protection from those with no car insurance and those with not enough coverage. If the person who hits you doesn’t have insurance, this coverage pays to repair or total your car based on your policy’s limits, or amount of coverage.
It also pays when the person who hits you doesn’t have enough car insurance coverage to fully pay for repairs or the totaled value of your vehicle. For instance, if you drive a $50,000 pickup or luxury import, and the person who hits you has only state minimum limits (see https://wiseinsurancegroup.com/texas-car-insurance-and-liability-coverage/), UIM coverage will pick up the difference between where their policy stops and the cost to repair or the totaled value of your vehicle.
Coverage Types: UM/UIM also provides two types of coverage; property damage and bodily injury. The property damage portion is what’s used to repair or pay for the totaled value of your car. The bodily injury coverage helps defray the cost of medical care for you and anyone riding in the car with you. Considering the cost of medical care, as well as the deductibles some people carry, the cost of this coverage is a bargain.
One benefit of this coverage is it lowers your out of pocket deductible to $250. It’s bad enough a policy holder would even have a deductible, however, this helps soften the sting. It’s important to note, uninsured / under insured motorist coverage is optional coverage on all Texas car insurance policies. If you don’t add it, you don’t have it.
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