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Uninsured Car Insurance in Texas

In Texas, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance is not a stand-alone policy. Rather it is an additional coverage to an existing auto policy - a supplementary coverage for your car’s damages if you get into an accident with someone who does not have or has insufficient auto liability insurance. Getting UM/UIM insurance in Texas is optional, however, it is worth it if you think you are at risk of being involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance pays for the damage done to your car by another motorist who does not have insurance or whose insurance is insufficient to cover your medical and repair costs. This policy covers you and your car in a hit-and-run accident. About 20% of (over 4 million) vehicles in Texas are uninsured or underinsured, which results in the need for auto insurance coverage to mitigate this risk. . Auto insurance companies in Texas offer uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance policies by default. If you are not interested in taking the offer, it is up to you to reject it in writing.

What is Considered Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

In Texas, uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance are defined differently but serve the same purpose. They cover your losses in an accident if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. However, underinsured motorist insurance differs slightly from uninsured. For UIM coverage to take effect, the offending driver has liability insurance but it is not enough to cover your losses. In some states, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is sold separately, while others pair them together.

The Texas auto insurance marketplace provides its customers with various coverage options and does not require drivers to buy UM/UIM coverage. However, it requires that insurance companies provide additional protection for vehicle owners if they get hit by a driver who has no/insufficient car insurance. In Texas, all UM/UIM coverage is subject to a $250 deductible which you must pay before your insurance company can cover the rest.

What is the Purpose of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

In Texas, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for direct losses incurred when an uninsured/underinsured motorist hits your vehicle. The losses incurred may include bodily or property loss. The UM/UIM insurance covers both parts subject to the limits stipulated in your policy.

What is Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance for?

Although UM and UIM insurance coverages are different, their purposes are the same; they include:

  • Paying medical expenses.

  • Paying for lost wages.

  • Paying for pain and suffering.

  • Covering the costs of repairing your damaged car.

  • Paying for funeral expenses.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Texas covers any expenses you may incur due to an accident. Generally, UM/UIM coverage protects you if the driver/motorist responsible for your accident is not insured or their insurance coverage is not adequate to compensate for your losses.

What are the Types of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Two types of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage exist in Texas, including:

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage: It covers you and the people in your car during an accident and pays for medical bills, pain/suffering from injuries, and lost wages. Having personal liability coverage does not exclude the need for uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. In Texas, there are two coverage limits under the bodily injury coverage: per individual and (total) per accident. For example, limits of $50,000 per individual and $100,000 per accident would be written as 50/100 (unlike other states, where drivers may combine both limits into a single amount).

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage: Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage in Texas protects your car if someone hits you and does not have insurance or enough of it. You may have a deductible of up to $300 for this coverage.

If there is major damage to your car after an accident and the responsible driver is uninsured or underinsured, your coverage may pay for the repairs up to policy limits. Your coverage could also cover a collision deductible, rental car costs, or other expenses. These details are required and included for each vehicle on the policy.

Do you Need Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance in Texas?

Yes, you need UM/UIM insurance in Texas. One out of every five Texas drivers is uninsured or underinsured. With an estimated 23 million vehicles registered in Texas, over four million vehicles on the state highways do not have sufficient liability coverage. Generally, UI/UIM Motorist coverage in Texas is not mandatory for any driver. However, if you do not carry this extra protection, you will likely bear the cost of repairs out of pocket in the event of an accident, even if you are not at fault. In addition, UI/UIM coverage is available both to vehicle owners and non-car owners.

Texas drivers annually spend $900 million on UM/UIM coverage (or nearly $200 per every uninsured and underinsured vehicle in the state).

Why Do you Need Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance in Texas?

You need uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Texas mostly because:

  • It provides a safety net if you are involved in a significant wreck where the other driver's policy is insufficient or the driver does not have any insurance at all.

  • It relieves you of the financial burden of repairing or replacing your car out of pocket if you are involved in an accident.

Besides the uninsured Texas resident drivers, visitors from other nearby and distant states frequent the roads of the Lone Star state. Different states have different minimum liability requirements. While some states may require more coverage, others have very low limits that in Texas would not be considered legal.

In Texas, the minimum auto liability is:

  • $30,000 in Bodily Injury (BI) per person,

  • $60,000 in Bodily Injury (total) per accident,

  • $25,000 of Property Damage Liability (total) per accident.

As a comparison, consider being in an accident with the state’s guests:

Vehicles registered in California are required to carry a minimum of:

  • $15,000 in Bodily Injury (BI) per person,

  • $30,000 in Bodily Injury (total) per accident,

  • $5,000 of Property Damage Liability.

While the vehicle with Michigan plates (if it’s insured), will have a minimum of:

  • $50,000 in Bodily Injury per person

  • $100,000 in Bodily Injury per accident

  • $250,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

  • $10,000 in Property Damage outside the state lines ($1 million inside Michigan)

Every state is different and as a result, you never know when someone from in or out of Texas has enough insurance. It takes getting into an accident to find out what kind of coverage the other driver has. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

How Much Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Do you Need?

How much UM/UIM coverage you need in Texas depends on your needs. Generally, the minimum UM/UIM coverage available is $30,000. The rest depends on your needs and your specific situation:

  • how much it may cost to repair or replace your vehicle and other property that got damaged in the accident and

  • how much can you expect to pay for medical bills for yourself and your passengers, if an accident occurs.

Since UM/UIM coverage is usually much less expensive than Liability, Collision or Comprehensive coverages, you can make sure that your passengers, you, and your vehicle will be fixed and paid for in case of an accident caused by the under or uninsured driver.

The most common UM/UIM coverage amounts in Texas are:

  • $100,000 per accident in Property Damages (UM/UIM PD)

  • $300,00 per person/$500,000 per accident in Bodily Injury (UM/UIM BI)

Note: If you have multiple vehicles under the same policy, UM/UIM coverage amount must be the same for each vehicle. Make sure to have enough UM/UIM insurance so that your medical bills and other losses will be fully covered in the event of an accident caused by another driver.

What Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Do you Need?

There are two types of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, namely bodily injury and property damage coverage. It is recommended that you have both coverages in Texas because they cover different things. Below are two scenarios that depict how UM/UIM insurance works:

  1. An insured who has UM/UIM coverage on their vehicle is crossing the road when they get hit by a car whose driver has insufficient or no liability insurance. In that case, the hurt individual can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s car insurance company or sue the driver to get money from their liability insurance.

  2. Jack is involved in a car accident where he is not at fault, which results in $25,000 in medical bills and $60,000 in property damage, when his nice new car is totaled.

Alan, the “at-fault” driver possesses the minimum mandated Texas liability insurance, with the bodily injury limit of $30,000 and property damage limit of $25,000. While Alan’s insurance is within legal limits, it will cover Jack's bodily injuries but will fall short by $35,000 on property damage. Without UM/UIM coverage Jack may be stuck covering the difference out-of-pocket, unless he sues Alan for the shortage and actually wins.

Is Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Required by Law in Texas?

Texas laws do not mandate uninsured/underinsured insurance for vehicle owners. However, auto insurance companies recommend it to customers. It is up to you to decide if you will purchase the policy or not.

How Does Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Work?

In Texas, uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance provides broad coverage for vehicle damage and medical bills. It is a good way to take care of losses if the other driver does not have liability coverage or enough to pay for the damages caused by the accident. In essence, uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance in Texas pays for your losses the same way your liability coverage pays for the losses of another driver. The difference is that UM/UIM insurance is not mandatory. However, it has many advantages in the event of a hit-and-run accident. More importantly, it covers you and everyone with you in the car at the time of the accident.

What is Covered by Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance?

Uninsured/underinsured insurance in Texas covers the following:

  • Cost of repairing your damaged car: UM/UIM insurance provides enough money to pay for car damages even when the other driver does not have liability coverage or sufficient insurance to cover the costs.

  • Payment of medical bills: Uninsured/underinsured insurance covers the cost of treating injuries sustained from an accident. This will apply to you only or others with you in the car at the time of the incident.

  • Payments for the losses suffered during an accident: This includes the loss of time and wages.

What is Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Good for?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in Texas can save you from the financial burden that may arise in the event of an accident. For example, if your medical bills total $36,000 but the at-fault driver only has $20,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage, UI/UIM insurance will pay the remaining $16,000. This implies that you will not have to cover the balance out of pocket.

What Does Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Typically Include?

In Texas, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage typically includes coverage for bodily injury and damaged cars.

Who is Covered by Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

Uninsured/underinsured auto insurance covers the policyholder when they are involved in an accident, where the at-fault driver does not have auto insurance or the coverage of their auto insurance is insufficient.

What Type of Items Does Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Cover?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers a vehicle and its parts, including side mirrors, car screens, windows, and tires. It also covers bodily injuries sustained by persons in the vehicle at the time of the accident. The coverage pays the medical bills, lost wages, funeral expenses (if there was a loss of any life), loss of income, pain and suffering, and legal fees.

Does UM/UIM Insurance Cover - FAQ

Does Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Cover Theft?

No, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage does not cover theft. A different auto coverage plan, known as comprehensive insurance, covers theft and damages caused by break-ins (such as damaged door locks or broken windows).

Does Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Cover Scratches?

Yes it does, only if the scratches are a result of an accident involving an uninsured/underinsured person. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage covers all damages caused by an accident to a car.

Does Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Cover Mechanical Breakdowns?

No, unless the mechanical breakdown was a result of an accident. If your car already had a mechanical breakdown before an accident, the at-fault driver will only fix the car’s damaged parts. You will be responsible for fixing the mechanical issues. If you have mechanical breakdown insurance coverage, your insurer may fix it.

Does Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Cover for Storm Damage?

No, uninsured/underinsured auto coverage does not cover storm damage to your car. You can get comprehensive coverage if you need insurance coverage for storm damage.

What is not Covered by Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage does not cover any hazard that is not accident-related. It also does not cover you if you are the driver at fault. Like every other insurance policy, UM/UIM coverage does not cover any accident with evidence of intentionality. The same rule applies to criminal-related activities.

What Does Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage Typically Exclude?

In Texas, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage typically excludes damages not caused by impact from a collision with another vehicle, such as:

  • Theft,

  • Falling objects,

  • Vandalism, and

  • The impact of natural events such as storms, hail, wind, and floods.

If you were driving in the rain and you got into an accident with an at-fault driver who blames poor visibility for the accident, such driver will pay for the damages done to your car. However, if you drove into a ditch and damaged your car, you will need to file a claim with your own collision coverage provider.

What is an Example of Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

Here is a example of UM/UIM coverage in Texas:

A family of 4 (two parents and 2 children) are in a newly purchased family truck, which among other auto coverages also carries supplemental UM/UIM coverage for:

  • $300,000 Bodily Injury per person

  • $500,000 Bodily Injury per accident

  • $100,000 Property Damage per accident

This family is driving through an intersection when they get into an accident. A vehicle from a crossing street does not notice a stop sign and t-bones the minivan, which had a right of way.

As a result of the accident the family suffers $260,000 in damages:

  • $200,000 in bodily injuries ($125,000 to 1 person, and $25,000 per each of the other 3 members of the family), and

  • $60,000 in property damages, with a totaled almost new truck.

The police arrive at the scene, make sure that everyone who needed medical help - got it, check all involved party’s insurance and the at-fault driver can turn out to be 1 of the 3 options:

  • Uninsured

  • Underinsured,

  • or Properly insured

In order to be properly insured in this scenario, the at-fault driver needs to have the following (or higher) liability coverage limits:

  • $125,000 Bodily Injury per person

  • $200,000 Bodily Injury per accident

  • $60,000 Property Damage per accident

If the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage is less than the above limits, they are considered underinsured and are personally liable for the differences between what their insurance will cover and the damage they caused. The family can close up the gap using their collision coverage (car damages) and health insurance. Otherwise,UM/UIM coverage kicks in to pay the balance.

The uninsured driver is likely fined and/or arrested and will be liable for the damages they cause. In the end, the uninsured driver may pay or may not, but regardless of this fact, the family is covered. In case of an uninsured driver (or hit-and-run) collision coverage acts as primary, with UM coverage coming in to close the gap (if any is left).

When considering UM/UIM coverage, calculate the worst case scenario where you can be liable for your passengers and your vehicle being damaged by someone else. Discuss your options with a licensed Texas insurance agent.

What is the Most Common Use of Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

The most common use of Uninsured/underinsured auto coverage is to provide coverage for accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists. The policyholder must inform their insurer or agent about the incident immediately in such a situation.

What is the Difference Between Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance and Collision Auto Insurance?

Collision insurance covers the owner of the vehicle by paying for the damage to their vehicle, when they are at-fault in a collision. Collision insurance can also help pay for the damages to their vehicle when another vehicle is at-fault.

Uninsured/Underinsured coverage cannot be purchased on its own. It is supplemental to liability and collision insurance. UM/UIM works as an umbrella liability insurance, which activates only when the at-fault vehicle in a collision is uninsured or underinsured. UM/UIM covers the gap between the liability coverage of the at-fault vehicle, and what your collision coverage can pick up. Whatever is left, is paid for by UM/UIM.

Who Can Get Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

In Texas, persons or groups can get uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage policies in addition to a major auto insurance policy.

Who Qualifies for Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

To qualify for the uninsured/underinsured auto insurance in Texas, you must already possess at least the minimum liability auto insurance requirements. Liability coverage is sometimes referred to as a “30/60/25” plan. It is the basic coverage you are legally required to have in the state of Texas:

  • $30,000 for treating bodily injury per person.

  • $60,000 maximum for the treatment of all persons involved in a single covered accident.

  • $25,000 for all property damage.

Who Needs Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

UM/UIM coverage works similarly to umbrella liability insurance. It provides an additional level of protection on top of what your auto insurance already covers. In order for it to pay out, first you must be hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, and then your collision insurance also pays. Whatever is left, gets taken care of by UM/UIM coverage. Since UM/UIM is a supplemental insurance with preceeding protections, this coverage comes at a discounted cost.

Everyone needs uninsured/underinsured auto insurance in Texas. More importantly, you need UI/UIM insurance if you own a vehicle. Considering that 1 in 5 Texas drivers are uninsured or underinsured, if you get into an accident, there is a 20% of chance that the other driver may not have enough coverage to pay for your damages.

Discuss your needs with a knowledgeable state-licensed auto insurance agent, who has access to multiple insurers for comparison.

Who Should Get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Generally, you should get UM/UIM coverage if you transport multiple passengers and need to have additional coverage beyond what the collision insurance can cover. For example, if you have a large family and every weekend you drive the family minivan to church, you should get Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage.

Speak with a licensed insurance professional to find out more about UM/UIM coverage.

What are the Benefits of Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

In Texas, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is an umbrella-type insurance, which provides a safety zone where you need not bear the cost of repairing your vehicle when involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver.

What Happens if you Don't Have Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

If you do not have UM/UIM coverage on your insurance policy, you risk paying for losses out of your pocket if the other driver that got into an accident with you is at-fault and cannot pay for them.

In the absence of UM/UIM coverage, if you get into an accident with an at-fault driver who is uninsured or underinsured, your collision insurance covers the damage done to your car and your health insurance helps with the medical treatment. Both are subject to their own limits and exceptions.

  • Your collision insurance limit should be set high enough to cover the cost of replacement for your vehicle.

  • If you do not have health insurance, you may need to pay for health-related expenses out-of-pocket.

Why Do you Need to Reject Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance?

If you already have medical coverage and collision insurance, rejecting uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may not be a bad idea, as you get to save money and lower your monthly premium cost.

Keep in mind that nobody wants to spend “extra” money on coverage until a covered event occurs and there is no coverage in place. Discuss your auto insurance needs with a qualified and state-licensed insurance professional.

Is Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Worth it?

Yes, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is worth having, especially in Texas, where there is a high number of uninsured/underinsured drivers. Since you cannot tell who has or does not have insurance, it is advisable to get it. Texans spend over $900 million of UM/UIM coverage every year.