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Considerations when a driver doesn't have adequate insurance

Everyone who operates a motor vehicle in Texas must have liability insurance. Texas law sets specific requirements for this type of insurance.

If you are struck by another driver, one of the first things that you will do is ask for the driver's license and proof of insurance so that you have that information to make a claim. Unfortunately, the coverage limits for some insurance policies aren't adequate to pay for catastrophic injuries.

Insurance coverage requirements in Texas

The liability minimum coverage in the state of Texas is 30/60/25. This means that the policy must cover $30,000 per injured person for a total of $60,000 per accident. It must also cover $25,000 of personal property damage related to the crash.

Things liability covers

The liability coverage is used to pay for a rental car for the person who is struck. It replaces or repairs the vehicle up to the stated coverage limits. For the personal injury, the coverage includes money for medical care, compensation for pain and suffering, coverage for funeral expenses, and payments for lost wages. The limit for all of these in total is the coverage limit of the policy.

Policy terms apply

There are many different types of terms that can impact coverage for accidents. Some policies might exclude specific people from the coverage. This is often the case if a household member is eligible for a driver's license but doesn't have one. It might also be the case if the policy holder specifically asked for certain individuals to be excluded from the coverage. Even though the vehicle insurance policy is written on the vehicle, you couldn't make a claim against the policy if the driver was an excluded person.

When coverage isn't sufficient

Catastrophic injuries usually can't be covered in full by a policy that only meets the state minimum coverage. When this happens, the victim of the accident might opt to pursue legal action against the driver. This could help fund expenses that aren't covered by an insurance policy.

For example, the first year of medical care for an incomplete spinal cord injury that is associated with some retention of function is $347,484 for only the medical care and life expenses. That total doesn't include the cost of missed wages and some other aspects. For a lifetime, a person who is 25 when injured would incur $1,578,274 of expenses, and a person who is 50 would have $1,113,990 in expenses. As you can see, this is much higher than the coverage limits for state minimum coverage.

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