Texas requires all drivers to carry an auto insurance liability policy. This type of insurance covers the costs of injury to other people and their property if you cause an auto accident. However, some motorists fail to follow this law, leaving victims to deal with medical bills and lost wages after an accident in which they are at fault. 

Learn more about how uninsured and underinsured motorist policies work to decide whether you should invest in this type of coverage. 

What is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage? 

If you experience property damage and/or serious injury in an auto accident caused by a motorist with no or limited car insurance, this type of policy pays for your medical treatments and car repairs. The policy will also cover personal injury and property damage up to your designated limits if the responsible driver leaves the scene of the accident. Insurance companies in Texas have a legal mandate to offer uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage when you buy your policy. 

What happens when I have an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver? 

When an auto accident occurs, you should notify your insurance company right away. The company will appoint an insurance adjuster to investigate your case. He or she will gather details about the accident from witness testimony, police reports, damage to the vehicles involved, and photos and videos of the crash scene. If the adjuster finds you are at fault for the collision, your own policy will pay for your injuries. 

When another driver is at fault, your policy generally pays and then recoups the cost of the settlement from the responsible driver’s insurance company. When he or she does not have insurance, your uninsured and underinsured motorist policy takes effect. Without this type of insurance, you will only receive coverage from your own comprehensive policy, which may not cover the full extent of your financial loss. 

Sometimes, the other driver’s insurance company asks you to sign a contract indicating that you will not sue in exchange for a settlement. This type of action is illegal, and you should report the firm to the Texas Department of Insurance.