Why You Need Higher Auto Insurance Limits
Most Texas auto accident deaths result in recovery of no more than $30,000, and most Texas auto accidents involve uninsured drivers. Here's how you can protect yourself and your family. This is not an insurance sales pitch; it's written by a trial lawyer who feels no love for insurance companies.
Minimum Liability Limits is a Bad Idea -- Case Study #1A prosperous San Antonio businessman sent his son to pick up some papers in Austin. The son picked up the papers and stopped off for a beer, then another, then another, before heading back to San Antonio in his father's car. He got confused and somehow managed to climb an exit ramp and head south in the northbound lanes of IH 35. Neither he nor the driver he hit head-on knew about the error until it was too late. The other driver sued the businessman, who carried only the Texas minimum liability insurance limits of $30,000 -- a drop in the bucket against the losses of the other driver and her family. He lost the business he'd worked for most of his adult life.
In addition to a criminal conviction, the son was stuck with a huge judgment that will burden him for the rest of his life because it cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
For anyone who has anything to lose, carrying only the legal minimum liability insurance limits is foolhardy. Everybody makes mistakes, and a mistake made while operating a two-ton motor vehicle at highway speeds can be physically deadly and financially ruinous. Make sure your insurance agent prices auto liability coverages for you that are sufficient to protect the assets you've worked for in the event of a tragedy, and make sure you have enough UM/UIM coverage for your own and your family's protection. You'll be surprised at how little the additional coverages cost.
No or Low Uninsured Motorist Coverage is an Even Worse Idea - Case Study #2A young stay-at-home mother of two small children recently lost her husband to a traffic accident involving an uninsured driver. The husband was driving an older car, and the couple thought they'd save money by buying only liability insurance coverage. They were right that collision coverage would have cost them nearly as much as their car was worth. However, in their effort to save money they also rejected Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage. Because the at-fault driver was uninsured, the young widow and her children were left with no recovery for the collision that took their husband and father.
If the other driver had carried the minimum coverage required by law, the family would have been able to recover only $30,000 - better than nothing, but hardly enough to replace the earning power of their loved one. If they'd had the foresight to buy UM/UIM coverage, they could have been protected against uninsured or underinsured drivers for $300,000, $500,000 or even $1,000,000 at a surprisingly low premium.
In San Antonio and South Texas, entirely too many drivers are completely uninsured. In 80+% of San Antonio traffic accidents at least one driver is uninsured. But even among insured drivers, most carry only the legal minimum liability limits of $30,000. You'll be surprised at how affordably you can provide the extra protection of higher UM/UIM coverage for your family. The premiums are low and thus generate low commissions, so your insurance agent may never raise the issue with you. Make sure YOU insist on quotes for higher coverages. You owe it to yourself, your family and your guests.