Texas drivers should be aware of the benefits of auto insurance. Auto insurance is an important asset that many drivers neglect until it is too late. As a Texas driver, the state requirements offer some protection but it might not be enough. Here is an auto insurance guide to ensure that you have the auto insurance coverage that you need.
Understanding Auto Insurance Requirements in Texas
You are required to pay for any damages caused as a result of your driving. If another driver causes damages, they will be responsible for the damages that they caused. If you are injured, you can file a personal injury claim. You are obligated to carry liability coverage in most states in the United States, including Texas. Liability coverage protects you if you cause damage to someone else’s property or if you are responsible for someone suffering serious injuries. Liability coverage will take care of the injured party’s medical bills, lost wages, and extra compensation for pain and suffering. Liability coverage also takes care of the expenses involved in repairing the injured party’s car. It can also cover any rental car expenses until the injured party’s vehicle is fixed.
Personal Injury Protection
Most auto insurance policies will include personal injury protection insurance. While many insurance companies automatically add personal injury protection to your coverage, you have the option to reject it if you do not believe that it’s necessary. Personal injury protection covers medical expenses, lost wages, and alternative care while the injured party heals from their injuries. Personal injury protection does not look at who is at fault for the accident. Drivers, passengers, and anyone else who is injured in the crash are eligible for coverage.
Take some time to analyze your personal situation before deciding whether to accept or reject personal injury protection. If you have a good health insurance policy, personal injury protection may not be necessary. However, before you reject the policy, keep in mind that there are unique benefits to personal injury protection, such as childcare assistance. If you do choose to add PIP, minimum coverage doesn’t protect you if you suffer a serious injury, so you may want to increase your policy limit.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payment coverage is available to Texas drivers. There are some similarities between medical payment coverage and personal injury protection. Medical payment coverage covers any medical bills regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If you were walking or riding a bike or motorcycle when a vehicle hit you, you are also covered. However, the major difference between medical payment coverage and PIP is that medical payment coverage does not replace any lost wages while you are injured.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
This type of coverage protects you if you are involved in a collision with someone who is lacking full coverage. It helps to cover medical bills and repair expenses. Texas auto insurance companies are obligated to offer you insured motorist coverage. However, you do have the ability to decline that type of coverage. According to a recent study, over 10% of Texas drivers do not have auto coverage, so it might be wise to consider adding uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to your policy.
Other Coverage Options to Consider
As you continue navigating the Texas car insurance world, think about some of the unique risks involved with driving. Driving is often unpredictable, and accidents can happen at any time. To protect yourself regardless of the situation, consider adding extra coverage. Flooding is a significant problem in Texas, and natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes can cause extreme damage to vehicles. Comprehensive coverage will protect you if your vehicle is damaged due to inclement weather. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle if it is stolen, vandalized, or set on fire. You are also covered if a flying object damages your vehicle or if you collide with an animal. If you are leasing a vehicle, comprehensive coverage is mandatory.
Average Texas Auto Insurance Premiums
As a Texas driver, you’ll likely pay about $1,000 a year for auto insurance. Be sure to shop around, as many companies offer competitive prices. Comprehensive coverage is around $200 per year. Collision coverage is more than double that price. Liability coverage is close to $600 per year. Shop around to try and find at least 3 or 4 quotes before deciding.
Factors Allowed in Texas Car Insurance Rates
While reading a Texan’s guide to auto insurance, keep in mind that multiple factors can impact your car insurance rate. Companies may look at your age. If you are a young or inexperienced driver, you will have to pay higher premiums than more experienced drivers. Your credit score is also an important factor. If you have poor credit, your premium will be at least a few hundred dollars more than if you have a higher credit score. If you have a college degree, you may have a lower premium.
Your occupation also impacts your car insurance rates. If you have a high-risk job or one that requires a lot of time driving, that increases the chances that you may be involved in an accident. That means the cost of your insurance policy will be a little higher. In some cases, your gender may play a factor. Your relationship status may also be a factor, as married drivers are generally seen as safer drivers resulting in lower premiums. Your ZIP code may impact your car insurance premium if you live in an area with a high crime rate or an elevated rate of auto insurance claims.
Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance
If you are driving without insurance, you risk being pulled over and fined. Renewing your driver’s license will also become more expensive.
When Can A Vehicle Be Totaled
A car is classified as totaled when the damage exceeds the total cash value. Your car may become totaled from a crash, flood, or fire. If someone collides with your car and totals it, you can file a claim. If you are responsible for your car being totaled, you can use your collision or comprehensive insurance to cover you.
Take some time before you decide which quote to choose. If you have any questions about your auto insurance coverage, the experts at Gant Insurance Agency in McKinney, Texas are here to assist you. We will help you find the right coverage for your situation.