State law requires it. Many people cannot afford to buy and maintain auto insurance. They buy auto insurance when its time to renew their driver’s license or their vehicle registration, and then the policy soon lapses when the buyer stops paying the monthly insurance premium.
What if you’re in a wreck with an uninsured driver? The first question you must answer is, do you have Uninsured Motorist coverage on your own auto insurance policy? Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) coverage is actually insurance you buy to protect yourself in case you’re in a wreck with an uninsured driver. Be aware that experienced personal injury lawyers can often locate insurance policies that are unknown at first.
If you do have UM coverage, a claim must be set up with your own insurance company. Your personal injury attorney will generally want to handle that for you in order to minimize your direct contact with the insurance adjuster. Your insurance company will assign a claim number and they will assign an insurance adjuster to handle the claim. Of course the insurance company is going to try to put one over on you most of the time, but at least there’s insurance coverage.
If you don’t believe you have UM coverage, don’t be so sure. It often occurs that the auto insurance company failed to properly exclude UM coverage from your policy. Texas law requires that every auto insurance policy must automatically include UM coverage unless the buyer actually rejected that coverage in writing. That means the insurance company must provide UM coverage if they failed to get you to sign a rejection of UM coverage. Insurance agents frequently neglect to present insurance buyers with the proper rejection form.
It is important to keep in mind, even if you’re dealing with your own insurance company on a UM claim, you are still dealing with an insurance company. They are not going to treat you any better just because you are their customer. The insurance industry bought and paid for their “tort reform” laws that absolutely knocked the teeth out of Texas insurance law, by eliminating the penalties and fines that used to be imposed on insurance companies who did not play fair.
Furthermore, the Texas Supreme Court is stacked 100% with anti-consumer pro-insurance company judges who always deliver the results the insurance companies want. Here’s a good article by some other Austin lawyers about how Texas law has been twisted around to give the insurance companies every possible advantage.