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Texas Car Insurance Coverage

There are so many types of car insurance coverage available in Texas that it can be confusing to try to understand them all, let alone try to figure out what you need. If you're in this situation, or just investigating what kinds of car insurance are available in Texas in a more general way, it's important that you find simple, easy-to-understand explanations that make sense to you, so you can make the best automobile insurance choices for you and your family.

Common Types of Insurance

Liability insurance compensates the victim or victims in an automobile accident for their losses. This is insurance that is carried by every driver in the state so that, if they are deemed at-fault in an accident, the other person does not have to cover their own damages. Texas requires minimal amounts of this insurance to legally drive in the state.

There are two types of liability insurance in Texas: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Bodily injury liability insurance covers any medical or funeral costs that the victim of an accident might incur, as well as compensation for wages lost due to the accident. Property damage liability covers the cost of repairing or replacing any vehicles, buildings, landscaping, or other property that is damaged in the accident, as well as the cost of a rental car while the damaged vehicle is being repaired. In addition, if a court chooses to award other damages to the victim of the accident, this would be covered by one of the liability policies as well.

Collision coverage is car insurance that covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle after an accident. It pays whether the accident was your fault or someone else's. It's important to remember that, if your vehicle needs to be replaced, the insurance company will not necessarily pay you what it would cost to purchase a new vehicle. Instead, they will pay you what they determine your car to be worth, after evaluating its make, model, age, and any optional features you might have chosen to install. In addition, they will subtract the amount of any deductible you carry. This type of coverage is usually required by contract if you are leasing or making payments on your vehicle, to ensure that the company holding the car's title will be completely reimbursed if something happens to the car.

Comprehensive coverage in TX is similar to collision coverage in that it pays to repair or replace your vehicle. However, this type of coverage pays only if the damage to your car is due to something other than a collision. Generally, this includes vehicle loss or damage due to theft, fire, flood, and other acts of God, and often covers the cost of renting a vehicle if yours is stolen or being repaired. Like collision, this type of coverage only pays you the value of your vehicle as determined by your insurance company and minus your deductible. It is also often required by contract if you are leasing or making payments on your vehicle.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also common in Texas. This type of automobile insurance will pay to cover your costs if you are injured or your property is damaged as the result of an accident in which the driver deemed at-fault does not have vehicle insurance or does not have enough. Sometimes, uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance will also pay if you are injured or suffer damages in a hit-and-run accident, provided you follow the policy's guidelines for reporting the accident.

Like liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage comes in bodily injury and property damage forms. You must be sure to carry both if you want both physical damages and property damages to be covered. In Texas, property damage uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance has an automatic deductible of $250, though some companies will also sell you a policy with a higher deductible if you so desire. Check with your individual car insurance company to see what they offer.

Other Types of Car Insurance

Medical payments coverage pays any medical bills or funeral bills incurred by the covered parties that result from an accident, even if the covered person is a cyclist or on foot at the time of the accident. If you carry this sort of insurance and are driving a vehicle when an accident occurs, the coverage includes you and anyone inside your vehicle at the time, whether or not the accident is your fault. These policies usually have maximum amounts that the policy will pay, which you can agree to ahead of time.

Personal Injury Protection is related to medical payments coverage but also includes the cost of hiring a caregiver for an injured person and up to 80% of income lost due to the accident. Like with medical payments coverage, this type of car insurance covers these expenses for both you and any passengers who are in your vehicle at the time of the accident. In Texas, insurance companies are required by state law to offer you insurance coverage of this type in the amount of at least $2,500 when arranging your policy. If you choose to reject it, you must do so in writing.

Most Texas automobile insurance companies also offer rental car coverage. If your car is damaged and that damage is covered by your policy, or if your car is stolen and you have comprehensive coverage, rental car coverage pays you a set amount each day for a rental vehicle until you can get your vehicle back.

Note that rental car coverage is not car insurance that covers you when you are renting a vehicle. In Texas, you will be covered by your liability policy while driving any rented vehicle. However, if your property damage liability coverage is less than the cost of replacing the rental car, you still might want to sign up for car insurance through the rental car company, just to make sure you're covered in case of a bad accident.

Some vehicle insurance companies in Texas also offer policies or add-ons to existing policies that will cover the cost of towing your car if it cannot be driven or fixing it on the side of the road if that is possible. Occasionally, an car insurance company will include this sort of coverage with another sort of policy, but often you will have to purchase it separately.

If you want any stereo equipment and related items included in your insurance coverage, you'll need to talk to your insurance company. Some companies in Texas include these items in your regular comprehensive or collision coverage, but others will ask you to purchase a separate rider for your policy. If you want these items covered, be sure to ask the question.

Now that you're familiar with the different types of automobile insurance offered in TX, you can feel confident and comfortable making a decision about insurance coverage that is right for you and your family. If you're still not sure about the types of coverage you want or need, talk about your concerns with an car insurance professional, who should have the training and experience to help you make your choice.

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