Coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers is optional, but it's also vital. When you buy car insurance in Texas, your insurance company is required to offer you coverage for uninsured or underinsured drivers. If you want to reject this policy, you must do so in writing. Consumers can contact the Texas Department of Insurance directly by calling 800-252-3439 to learn more about other companies authorized to offer insurance to cover gaps in the state.
If the insurance company can't prove that the other driver has insurance, you can file an uninsured motorist insurance claim. The Texas Department of Insurance provides information on companies that are licensed to sell uncovered personal insurance in the state. The way UIM works is that the at-fault driver's policy first pays for the damages and then, if your damages exceed the limit that your insurance company must pay, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to use your UIM policy. Uninsured motorist insurance is an important type of insurance that covers “you” for both bodily injury and property damage.
If it's not clear if the other driver is not insured or not, the insurance company assumes the burden of proving that the other driver is insured. If you have collision insurance, which is required in Texas if you don't own your car outright, your insurance company may want to say that you are at fault and use it, requiring you to pay a deductible and possibly increase your premiums. This is one of the reasons why it's important to remember that even talking to your own insurance company about your accident (other than reporting the accident, which your insurance contract requires you to do) without first talking to an attorney who specializes in car accident injuries isn't usually in your best interest. When you take out a liability insurance policy for your car, your insurer is required to provide you with coverage for uninsured drivers.
Your insurer must provide you with at least the minimum limits of liability in uninsured motorist insurance coverage for car accident injury claims, but your limits on uninsured motorist insurance cannot be increased to an amount greater than your liability limits under the liability portion of your auto insurance policy. For one reason or another, approximately 15 to 20% of drivers driving on the road in Texas don't have auto insurance coverage (they never bought it in the first place, they didn't make a payment, they drive a car they bought but forgot to add to their car policy, allowing the driver who has been excluded from the auto policy to drive the vehicle).