January is a good month to review and adjust automobile insurance
policies.  Many drivers don’t understand the types of insurance
available to cover car accidents.  Moreover, rarely do drivers think
about their automobile insurance until after a car accident occurs. 
However, making prudent decisions about automobile insurance prior to a
car accident will alleviate a lot of stress and frustration in the
event of a car accident.

The most basic automobile insurance in Texas is known as minimal
limits liability insurance.  In 2008, Texas raised the minimal limits
for liability insurance from $20,000 to $25,000.  Therefore, a minimal
automobile insurance policy in Texas provides $25,000 in liability
coverage per person, up to $50,000 maximum per car accident
(25000/50000).  If a driver is at fault for a car accident in Texas and
has minimal liability insurance, there may be insufficient insurance
coverage available for the at-fault driver, especially in the event of
a significant car accident causing severe damage and/or involving
numerous claimants.  Without adequate coverage, Texas drivers may be
exposing their assets to potential liability. If you have a minimal
limits liability insurance policy, you should contact your insurance
agent to find out how much it would cost to increase your limits.  Most
people are pleasantly surprised at how little the additional coverage
costs.

Texas drivers have the option of adding Personal Injury Protection
(PIP) to their automobile insurance policies.  In the event of a car
accident, PIP provides protection to an insured by covering up to 100%
of incurred medical bills, and up to 80% of lost wages.  Depending on
the insurance company, PIP coverage is generally available in amounts
between $2,500 to $10,000.  PIP coverage is a great way for an insured
to protect against short-term financial losses immediatley following a
car accident.  Again, you should contact your insurance agent to
discuss this type of coverage.  As with increasing liability limits,
the additional premium for PIP coverage is generally nominal.

Another option for Texas insureds is underinsured/uninsured motorist
coverage (UM/UIM).  UM/UIM coverage applies when an insured is involved
in a car accident with another, at-fault driver.  If the other at-fault
driver has no insurance, or has insufficient insurance, the insured can
file a claim for UM/UIM insurance benefits under his or her automobile
insurance policy.  We highly recommend to all of our cleints that they
add UM/UIM benefits to their automobile insurance policies.  Insurance
premiums are only slightly increased after adding this type of
coverage.  If you do not already have UM/UIM coverage, I stongly
recommend you contact your insurance agent and add it to your policy.

Another consideration for Texas drivers is umbrella coverage. 
Umbrella coverage applies when all available policies of insurance have
been exhausted.  For example, if a Texas driver maintains liability
insurance limits of $100,000, and is involved in a serious car
accident, perhaps a fatality accident, and is determined to be at
fault, the $100,000 policy limits will likely be insufficient to cover
all damages.  Once the $100,000 in benefits have been paid, the
umbrella policy would apply, up to the umbrella policy limits.  Adding
$1,000,000 of umbrella insurance coverage generally costs around $300 to
$400 per year.  This is a fairly small price to pay for a significant
amount of insurance.

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