The Kipness Law Firm, P.C


Q: What are the different types of car insurance coverage?

A: Type of coverage can include liability, property damage, comprehensive, collision, personal injury protection (PIP), Uninsured and Underinsured (UM/UIM), and car rental.

Q: What are the differences between these coverages?

A: (1) Property damage: pays for other’s property damage for accidents that are your fault.

(2) Collision: pays for damage to your car, less any deductible, caused by a collision.

(3) Comprehensive: pays for losses due to theft, fire, bad weather, natural disaster, vandalism, or broken glass.

(4) PIP: pays for you or your passenger’s medical bills and lost wages you sustain in an accident.

(5) UM/UIM:  covers you or your passengers losses if someone else is at fault and has no insurance or has low insurance amounts that does not cover payment for all the injuries.

(6) Car rental: pays for a rental car when your car is being repaired.

(7) Liability: pays for damages that you cause, including personal injury and property damage.

Q: Why should I buy PIP or UM/UIM insurance coverage?

A: It is cheap and will protect you and your family if they are injured in an accident.  Liability insurance only protects you if you are at fault.  PIP and UM/UIM insurance protects you from reckless drivers that have no insurance or low policy limits and can pay for your medical bills and lost wages.

Q: How do I make a claim for UM/UIM benefits on my auto insurance policy?

A: First, you must establish the other driver it at fault and has no insurance or inadequate insurance to pay for your injuries, medical bills, and lost wages.  Two, do not settle your claim with the other driver’s insurance b/c some UM/UIM insurance policies can deny our claim if you settle your claim with the other driver. You should contact an attorney before filing any UM/UIM claim or settling any claim.

Q: What are policy limits?

A: Policy limits are the amounts of compensation an insurance company will pay on a claim.  Policy limits are different depending on the type of coverage and the amount of coverage requested.

Q: How much coverage should I have?

A: As much as you can afford, especially with liability, PIP and UM/UIM coverage. PIP and UM/UIM coverage is surprisingly cheap.

Q: What are the benefits of liability insurance?

A: It provides protection if you cause an accident.  It will provide protection for property damage or injuries and death you cause others.  This protection is limited by the amount of your policy limits.  Also, if you are sued from causing an accident, liability protection will include the costs of a legal defense including the provision of an attorney by your insurance company.  You also have a right to pay for the legal services of your attorney.

Q: What if I am sued and a verdict exceeds my liability policy limits?

A: You will be personally responsible for any amounts above your policy limits.  If your insurance company had an opportunity to settle the case within your policy limits and failed to do so, you may have a “bad faith” claim against your insurance company for its failure to pay the policy limits.

Q: What is an umbrella insurance policy?

A: It provides additional coverage above your auto liability insurance.  For example, if your auto liability insurance is only $25,000 and you cause accident that has a value of $100,000, an umbrella policy of $1,000,000 would offer you protection. Umbrella insurance is recommended and coverage amounts of $1,000,000 or more are extremely affordable.

Q: Who is covered by auto liability insurance and what is an excluded driver?

A: Covered persons include the person named on the policy, the spouse, and anyone driving with permission.  Excluded drivers are specific individuals listed in the policy as not being insured.

Q: What will happen if I, my spouse, or child is involved in an accident driving someone else’s car?

A: If the person is given permission to drive the car, the insurance on the car should provide coverage.  Also, you or your relative should have coverage on their auto insurance policy.

Q: If I am involved in an accident and the accident is my fault, will my premiums go up?

A: Possibly.  Accident, even if not your fault, can raise premiums.  It is up to the insurance company.  We recommend you speak to your insurance agent or look for insurance with another company.

Q: If I make a claim, will my insurance company end my coverage?

A: If you make PIP or UM/UIM claims on your policy and you are not at fault for the accident, your insurance company will usually not drop your coverage.

Q: If I cause an accident, can my insurance company drop me?

A: Your insurance company may drop you or increase your premium for continued coverage.

Q: What cars are covered by an auto insurance policy?

A: The cars covered usually must be listed on the insurance policy but rental cars you should also be covered.

Q: What are insurance requirements in Texas in order to operate a car?

A: The law currently requires minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per injured person, $50,000 for everyone injured in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage (25/50/25).  We recommend you get more than the minimum if you can afford it.

Q: Can I purchase auto insurance if I do not own a car?

A: Yes.

Q: If the accident is not my fault, can I determine where my car is repaired or replaced?

A: The insurance company usually decides whether to repair or replace your car. The decision is made based on whatever is cheaper, repairing the car or just paying you for the value of the car.

Q: If my car is totaled, can I still keep it?

A: Yes.  If you wish to keep your totaled car but only if the title is in your name and there is no lien.  The insurance company will pay you the cash settlement less any money that would have come from the sale at a salvage yard.  You then have the option of having the necessary repairs done on the vehicle to make it road ready.

Q: If my car is totaled, will the insurance company pay off my loan?

A: No. An insurance company is only required to pay you for the value of the car, not the amount of your car loan. If the loan is more than the value of your car, the insurance company can just send the payment directly to the bank that has your loan.

Q: How is the value of my car determined?

A: Insurance companies may look at publications such as Auto Trader or Kelly Blue Book.  They may also use appraisers to determine the value.

Q: Why do attorneys not handle property damage only claims?

A: Because you would have to pay the attorney out of your pocket, which means you would get less for damage to your car. Insurance companies do not pay more on property damage claims if an attorney is involved.

Q: If I cannot drive my car away from the accident scene, who will pay for the towing and storage fees?

A: If the accident is not your fault, the insurance company for the other driver should pay these fees. If the car is determined to be a total loss (costs of repairs exceed value of the car), the other driver’s insurance company may move it to a storage facility.  If you refuse to permit the insurance company to move the car, you will be responsible for the storage costs for the days after you give your refusal.

Q: What if I need a car while my car is being repaired?

A: If the accident is not your fault, the insurance company for the driver that caused the accident should get you a rental car.  There may be limits on what an insurance company will pay for a rental car. You may also get a rent car under your insurance if there is rent car coverage on the policy.

Q: Who fixes my car?

A: If the other driver is the cause of the accident, his insurance company should pay for the repairs to your car. First, the insurance company will tell you where to get an estimate on your car. If there is a dispute about what needs to be repaired and it is causing a delay on getting your car repaired, if you have collision coverage, your insurance company may repair the car after you pay any deductible.

Q: Can I control where the car is repaired?

A: Yes but the costs of the repair the insurance company will pay are not always the same as the repair estimate given by your repair shop.

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