Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim: What You Need to Know

Any type of car accident is at least an annoyance; suddenly, you’re dealing with unexpected expenses that can include everything from vehicle repair costs to medical bills. 

In a best-case scenario, you can work out a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, but it still takes time but at least you can receive compensation for your damages. 

However, what happens if the driver is uninsured? Filing an uninsured motorist claim in Texas is possible but it also takes a few extra steps.

Minimum Insurance Requirements in Texas

If you own a vehicle registered in Texas, you must meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements. There aren’t any exceptions. All Texas drivers must carry at least liability insurance with the following minimum amounts:

  • $30,000 in personal injury per person
  • $60,000 in personal injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage

You can always increase the minimum coverage amount, and it’s also encouraged. You can also add coverage to your existing policy. For example, you can add uninsured motorist coverage to help ensure you’re not stuck paying for accident expenses out of your pocket.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage

This type of auto insurance is an add-on to your existing policy. For example, if you have limited liability insurance (the state’s minimum requirement), you can add on uninsured motorist coverage.

So, what’s uninsured motorist coverage, and what does it do for you? The policy covers your damages, both property and medical if you’re involved in a car wreck with an uninsured driver. The policy even covers you in a hit-and-run accident.

Like most other types of insurance, there are caps. Yes, you have a few options when it comes to coverage amounts. This is something you’ll want to carefully consider. 

An example is if your expenses stemming from the vehicle accident total over $60,000 but your coverage is capped at $30,000. Not counting the deductible, you are still looking at around $30,000 in out-of-pocket costs. The best advice here is to discuss all of your options with your insurance representative.

How Uninsured Motorist Insurance Works in an At-Fault State

Texas is an at-fault insurance state, which simply means drivers involved in an accident file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance. If you’re the at-fault driver, everyone else involved in the vehicle accident files a claim with your insurance.

So, what happens when the driver assigned blame for the accident isn’t carrying insurance? Who do you file a claim with? The short answer is you turn to your insurance carrier. 

Since you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurance should cover your expenses up to the policy’s cap. From there, it’s up to your insurance company to decide if it wants to file a claim against the at-fault driver.

Something to note, even if your insurance company files and wins the claim against the uninsured driver, you’re not going to receive a portion of the settlement. You can only file a claim with your insurer. 

However, you can also take the at-fault driver to civil court, and yes, this means filing a lawsuit and chances are even if you win, the at-fault driver isn’t going to be able to reimburse you for anything not covered by your uninsured motorist policy.

Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim

Hopefully, this is your first time filing an uninsured motorist claim, but of course a better situation is if you never need to use this information. However, it’s important to note that not all Texas drivers carry insurance. 

Filing an uninsured motorist claim is relatively simple. There are a couple of extra steps, but nothing that’s going to leave you scratching your head in confusion.

Report the Accident

Regardless of whether it’s a hit-and-run or the uninsured driver remains on the scene, you must report the accident to law enforcement if you plan on filing an insurance claim. 

Texas law also requires all accidents with injuries, property damage over $1,000, or if a fatality occurs to be immediately reported to the authorities. This means you must remain at the scene of the accident, even if the other driver decides to leave.

If there aren’t any injuries and property damage is minimal, you and the uninsured driver can legally go your separate ways. However, don’t forget to exchange contact information via a valid driver’s license. You also want to jot down the vehicle description, including registration and license plate numbers. 

Your insurance adjuster will request this information when you file an uninsured motorist claim. If you decide to wait to report the vehicle collision, you have ten days from the accident date. You need to submit your accident report to your insurance company when you file your claim.

Seek Medical Attention

Even a minor fender bender can result in injuries, so always make sure to seek out medical attention after a car accident, even if you think you’re fine. Some injuries take a while to show signs and symptoms. Besides, it’s always best to be proactive about your health. 

Since your uninsured motorist policy covers some or all of your medical expenses, there’s really no reason not to make an appointment with a licensed physician. Make sure to save your medical reports and files, you’ll also submit these to the insurance adjuster.

File a Claim with Your Insurance ProviderF

Once you have your accident report, medical expenses, and repair costs calculated, it’s time to contact your insurer and file a claim.

Don’t go into too much detail about the accident, and, instead, save this for the negotiations. Just give your insurance company the paperwork and a few brief details to get the claim process rolling.

Alert the Texas Department of Public Safety

This step isn’t an explicit legal requirement, but it does help law enforcement track uninsured drivers. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) may also be able to help you recover some of your damages. If nothing else, your report helps support your accident claim and may prevent the uninsured motorist from getting into another accident.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Whenever you’re involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist, it’s wise to reach out to a personal injury attorney. 

Your attorney can assist you in filing a claim and managing negotiations with your insurance company. Their expertise can not only streamline the entire process but can also enhance your chances of securing a fair settlement, at least within the limits of your insurance coverage. 


Put simply, having this kind of professional guidance backing you helps ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.