What Happens in an Accident with an Uninsured Driver? | Non-Covered Drivers

Article Reviewed By Justin McMinn, JD
Justin McMinn is a lead personal injury attorney at McMinn Law Firm.

Unfortunately, 1 in 5 drivers are uninsured in the state of Texas. Understand who’s covered -and who isn’t- on your car insurance policy. Read on for tips on when to lend your car and when you should say no to handing over the keys.

Texas Car Insurance: Who’s Covered?

If you’re having to go through the nitty gritty details of your car insurance policy, it’s probably because you were just in a car accident. If you let someone borrow your car, or the other party doesn’t have insurance – it’s not time to fret yet. Read on to see what provision – if any – in your insurance policy could help you out.

Now is the time to become familiar with terms like:

Understanding the basics of insurance policies and uninsured drivers

person handing keys to another to drive their vehicle graphic

Permissive Use

If a driver allows another individual to drive the vehicle, the coverage remains active in Texas.
Some examples could include:

  • You allow your friend to drive your car home from a night out because they volunteered to be designated driver. You ride in the passenger’s seat.
  • You let your friend borrow your car to go to a dentist’s appointment.

These people aren’t specifically listed on your insurance policy, but they are covered under permissive use. There are some policies where permissive use wouldn’t apply in these situations. Before lending out your vehicle, it’s good to take a look at the details to be sure your policy allows permissive use.There are some important exceptions to permissive use coverage:
If your friend were to borrow the vehicle for business purposes, your policy may not provide coverage.

Think twice about letting someone with significantly less driving experience or a bad record use your vehicle. The car insurance policy you carry covers drivers similar to you – otherwise there would be a larger premium.

If you ever have a friend who presses you to let them borrow your car, be careful and tell them you can’t for insurance reasons.

two drivers underneath an umbrella, one excluded from the umbrella

Excluded Driver

In most cases an insurance policy will follow the vehicle, not the driver. But this is one of those exceptions. An excluded driver can be someone who is purposely excluded from an insurance policy. If an individual drives a car insured by a policy they are excluded from, neither the insurance company nor the driver can be held liable for the accident.There are a few reasons why a driver would be purposely excluded from a family’s policy. The primary reason is to reduce insurance premiums. An insurance company may exclude a driver who has had a DWI, had a bad driving record, or has made excessive claims. But a family might choose to exclude a teen. Excluding each of these drivers would keep insurance premiums down.

Getting into an accident with an excluded driver can hurt law abiding Texans just trying to do the right thing. You may have full coverage. Meaning if you cause a crash your insurance company will help you make the repairs, but you’ll have to pay the deductible and face higher insurance rates going forward. Find out more about excluded drivers through this story about how a son’s crash got complicated fast.

very little money in bucket with insurance policy

Underinsured Driver:

A driver in Texas is required to purchase a coverage plan that covers at least

  • 30k per person
  • 60k per accident
  • 25k in property damage per accident
an overdue notice of an insurance document, pen and coffee cup

Uninsured Driver:

An uninsured driver is a broader term. They might be someone who is an excluded driver on someone else’s policy. It’s also possible they could be driving a car that has no insurance policy on it at all.

What happens when someone else drives my car?

You want to let your friend take a turn as the driver on your road trip, or drive the car home because you’re too tired, have had one too many, or just want to let them borrow your car for a lift to the store. But the question is, should you let them borrow the vehicle?
If you’re wonder if your car insurance covers other drivers the answer is that in most cases, yes. Insurance policies are designed to provide coverage to those driving a vehicle. This is where permissive use</strong comes into play. It is largely a myth that a car insurance policy follows a driver, but in some cases your insurance policy may cover you. Check to see if your policy covers you when renting a vehicle.

Don’t forget that excluded drivers are not covered by an insurance policy!

What happens when an unlicensed driver gets into a crash?

When an unlicensed driver gets into a crash, and the other party clearly caused the crash, the unlicensed driver can still pursue personal injury claims to make restore them to where they were before the accident.

That said, an insurance company will use any excuse they can not to honor the liability policy. If you or someone you know ever encounters this situation, seek out legal help immediately. It’s good never to take the risk – make sure your driver’s license and car insurance policy are always up to date. Driving without a license or insurance could put you in jail and responsible for a sizable civil “surcharge” as part of Texas’ Driver Responsibility Program.

personal injury journal
One of the initial things that a person should do after he or she is injured is record everything that he or she can about his or her accident and its impact on his/her daily life. It could be tempting to rely on memory but actual written notes usually prove very critical to receiving financial compensation for losses suffered as a result of an injury. See our Checklist to ensure you don’t leave out any important information when documenting your personal injury.You may need to keep a record of documents such as Police Reports, Medical Bills, Pictures and Video from the Crash, and a Journal of the Crash.

Austin, TX Jury Awards $462,624 To Victim of Intoxicated and Underinsured Driver

Last month McMinn Law Firm led the charge in an underinsured motorist case. The jury awarded one of the largest uninsured / underinsured coverage awards ever to be seen in Travis County.

Watch a video about this case on Youtube.Without Uninsured Motorist Coverage, and the help of McMinn Law Firm, our client could have been left with substantial medical bills and without the ability to recover her health.

Read our guide on choosing Uninsured Motorist coverage.

Learn more about determining fault and liability in a Texas car accident.

Austin Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

Car crash lawyers may be able to help you recover after a car accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver. Call McMinn Law Firm today for a free consultation of your car accident case. 512-474-0222

Jason McMinn, Justin McMinn, and Jimmy Feigen are experienced personal injury attorneys who work to get the maximum fair compensation their clients deserve.

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