It is tragic when someone has a serious car accident and then discovers they don't have the kind of auto insurance protection they need. In our law practice, we meet a lot of people who have been seriously injured by another driver who did not carry insurance.

Even though the law in Texas requires all drivers to be covered by "liability" auto insurance, not everyone follows the law. Moreover, the liability insurance which the law requires you to carry only pays for damages you cause. It is the other driver's liability insurance that pays for your damages if the other driver is at fault in the accident. If you are hit by someone who doesn't carry insurance or who just doesn't carry enough to cover your damages, the liability insurance you have will not help you. And if liability insurance is all you have, you could be stuck owing medical bills and losing income even though you weren't at fault for the accident.

However, there is a way you can get your medical bills and lost wages paid if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage on your own auto policy, then you can turn to that for protection. UM insurance covers you and any household family member riding in any car as well as any non-family members riding in your insured auto.

If you have good medical insurance, a serious accident can still leave you owing thousands of dollars in medical bills when you consider deductibles and co-pays. Unless you carry good disability insurance, you may never recover your lost wages. UM insurance, however, pays your losses up to the amount of coverage you purchase and there is no deductible or co-pay. UM insurance is not expensive -- UM coverage that could pay you or a family member up to $50,000 could cost as little as $43 per year.

You should not assume that you have this type of coverage on your auto insurance policy. "Full coverage" does not necessarily mean you have UM protection. Check with your insurance agent to be sure what coverages you do carry.

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