HOUSTON—A new car insurance law went into effect Saturday that could make your insurance rates jump.
The new law increases minimum coverage from $25,000 to $30,000 for each person injured in an accident and raises the total cost per accident from $50,000 to $60,000. That translates to a roughly 3 percent increase in premiums for drivers carrying minimum coverage.
Although the law offers more protection for injured motorists, many people believe it doesn’t do enough.
"A 25 to 50, or 25 to 75 would be a significant change," 11 News Legal Expert Professor Gerald Treece explained.
Treece says the real problem involves motorists caught without insurance.
"Where is the teeth, where are the teeth for uninsured motorists?" asked Treece. "Why haven’t we enforced those laws? How many times do we have to write a ticket before you are a repeat offender?"
Drivers have the option to purchase Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage, which will cover the cost of injuries caused by motorists without insurance or without enough insurance. UM coverage typically adds 7 to 10 percent to a monthly premium.
Ron Reynolds, who was injured in an accident last year, says it’s worth the cost.
"I have insurance and that’s why I have it , so I have full coverage because there are people who are not going to do what they are supposed to do," he said.
Reynolds was injured after a driver ran a red light and crashed into his car at Louisiana and West Gray. Although the at-fault driver’s insurance covered the cost of physical therapy for his back and knee, Reynolds was afraid the insurance money would not be enough cover the entire cost of his medical bills.
"With the cost of health care, it doesn’t take much to reach that minimum these days," Reynolds said.
More than 20 percent of Texas drivers do not carry insurance, according to insurance department statistics. Insurance advisors say that opting into extra coverage could save drivers money in the long run if they are ever involved in such an accident.
The new law leaves the minimum amount required for property damage per accident at $25,000.