Property Damage to Delmar Apartments Hit by Car Probably Not Fully Covered

Shortly after six a.m. this morning a car ran off Interstate 45 in Houston and crashed into the Del Mar Apartment Complex causing substantial damage to at least two apartments news reported. No injuries have been reported at this time although residents were in the apartments.  Losing control of one’s vehicle can happen for many reasons that range from falling asleep at the wheel while drowsy driving to dangerous weather conditions. When it does, many drivers are surprised to learn that their insurance provides only very limited property damage coverage that can leave them holding the bag for the difference.

Understanding The Coverage Limitations on Your Policy

insurance coverage

When you obtain insurance coverage, you are issued a document known as the declaration sheet. The “dec sheet” tells you what type of coverage you have and the policy limits. It is designed to be placed in your glove box in case you are in an accident and need the information handy. That document will typically display your coverage in this form “xx/xx/xx.”  If you are carrying the bare minimum auto insurance limits in Texas, this will read “30/60/25.”  This indicates that you have liability coverage of 30,000.00 per person up to a maximum of $60,000.00 per accident for bodily injury coverage. Your property damage coverage is the last number, or $25,000.00.

What Happens When I Don’t Have Enough Property Damage Insurance?

If you are not carrying enough property damage insurance coverage when you cause damage to property while operating a motor vehicle, you are personally responsible for the difference.  The owner of the damaged property whether it is a vehicle or other real tangible property can sue you and take a judgment for the full amount. Your insurance then would pay its portion leaving you in debt for the rest.  While this may not be a collectible judgment, it can certainly ruin your credit and potentially force you into filing for bankruptcy.

Will the Property Owner’s Insurance Protect Me?

In short, no. While the owner of the property may have her own coverage on the property, this will not protect you from responsibility. Auto, Commercial, and Homeowner’s Insurance policies contain a subrogation clause. Subrogation is the right to step into the claimant’s shoes after the insurance company pays a claim and assert the claimant’s rights against the tortfeasor. So the insurance company pays their insured and then they take over the insured’s right to go after you for the amount paid out. In the end, you can still be sued by the insurance company vs the insured.

Conclusion

If you are in an accident where you cause substantial property damages such as the Del Mar Apartment accident, you are likely to find yourself without sufficient insurance to cover all of the property damage you caused. As a result, the property owner or their insurers is likely to pursue a judgment against you for the damages you caused.  The best way to protect yourself from this is to talk to your insurance agent about increasing your property damages coverage above the minimum limits.

Author