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Texas Car Insurance Laws

Posted in Car Accidents on December 16, 2021

Automobile insurance is required in all 50 states. Car insurance is proof that a driver is financially capable of paying for a crash victim’s medical bills and property repairs. Making minimum amounts of car insurance mandatory for all drivers is a way to protect citizens from having to pay out of pocket for damage that they didn’t cause. Learn Texas’s car insurance laws to make sure you have enough coverage.

Minimum Required Amounts of Insurance in Texas

If you register a vehicle in Texas that you plan on driving, you legally must purchase at least the minimum required amounts of insurance under state law. The required types and amounts of insurance vary from state to state. If you have moved to Texas from a different state, you must update your address and coverage to match the required amounts. As of 2021, Texas’s minimum liability coverage is 30/60/25, meaning the following amounts of insurance are required:

  • Bodily injury liability per person: $30,000
  • Bodily injury liability per accident: $60,000
  • Property damage liability per accident: $25,000

You may also opt to pay for greater coverage limits, as well as optional types of coverage. The minimum amounts of insurance in Texas only pay for the other driver’s losses, not yours. For first-party coverage, you could purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist, medical payment, rental car reimbursement, and/or personal injury protection insurance.

How Does Liability Insurance Work?

Texas is a fault state, not a no-fault state. It requires all drivers to have liability insurance to pay for other drivers’ bills and losses. After a car accident in Texas, an injured victim will file a claim with the insurance provider of the at-fault driver. As long as the driver has the required amount of insurance, his or her insurer will pay for the victim’s losses, up to the policy’s maximum. No-fault states, on the other hand, require personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay for a policyholder’s own medical bills, regardless of fault for the crash.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance/Proof of Insurance

If you break the law by driving without the required amounts of insurance in Texas, you could face multiple penalties. These penalties can be severe, depending on the circumstances. The State of Texas takes car insurance requirements seriously, as insurance can decide whether or not a crash victim will recover compensation for his or her losses. The penalties for driving without insurance may include:

  • A fine of $175 to $350 for a first offense, or up to $1,000 for a second or subsequent offense
  • Mandatory SR-22 certificate (higher-cost car insurance).
  • Suspension of your vehicle’s registration.
  • Impoundment of your vehicle.

It is also a requirement to carry proof of insurance. This can take the form of an insurance card in your vehicle or wallet, or a digital version on your smartphone. If you are unable to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop, you will receive a ticket and have to pay a fine. Recently, Texas ended its Driver Responsibility Program, which imposed an additional $250 fine per year for three years after being caught driving without insurance. Even after the end of this program, however, the potential penalties are significant.

What Happens if You Get Into an Accident With an Uninsured Driver?

Unfortunately, many drivers in Texas are guilty of driving without the required amounts of car insurance. If you get into a crash with one of these drivers, contact an attorney right away. It can be more difficult to obtain the financial compensation that you deserve in this scenario. You may be able to file a claim with your own insurance provider if you have more than the minimum required amounts of car insurance in Texas. Another option could be a personal injury lawsuit against the driver or another party, depending on the circumstances. An attorney can review your case and list your legal options.