If you live in and drive a vehicle in the Lone Star state, you need to be aware of Texas auto insurance laws. Most states require you to have car insurance and maintain minimum levels of coverage. Texas is no exception. Here is a summary of the Texas auto insurance laws.
- Texas law mandates that people who drive in Texas must be able to pay for any auto accidents they cause. This is called the Texas financial responsibility law. Most drivers do this by purchasing automobile liability insurance. Automobile liability insurance pays to repair or replace the other driver’s car and pays for other people’s medical expenses. It does not pay to repair or replace your vehicle or take care of your medical expenses.
- Every vehicle you own must have liability insurance coverage that meets or exceeds these Texas auto insurance standards, effective as of January 1, 2011:
- at least $30,000 for bodily injury or death to one person per accident
- at least $60,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people per accident
- at least $30,000 for property damage per accident
- There are severe penalties for violating the state’s financial responsibility law. The first conviction will result in a fine between $175 and $350. Subsequent convictions, however, will result in fines from $350 and $1,000, suspension of your driver’s license, and impoundment of your vehicle.
- When you purchase your insurance, your auto insurance carrier will send you a proof-of-insurance card. You will need this card to show proof of insurance in the following instances
- When a law enforcement officer asks for it
- When you have an accident
- When you register your car or renew its registration
- When you obtain or renew your driver’s license
- When you have your car inspected
To help reduce the number of uninsured motorists in Texas (currently estimated at 4 million), the state has implemented TexasSure. TexasSure is a vehicle insurance verification system that allows law enforcement, county tax officials and vehicle inspectors to confirm whether a vehicle in Texas has personal auto liability coverage. What this means, for example, is that a law enforcement officer, during the course of a traffic stop, can confirm electronically whether a registered vehicle currently has insurance in effect.
The adoption of TexasSure may also help cut down on the use of counterfeit proof-of-insurance cards or canceling cards after they’re used to register or inspect vehicles.
For more information on Texas auto insurance laws, visit the Texas Department of Insurance website.
For more tips on car insurance, visit our section on car insurance where you can get additional tips and insurance quotes.