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Auto insurance requirements in Texas
Texas drivers are required to carry car insurance. Furthermore, any time you are behind the wheel, you must carry proof of this coverage which must be shown at the request of any law enforcement official. Those who do not carry the required coverage put themselves and could face some stiff penalties. Find out more about auto insurance options and required coverages in the state of Texas by reading our guide below.
Liability coverage in Texas
Liability coverage is legally required in Texas and pays for bodily injuries and property damage that you cause in an at-fault accident. This coverage will also go toward paying for the injured party’s lost wages as well as pain and suffering. Please note that your own liability coverage will never pay for your injuries or damages to your own property.
What are state-mandated car insurance limits?
An insurance limit is the absolute highest amount of money that an insurance company will pay out for a claim. Each state determines its own liability coverage limits, which are typically split into three categories: bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident, and property damage. In Texas, the minimum is often listed as 30/60/25 and explained below:
- $30,000 in bodily injury coverage per person is the total amount an insurer will pay for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.
- $60,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident is the maximum dollar amount that can be paid for all injuries that you cause in an accident in which more than one person is hurt.
- $25,000 in property damage per accident is the total dollar amount that will be paid for damage that you cause in an accident.
Do Texas’s required minimums provide enough coverage?
Texas car insurance requirements are roughly average when compared to most other states. However, just carrying the minimum required coverage won’t keep you fully protected, as the cost of emergency care can quickly exhaust your liability limits with even slight injuries. This is especially true if multiple people are injured in an accident that you cause.
Bear in mind that Texas requires no physical coverage for your own vehicle (though your lender may). If your aim is to be fully protected, you should consider adding extra coverage or increasing your current liability limits.
Texas’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance
Texas recently ended the “Texas Driver Responsibility Program” that imposed an extra $250 per year for three years after a number of offenses, including driving without insurance. However, anyone found guilty of driving without insurance in Texas will face the following penalties:
- A fine between $175-$350 (up to $1,000 for second and subsequent offenses)
- Possible impoundment of your vehicle
- Possible filing of an SR-22 certificate
- Possible suspension of the vehicle’s registration
Optional car insurance coverage in Texas
Texas law only requires drivers to carry liability coverage, though most insurance carriers offer a number of other helpful coverage options that should be considered. Here are some of the more common options available:
- Comprehensive: This coverage pays for damages to your vehicle caused by non-collision circumstances such as theft and damage related to weather events.
- Collision: This coverage pays for damages that result from a collision with another vehicle or stationary object.
- Loan/lease payoff: Sometimes referred to as gap coverage, this coverage can pay the difference between what you owe on a loan and your car’s actual cash value. This can help in the event that you owe more than your car is actually worth.
- Medical payments: This coverage goes towards paying for your medical expenses as well as those in your vehicle.
- Rental car reimbursement: If your car is unable to be driven, this coverage will help pay for a rental car until yours can be fixed.
- Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance coverage can help when you suffer breakdowns or find yourself with flat tires, dead batteries, or needing a tow.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: A form of insurance that helps cover your injuries if you are harmed by an insured — or underinsured — driver.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage: Similar to medical payments, this coverage pays for the medical bills of you and your passengers. But it also pays for things like lost wages and other nonmedical costs. Auto policies in Texas include PIP coverage, though it can be dropped by refusing it in writing.
Why adhering to Texas’s car insurance requirements is important
Carrying car insurance in Texas is a requirement for all drivers. Not only is it a legal requirement, it’s also crucial for protecting yourself and your assets. Most drivers should consider adding more coverage on top of what’s required by the state to be better protected. If you’re concerned about a rise in your premiums, you may want to start shopping for cheaper coverage. The Zebra can help by giving you the chance to see side-by-side insurance quotes from top insurers. Simply enter your ZIP below to get started.
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