Texas Car Insurance Laws
Before you can register a motor vehicle in Texas, you must show proof of financial responsibility. The most common form of proof is automobile insurance. Motor vehicle drivers in Texas must carry at least the minimum required amounts of insurance to avoid penalties. If you get into an auto accident in Texas, your insurance or the other driver’s insurance will cover your losses, including your medical bills and property repairs.
What Are the Required Amounts of Car Insurance in Texas?
All 50 states require car insurance or some other form of proof of financial responsibility, such as a surety bond. Insurance shows that a driver has the financial means to pay for damage caused by a car accident. The types and amounts of insurance required vary from state to state. Texas is a 30/60/25 state, meaning that drivers must carry the following amounts of car insurance:
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person. This insurance covers a single victim’s medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses after a crash.
- $60,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per accident. This is the total amount of liability insurance available to cover all injured passengers or parties involved in an accident.
- $25,000 in property damage insurance. This coverage pays specifically for the damage to a victim’s vehicle – either to repair the damage or replace a totaled car.
These are the minimum required amounts of car insurance, meaning that drivers can purchase more than this if desired. If a driver wishes to obtain first-party coverage for his or her own bills, for instance, the driver can purchase collision or comprehensive insurance in addition to the minimums. A driver must carry proof of insurance to show to a law enforcement officer if pulled over.
What Happens if You Drive Without Insurance?
It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle without adequate amounts of car insurance in Texas. If you get pulled over and cannot show proof of insurance, the fine is $175 to $350. If you get into a car accident and don’t have insurance, you could find yourself responsible for paying for a victim’s losses out of pocket. The cost of a car accident can quickly enter into the tens of thousands for serious injuries and major property damage.
Who Pays for a Car Accident in Texas?
Texas is a fault state. This means that in a car accident case, the driver who is at fault for the crash must pay. This is why the required insurance in Texas is liability coverage. A victim must prove that the other driver was at fault to qualify for benefits. In a no-fault state – where all drivers file first-party claims with their own insurers, regardless of fault – personal injury protection (PIP) insurance is required. PIP insurance pays for a driver’s own medical bills after a car accident.
What to Do if the Driver Involved in Your Crash Doesn’t Have Insurance
If you find out that the other driver involved in your car accident in Texas is illegally driving without insurance, call the police immediately. You must report the accident to document that it happened for your own insurance company. Calling the police will also lead to the driver facing penalties for breaking Texas’ insurance laws – and possibly having his or her license suspended until the driver acquires insurance and can show proof of financial responsibility.
Obtaining compensation for a car accident when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance starts with calling your own car insurance company. Your insurer may cover your losses if you have first-party insurance, such as uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. This type of coverage is optional in Texas, however – so contact your insurance provider to find out if you’re covered after a crash. Explain that the at-fault driver is uninsured.
If you don’t have the necessary type of insurance to pay for a collision involving an uninsured driver, you may still be able to hold a third party responsible. This could include the government for a road hazard or an automaker for a defective vehicle part. Contact an Austin car accident lawyer near you for legal advice about your specific case. A lawyer can help you explore all of your options for collecting financial compensation.