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Texas Car Insurance
Did you know that laws about car insurance vary from state to state? In some cases, they actually vary quite a lot. That’s why it’s so important to know what Texas law is, especially if you’re a new resident. If you want all the details about Texas insurance law, you’re in the right place. Here, you’ll find information about the minimum mandatory insurance requirements, what that means when you need to use it, and what can happen if you don’t follow the law. Then, we’ll show you how to get the best car insurance in Texas and help you figure out where to get it.
Texas Minimum Car Insurance Requirements: Are They Enough?
Having liability insurance is mandatory in the state of Texas. This insurance doesn’t cover you; rather, it covers other people if you’re involved in an accident that is your fault. Here are some FAQs that can help you gather the information you need to get the right policy. You’ll see why having car insurance is so important and why the minimum isn’t always enough.
Why is car insurance mandatory?
Car insurance is mandatory to protect both you and other drivers in the case of an accident. As we will soon see, the cost of an automobile accident can be tremendous. Without insurance, it’s unlikely you would be able to cover the costs on your own. Driving without car insurance really is a gamble. Not only can you get caught and face stiff penalties, you’ll also have to cover 100% of the damages if you cause an accident.
What are the minimum requirements in Texas?
Driver in Texas are required to have liability insurance. Sometimes, you’ll see the requirements written like this: 30/60/25. Here’s what those figures mean:
- $30,000 body injury or death liability per person
- $60,000 bodily injury or death liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage per accident
Okay, so what does all the mean?
Let’s look at bodily injury liability first. Bodily injury insurance covers another person’s injuries if the accident is your fault. It covers short term costs, like hospital expenses, and long term costs, like physical therapy. It isn’t limited to drivers and passengers of the other car involved; rather, coverage extends to pedestrians and bystanders who may have been injured, too. Necessary medical equipment is covered, too, like crutches, wheelchairs, or splints that might be needed during recovery.
If the injured person takes you to court, it can also be used to cover part of the legal expenses, awarded for pain and suffering, or cover any income lost due to their injuries.
As for property damage, the $25,000 covers not only damage to other vehicles but property damage, too.
Is minimum coverage enough?
It depends on what you mean by “enough.” Obviously, getting the minimal enough of liability coverage is enough to satisfy the law and keep you driving legally. Is it enough to effectively cover you? That’s a little more difficult to answer.
Let’s say that you get into an accident. Worse, let’s say you caused an accident. Assume that there are 2 other cars involved and each car had both a driver and a passenger. So, you and 4 other people are involved.
Now, car number one just has some scratches and the people inside are basically okay. The driver pulled his neck and the passenger broke her arm. They each take an ambulance to the hospital and have to undergo x-rays and other tests. The estimated total cost of their care is about $5,000 each. Since you’re covered for up to $30,000 a person, all of this will be covered by your policy.
We’ll say the second car wasn’t quite as lucky. Their vehicle was totaled. The driver was rushed away by helicopter to the nearest trauma center. She ended up spending weeks in the hospital followed by weeks of physical therapy and the total cost was $60,000 (which is a very conservative estimate). The passenger had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital with a back injury that ultimately required weeks of physical therapy and a lot of time off work. Her costs were $18,000.
That’s a lot to take in. Let’s break it down piece by piece.
The total liability for the first car is $10,000. That’s $5,000 per passenger for their minimal injuries. No problem, that’s covered.
The second car is a different story. The driver’s costs alone are $60,000. Add in the $18,000 for the passenger’s costs and the total for the second car is $78,000. This brings the total bodily injury liability cost up to $78,000.
Because the amount per accident that the minimum insurance covers is only $60,000, that leaves you to cover the remaining $18,000 out of pocket.
As for property damage, let’s assume that the first car wasn’t damaged that badly since the occupant’s injuries weren’t too bad. We’ll put the total at $5,000. Now, the people in the second car sustained some pretty bad injuries so we’re going to assume their car was totaled and cost $25,000. So, that’s $30,000 total but you policy covers $25,000, which leaves you responsible for the remaining $5,000.
Add that to the amount you have to pay for their injuries and you’re going to have to come up with $23,000.
There’s more to consider. Liability insurance covers the injuries of other people. What about you? What if you’re injured and can’t work? What if your car is totaled and you need to buy a new one? The amount of money that you’ll need after an accident can be astronomical.
Okay, so the minimum doesn’t seem like enough.
What is the recommended amount of car insurance coverage in Texas?
You should get enough coverage to cover your assets. That way, if you’re at fault and someone sues you, you’re home, savings, and other things will be protected. It’s recommended that most motorists gets $100,000 of liability per person, $300,000 per accident. As for property damage, $35,000 in coverage is recommended.
Let’s use a policy with these limits, 100/300/50, in the previous example. The total for bodily injury for everyone involved was $78,000. With this policy that offers more coverage, this amount is completely covered. The property damage total was $50,000, which is also completely covered by this policy.
Here’s how you have to think about it. You can pay the minimum amount every month and carry the minimal amount of coverage. That said, it you ever need it for a major accident, the money you are going to be held responsible for in the long run is much more than the cost of paying for a better policy every month.
It’s easy to think that better coverage just means a higher bill every month, but you really are taking a gamble. You won’t realize the value of a better policy until you need to use it. Essentially, the choice boils down to this. Would you rather pay $40 or $50 more a month for a policy that will cover everything in the event of an accident? Or do you want to have minimum coverage and hope that you never need to use it?
Additions to Your Texas Insurance Policy
In addition to getting higher coverage, there are things that you can add to your car insurance that will help you in certain situations.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist. This covers you in the event that you’re in an accident involving a hit-and-run or another motorist who isn’t insured at all or has the minimum coverage and it isn’t enough to cover the costs. It pays for your medical expenses as well as those of any passengers in your car.
- Collision. This pays to repair or replace your car after an accident. When you buy a new car and take out a car loan, you’re often required to provide proof of collision insurance. This not only covers you if you hit another car but if you have an accident where you hit something like a telephone pole or tree.
- Comprehensive. This is also required when you take out a new car loan. It covers theft of your car or its contents plus damage from fire or water.
In Texas, you’ll have to pay a mandatory $250 deductible with your uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. This kind of coverage isn’t required but it is highly recommended. If you don’t want it, you’ll actually have to refuse it in writing. Why? Because so many people in Texas drive without insurance that it’s highly recommended that you protect yourself.
As for collision and comprehensive insurance, they’ll both have a deductible, too. That’s the amount the you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurance company will issue you a check. For example, if your deductible is $500 and the damage is only $250, you would pay for that yourself. If the damage was more like $5000, you’d pay for the first $500 and your insurance company would cover the remaining $4,500.
What Happens If I Get Caught Driving without Car Insurance in Texas?
As mentioned above, there are a lot of drivers in Texas who choose to drive without insurance. In fact, it’s estimated that about 20% of vehicles on the road don’t have coverage. So, why should you get it? Other than being your safety net in the event of a bad accident, there are a lot of legal ramifications if you get caught driving without insurance. And, because this is such a problem in the state, the penalties are much more severe than in other parts of the country.
If you get pulled over and you don’t have proof of insurance and officials are unable to verify that you have a policy, you’ll be charged $1,000 fine and have to pay $250 surcharges annually for 3 years for your first offense. You might also have your car impounded and lose your license for up to 2 years. Even if you have verifiable insurance but do not have an insurance card in your car, you could still face a fine.
For your second offense, penalties are more severe. Fines are the same, up to $1,000 with a $250 surcharge for 3 years, which ends up being $1,750. The court also has the power to impound your vehicle for 180 days and you’ll have to pay an impoundment fee of $15 a day. If your car is impounded for the whole time, that’s $2,700. Add that to the fines and you’re looking at $4,450.
The penalty is even more severe if you’re responsible for an accident that caused someone else serious injury of death. You’ll have to pay a fine up to $4,000 and possible be put in jail for 1 year. Your license will also be suspended for up to 2 years. Not to mention that, because you have no coverage, you’ll be 100% financially responsible for the accident and will probably have to face a lawsuit from the injured party.
The monthly bill for the cheapest auto insurance in Texas would be much, much less than the cost of any of these fines. Not to mention that getting car insurance quotes Texas can afford is really pretty simple.
How Can I Get the Best Auto Insurance in Texas for A Fair Price?
You can see that having good Texas auto insurance can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. But if you’re wondering, “How much is car insurance in Texas?” or as looking for cheapest car insurance in Texas, we’re here to help.
To get the car insurance Texas sees as the legal minimum or the best and cheapest auto insurance in Texas, all you have to do it enter your zip code into the box below. You’ll find policies, agents, and auto insurance quotes Texas just can’t do without. One alternative form of car insurance we recommend looking into is very cheap car insurance no deposit needed. The coverage is worse, but that’s the cheapest car insurance you’ll find in texas. If you want the best coverage possible, we highly recommend not buying very cheap car insurance no deposit, but instead looking into full coverage car insurance.