Texas Insurance Laws: Do You Have the Right Coverage?
The national average for car insurance expenses, according to a report by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), was $841.23 in 2013 (the most recent data available). A state-by-state comparison of the average cost of insurance showed a great variation among different states. If you live in the state of Texas, you will be glad to know that the average cost of car insurance was $895 at the time of the study. This is only a few dollars above the national average.
State requirements for car insurance
Texas is not as demanding as other states when it comes to car insurance. The state laws only require car owners to have adequate insurance to pay for injuries and damages they have caused in a car accident. Many car owners therefore opt for only liability car insurance in order to fulfill this law.
If you have chosen to have liability-only car insurance coverage, you must be sure that the insurance has the following minimum limits:
- $25,000 to cover property damage
- $60,000 to cover injuries per incident
- $30,000 to compensate each injured person in the accident
This type of basic coverage is known as 30/60/25 coverage. However, it’s often not adequate to pay all the costs of the other parties involved in the accident. This is because of the high cost of medical care in the state. Drivers are therefore typically sued in order for the other party to collect the difference and meet their expenses. If you’re relying on minimum liability cover for car insurance, be prepared to pay a hefty sum if you’re ever involved in a serious accident.
Other insurance options
Although liability cover is adequate to fulfill the legal requirements for auto insurance in Texas, you should consider other types of car insurance. Those are:
- Collision insurance
This type of insurance will help to cover damage to your own vehicle in accidents that you are found to be at fault.
- Comprehensive insurance
This type of insurance will help to cover damage to your car in incidents that don’t involve collisions with other cars. It will also cover you for other non-traffic incidents such as car theft and fires.
- Underinsured/uninsured insurance
This type of cover protects you from damages coming at the hands of either uninsured or underinsured drivers. According to an article published in the Insurance Journal, over 2.6 million citizens of Texas were found to be driving without the minimum car insurance coverage in 2012. A year prior, the Insurance Journal points out that 22 percent of all Texas drivers, or 4.2 million people, had no insurance whatsoever. Underinsured/uninsured insurance protects you in the case you’re involved with one of these drivers.
Penalties and fines for violations
If you violate Texas car insurance laws, you can be sure of facing harsh consequences and hefty fines.
First time convictions will result in fines ranging from $175 to $350. Any additional conviction will result in fines between $350 and $1000. Additional convictions can also result in the suspension of your driver’s license as well as the impounding of your vehicle.
Hiding from the law
Many car owners are tempted to drive without car insurance hoping they won’t get caught. However, with the introduction of the TexasSure program, chances of getting caught and suffering the consequences are high. The program is used by government agencies to verify car owners’ insurance information, heightening the chances that you’ll be caught if you attempt to drive with inadequate coverage or no insurance altogether.
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