What Are the Car Insurance Requirements in Texas?
Texas law requires all drivers to have adequate car insurance. According to state law, Texas drivers need to have minimum insurance coverages of $30,000 per injured person, up to at least $60,000 per accident. Additionally, Texas drivers must have coverage for property damage of at least $25,000. Insurance and legal professionals refer to these coverage requirements in shorthand 30/60/25 coverage.
These requirements, however, are simply minimums, and there’s no guarantee that minimum coverage will address all the costs of recovery and repairs if you’re injured in an accident.
Although Texas doesn’t require drivers to have insurance against uninsured and underinsured drivers, it’s a good idea to consider including it in your policy. This type of insurance protects you if you’re injured in an accident caused by a driver who didn’t have insurance, or who didn’t have enough coverage to take care of the damages.
Proof of Insurance
In addition to purchasing appropriate auto insurance in Texas – again, 30/60/25 at the very least – you also need to show proof of insurance if police request it. Police officers who pull you over for a traffic violation will ask to see proof of insurance along with your license and registration. Additionally, you’ll need to produce proof of insurance if you’re involved in an accident, as well as to register your car and get a Texas driver’s license or renew either your registration or your license. The law requires you to show proof of insurance as part of your annual vehicle inspection.
When you purchase your car insurance policy, your insurance company will send you ID cards. You should immediately put these in your glove compartment and keep them there, so that you can access them immediately after an accident or if a police officer asks to see them.
Types of Insurance Coverage in Texas
While the state minimums are fairly straightforward, more insurance means more protection in case of an accident, so it can be helpful to understand your coverage options beyond the state minimum requirements. Depending on the type and amount of insurance you have, your insurance company – or the insurance company of the at-fault driver in case of an accident you didn’t cause – may pay not only for medical bills and car repairs, but also for a rental car, court fees, and other costs. Knowing the different types of coverage can help you decide what insurance to buy as well as help you navigate the insurance system in the event of an accident.
- Liability coverage – which is all that’s legally required in Texas – pays costs such as medical bills and funeral expenses, as well as lost wages in case of a serious injury and pain and suffering compensation. It also covers property damage such as repairing or replacing a damaged vehicle or paying for a rental car while repairs take place.
- Collision coverage – something a lender will require when you finance the purchase of a new car. It covers damage to your car while you still owe money on it. This type of insurance will pay out either your car’s actual value, the amount necessary to repair or replace it or the amount on the insurance declaration page – whichever is the least amount.
- Comprehensive coverage – similar to collision coverage but covers the cost of repairing or replacing your car in incidents other than a collision – like if someone stole it or it was damaged by vandalism, hail, or other non-collision events.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage – will pay out damages for bodily injury and property damage if you’re in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance. Although Texas law requires insurance, many drivers ignore the law, so this can be a good added protection.
There are other types of insurance available as well, so it’s important to do plenty of research before you buy and understand your options. If you were involved in a vehicle collision and need experienced legal advice, consider speaking with an Austin car accident lawyer who can help you understand how insurance affects your legal options.