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Texas Car Insurance Laws

Learn how much property and bodily liability insurance is required to operate a motorized vehicle in Texas. Discover if you have proper coverage and if not what the penalties and fines are for continuing to drive without the minimum insurance coverage ...     read more

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Department of Insurance Contact Information

Texas Department of Insurance
333 Guadalupe
Austin, TX 78701

Consumer Hotline

1-512-463-6169 or
Toll Free: 1-800-252-3439

State Department Website

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/

File Complaint Website

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/consumer/complfrm.html

State Regulation

Each vehicle you own must have insurance coverage that meets or exceeds these standards: - At least $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person per accident. - At least $50,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people in an accident. - At least $25,000 for property damage in an accident.

Remember that if you finance your vehicle, you also will be required to carry complete comprehensive and collision coverage. This is required because your lien holder will want to be fully reimbursed in the event of a serious accident. This type of coverage is mandatory for someone who owns a car outright - but it reduces the overall coverage you have in the event of a total loss of your vehicle.

If you fail to follow Texas insurance regulations, there are penalties: Driving uninsured will result with a fine of at least $175. If you are fined again, the fees can increase exponentially, and you could lose your driver's license and vehicle if you commit a third offense. Texas also has a category called "surchargeable violations" that can result in payment of penalties for consecutive years - it means a single offense could stay with you and your driving record for several years.

There are very few exceptions, if any, to Texas insurance laws. If you have a vehicle, you must insure it. This includes a classic car that's never driven and a car for someone who's overseas for years. Even non-working vehicles must be insured.

Insurance is NOT required on:

Off-highway vehicles

However, in Texas, all roadgoing cars must be insured constantly. This applies to non-working vehicles as well.

Vehicles must be insured in order to transfer title. Complete it within 30 days of the sale, and preexisting insurance may be used. But after 30 days, a new policy must be written for the car.

Penalties:

All vehicles must be insured in Texas. The penalties for driving uninsured are substantial, starting with a fine between $175 and $350 for a first-time offense. Not a quick learner? The fines skyrocket on the second and third offenses, and that third offense can result in the suspension of your driver license and the impoundment of your vehicle.

It can also kick in a nasty little citation labeled "failure to maintain financial responsibility." This offense is in the category of "surchargeable violations."

A surchargeable violation means that you may pay the fine for the ticket - and then pay an additional penalty each year for up to three years. This penalty applies even if you maintain your insurance perfectly from that point on. For more information on this interesting twist in Texas law, read about the Texas point system. - "surchargeable violations" that can result in payment of penalties for consecutive years - it means a single offense could stay with you and your driving record for several years.

You may also be required to file an SR-22 or SR-22A.

Requirements Regarding Proof of car insurance: Proof Required - When Obtaining Registration, If Involved In An Accident

Penalties For Not Carrying Mandatory Insurance: First Offense = Fine of up to $350

Min Coverage:

$25,000 for injury/death to one person

$50,000 for injury to more than one person

$25,000 for damage to property

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