Compulsory Auto Liability Insurance in Texas
No one likes paying auto insurance premiums and many would even take a risk and elect to drive without getting auto insurance if they could. Fortunately, many states have implemented laws requiring drivers to procure a minimum amount of auto insurance coverage before they get behind the wheel-and assess severe penalties if they don’t.
Texas, for example, passed such a minimum compulsory insurance law in 1980, requiring residents of the state who own and drive cars to maintain a statutorily set minimum amount of insurance coverage.
Texas Auto Insurance Requirements
Specifically, Texas law requires that drivers carry two types of insurance.
- Bodily injury to others: This type of insurance pays damages to anyone injured or killed by the insured or anyone driving the insured’s car with his or her permission. This insurance pays for medical bills, pain and suffering, legal bills and legal claims against the insured. On January 1, 2011 the minimum amount of this type of insurance Texas drivers are required to maintain increased to $30,000 per person, up to $60,000 per accident.
- Damage to Someone Else’s Property: This type of insurance pays for damages an insured causes to another’s property, along with any costs associated with the loss of the use of the property. On January 1, 2011, the minimum amount of this type of insurance that Texas drivers are required to maintain is $25,000 per accident.
Penalties for Driving Without Texas Auto Insurance
The first offense Texas drivers operating without the necessary amount of insurance will face is a fine of $175 to $350. Additionally, drivers will have to pay a $250 per year surcharge to the DMV for three years to maintain driving privileges. Subsequent offenses can result in fines of up to $1,000, license suspension and vehicle impoundment.
The Importance of Obtaining Auto Insurance
Having adequate auto insurance is important for all parties involved in a car accident. For the at-fault driver, it helps offset the money he or she will owe for the cost of medical expenses and property damage that the other driver or passengers incurred as a result of the accident without forcing the driver into bankruptcy.
For the driver who was not at fault, having auto insurance means that he or she will not have to pay the medical bills resulting from the accident, nor the car repair costs, out of pocket.
While paying insurance premiums is distasteful to some Texas drivers, some Texas auto accident attorneys say the alternative-getting into an accident without auto insurance-is a great deal worse.