Last updated on April 26th, 2018
When it comes to car accidents involving two or more drivers Texas Car Insurance law requires the driver that caused the accident to pay for any injuries or property damage sustained by other parties. Since the costs of even a minor accident can place unbearable financial burden on many motorists the state of Texas operates under a financial responsibility law that requires drivers to prove that they have the ability to pay for any damage or injuries they cause before they are able to legally drive on a public road. The easiest way for Texas residents to prove financial responsibility is to purchase an auto insurance policy that includes the minimum amount of coverage as required by state law. In the state of Texas the only type of insurance that is legally required to be maintained on a vehicle is liability insurance. The state mandates that every auto insurance policy purchased in the state should include at least $30,000 in bodily injury or death benefits for an individual person and $60,000 in bodily injury or death benefits per accident. These benefits are only to secondary parties involved in an accident with the policy holder and cannot be paid out to the policy holder or passengers in the policy holder’s vehicle. In addition to bodily injury and death coverage Texas State law also requires auto insurance policies to include a minimum of $25,000 in property damage liability coverage which can be used to pay for the property damage caused by the policy holder. Because the costs of medical care and property damage can be so high, even in a relatively minor accident, Texas recommends that vehicle owners purchase liability coverage in amount that’s exceed state minimum requirements. Purchasing extra coverage will also help reduce the chance that the policy holder is sued by another party because their liability coverage did not cover the full cost of the accidents. According to Texas law at-fault drivers are responsible for the entire cost of an accident and even if they have insurance they could still be personally liable for a portion of the cost if their insurance does not cover everything or if the other driver attempts to sue for punitive damages. Although liability coverage is generally described as bodily injury or property damage coverage it can actually cover a much wider range claims. Liability coverage for instance can be used to pay for punitive damages if they are awarded to the court and it can also help pay for policy holder’s attorney fees if they are sued because of an accident and will even pay $250 toward bail if the policy holder or driver of the insured vehicle is arrested.
Liability coverage on a vehicle also covers more people than just the policy holder or the person that happens to be driving the vehicle. The liability coverage included with most policies covers the policy holder’s immediate family and any other people living in the policy holder’s home. If a Texas vehicle owner wishes to have auto insurance coverage that will pay their injuries or property damage most Texas car insurance companies will allow them to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive and collision coverage typically covers pretty much any physical damage done to the insured vehicle no matter how it was caused and who was at-fault for the damage. Some residents may also wish to purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage which will be activated if the insured vehicle is involved in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to pay for the injuries to all parties involved in the accident.
In order to enforce state car insurance requirements Texas residents are required y law to present proof of insurance in a variety of situations Like many other states Texas requires a vehicle owner to provide proof of insurance when they register a vehicle with the DMV or when they receive or attempt to renew their drivers license. Drivers are also required to provide proof of insurance when they are pulled over or involved in an accident. Failure to provide proof of insurance to a law enforcement officer upon request will often result in a traffic citation and other potential penalties if they are convicted of driving without insurance. For a first offense an uninsured driver will be fined anywhere from $175 to $350 and for a second or subsequent offense a Texas resident could face a fine as large as $1,000 and will also have their license suspended and their vehicle impounded. If an uninsured driver is involved in an at-fault accident that results in serious injury or death to the other driver they will receive a minimum $4,000 fine and could potentially be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail. Driving uninsured in Texas will also result in a black mark on the driver’s record that could result in increased insurance premiums.