Texas Car Insurance Requirements

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Texas car insurance requirements

Texas requires only one type of car insurance to legally drive: Liability insurance. But there are other important coverage types to consider. Let's look at the options in Texas so you can make the right insurance choices.

Minimum Texas liability insurance:

Liability insurance covers the damage and injuries you cause others, up to the limits you choose. If you don't have enough liability insurance you could be sued for the rest you're responsible for. Typically the state-required minimums are not enough, especially if you cause a large accident.

  • $30,000 bodily injury per person
  • $60,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 property damage per accident

This is often written as 30/60/25.

Uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage:

UM and UIM are not required in Texas. Texas law says insurers must offer them but you can reject them in writing. UM/UIM coverage is for injuries to you or your passengers if you're hit by a driver who has no liability insurance, or not enough. UM/UIM rules can seem complex in Texas so let's break it down:

  • If you buy UM in Texas, the minimum coverage is $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident for injuries.
  • If you buy UIM, the coverage limits must match your liability limits for bodily injury. For example, if you have liability coverage of 100/300, your UIM limits must be 100/300.
  • In Texas you can also buy a form of UM called uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage. This is like UM but it covers property damage, like a car dent, if an uninsured driver hits you.
  • If you buy UMPD, the minimum coverage is $25,000. And if you make a claim for UMPD, there will be a $250 deductible, which is the amount taken out of an insurance check.
  • Texas allows the "stacking" of UM policies. This allows you to potentially make claims under two UM policies. See more about stacking auto insurance.

Personal injury protection (PIP): Texas car insurance companies must offer you PIP but you don't have to take it. PIP pays for injuries to you and your passengers in an accident, no matter who was at fault. PIP also covers lost wages if you can't work after a car accident.

Medical payments (MedPay) coverage: In Texas you can also buy MedPay coverage but it's not required. It pays for medical bills and funeral expenses for anyone injured while driving or riding in your car. It pays no matter who caused the accident. It also covers you if you're a riding a bike or walking and are hit by a car. MedPay coverage is similar to PIP. 

   More: Cheap car insurance in Texas

Comprehensive coverage: The state doesn't require comprehensive coverage but if you have a car loan or lease the lender or leasing company probably requires it. This covers damage to your own vehicle from hitting an animal or flood, fire, vandalism, hail, falling objects and explosions. It also covers car theft.

Collision coverage: The state doesn't require collision coverage but if you have a car loan or lease the lender or leasing company probably requires it. This covers damage to your vehicle if you hit an object such as another car or a fence.

Rental reimbursement: This is optional coverage. It pays for a rental car if your vehicle is being repaired because of a car accident.

You must show an insurance ID card (or other proof of financial responsibility) if Texas if:

  • Law enforcement requests it
  • You renew vehicle registration

Penalties for not having auto insurance in Texas

  • First offense: punishable by a fine $175 to $350; if the person is economically unable to pay, fine may be reduced to less than $175
  • Subsequent offenses: fine of not less than $350 or more than $1,000

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

Consumer complaints against the largest auto insurance companies in Texas

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners uses complaint data from states to make a "complaint ratio." This shows the number of complaints against a company relative to the insurer's size of business. Here are ratios for the biggest auto insurance companies in Texas.


Texas car insurance complaints comparison

Texas DWI laws

First offense

The first DWI offense is a class B misdemeanor in Texas. However, if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above .15, it's considered a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine up to $2,000.
  • Three days to 180 days in jail.
  • Loss of driver's license for up to one year.
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain your driver's license.
  • The court must order an ignition interlock for the period of the license suspension; however, you may be able to choose a hard suspension (meaning no driving at all) with no interlock.

Second offense

The second DWI offense is a class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a second offense, you could face the following fines and penalties:

  • A fine up to $4,000.
  • One month to one year in jail.
  • Loss of driver's license up to a year.
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver's license.
  • The court must order an ignition interlock for the period of the license suspension, however, you may be able to choose a hard suspension (meaning no driving at all) with no interlock.

Third offense

Third and subsequent offenses are third degree felonies. If you are convicted of a third or subsequent offense, you could face the following fines and penalties:

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in prison.
  • Loss of driver's license for up to two years.
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain your driver's license.
  • The court must order an ignition interlock for the period of the license suspension; however, you may be able to choose a hard suspension (meaning no driving at all) with no interlock.

DWI penalty sources: Texas Department of Transportation and the National Conference of State Legislatures

Distracted driving laws in Texas

Prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phone while driving Yes
All cellphone ban Only for school bus drivers
All cellphone use banned for novice drivers Yes, for drivers under 18
Text messaging ban while driving All drivers
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association


Updated June 21, 2018

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