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Car Insurance in Texas
Did you know that in Texas you could get a discount on your car insurance just for taking a drug and alcohol awareness course? Learn more about Texas auto insurance laws, rates, and programs.
If you choose to buy liability insurance to comply with the law, your policy must have the following minimum limits:
- $30,000 for each injured person.
- $60,000 for injuries per incident.
- $25,000 for property damage.
Other Car Insurance
Texas only requires you to have liability insurance, but there are other optional types of car insurance coverage available to help protect you financially, which include:
- Collision – This coverage will help cover damages to your vehicle due to accidents with other cars.
- Comprehensive – This coverage will help with damages to your car due to incidents not involving car collisions. For example, if hail dents your car, you may be covered through comprehensive coverage.
- Uninsured/Underinsured drivers – The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) states that about 20% of current drivers in TX are uninsured. This coverage can help protect you from damages caused by these drivers.
- Towing and labor.
NOTE: If your car is being financed, your lending or leasing company will require you to carry both collision and comprehensive coverage for your car.
Car Insurance Alternatives
Buying liability insurance is the most common way to cover your financial responsibility, but you do have other options:
- A surety bond from two individual sureties that own property in Texas, with the same coverage limitations as liability insurance.
- $55,000 cash or securities deposit with the state Comptroller.
- $55,000 cash or cashier’s check deposit with the county judge of the county in which the car is registered.
- Certificate of self-insurance – You must own a fleet of more than 25 cars to qualify for a certificate of self-insurance.
Proof of Insurance in Texas
Your car insurance company will give you an insurance card to use as your proof of car insurance. You must show a proof of insurance when you:
- Are asked for it by a police officer.
- Get into a car accident.
- Register or renew your car’s registration.
- Apply or renew your driver’s license.
- Have your car inspected.
You should get a new car insurance card from your insurance carrier every time you renew your auto insurance. Most insurance companies offer a minimum term of 6 months on a policy.
TexasSure is a program that helps various Texas government agencies electronically verify that you have car insurance.
Among the agencies that use TexasSure are:
- The Texas Department of Public Safety.
- Sherriff and police departments.
- Vehicle registration offices.
If there are issues with your Texas car insurance information, you may receive one of the following notices:
- Unmatched notices – According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), less than 1% of insured driver’s cannot be matched with their registered car in the TexasSure system. You will receive this notice if you are on record as having car insurance but the insurance does not match with your car.
- Uninsured Notices – You will receive this notice if you have a registered vehicle with no record of car insurance for that car.
Violation Fines and Penalties
Violating Texas car insurance laws can bring harsh consequences, including the following fines and penalties:
- For your first conviction:
- $175 – $350 in fines.
- For additional convictions:
- $350 – $1,000 in fines.
- Possible suspension of your driver’s license.
- Possible impoundment of your car.
Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association
Drivers with poor driving records may have a hard time finding car insurance. If 2 insurance companies have refused to insure you, you can buy your car insurance through the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA).
To be eligible for the TAIPA program, you must:
- Have a valid driver’s license or be applying for one.
- Live in Texas or have a car registered in Texas.
- Certify that 2 insurance companies have turned you down within the last 60 days. You do not have to have proof of refusal to insure, but you will need to sign an affidavit stating that 2 insurance companies have rejected your application of insurance.
Through TAIPA, you will be covered for the minimum required liability coverage PLUS:
- $2,500 Personal Injury Protection.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage of:
- $30,000 personal injury.
- $60,000 injuries per incident.
- $25,000 property damage.
TAIPA only allows you to purchase annual policies, but you do have various options for payment, which include:
- Paying your full annual premium up-front.
- 8 Installment payments – You will need to pay a down payment of whichever is greater: 20% of your premium or $40.
If you have been issued car insurance through TAIPA and have gone 3 years without a car accident or traffic ticket, your insurance carrier must take you out of the TAIPA program and offer you standard car insurance at a lower rate.
Help With Your Car Insurance Complaints
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) offers assistance for complaints you might have with insurance companies, including your car insurance carrier.
The most common complaints TDI helps resolve involve:
- Claim and benefit disputes.
- False advertising.
- Suspected insurance fraud.
TDI cannot assist you with the following:
- Determining who was at fault in a car accident.
- Resolving disputes between you and your insurance carrier when your word is your only evidence.
- Forcing insurance companies to pay a disputed claim or make a policy exception when no insurance laws were broken.
- Giving legal advice.
To learn more about how you can get assistance with your car insurance complaints, visit the TDI website.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that someone is hurt or killed in an alcohol-related accident every 20 minutes. Drinking and driving can be costly, not only to your safety but to your wallet. DWI convictions can increase your car insurance rates. The best way to avoid this is not to drink and drive.
To learn more about Texas’ DWI laws visit our DUI DWI in Texas page.
Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Discount
To help promote safe driving, Texas car insurance companies are required to offer you a 5% discount off your car insurance premium for voluntarily taking a Texas Education Agency (TEA)-approved drug and alcohol awareness course.
You are not eligible for this discount if you have been convicted of a drug- or alcohol-related charge in the past 7 years. You are eligible for the discount after 7 years has passed since your conviction.
Staying safe can not only keep your car insurance premiums from rising; it can help you find affordable insurance from the start. Get a quote on car insurance today and see how much you can save.
Most Stolen Cars in Texas
If your car is highly targeted for theft, you may have to pay a little more for car insurance.
The following is a list of the most stolen cars in Texas for 2013, according to www.nicb.org:
- Ford Pickup (Full Size).
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size).
- Dodge Pickup (Full Size).
- Honda Accord.
- Honda Civic.
- GMC Pickup (Full Size).
- Chevrolet Tahoe.
- Toyota Camry.
- Chevrolet Impala.
- Ford Explorer.
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