Texas Financial Responsibility Law: Minimum Auto Liability Insurance Limits have Increased
Texas law requires people who drive in Texas to pay for the accidents they cause. Most drivers do this by buying auto liability insurance.
Liability insurance pays to repair or replace the other driver’s car and pays other people’s medical expenses when you are at fault in an accident. It doesn’t pay to repair or replace your car or for your injuries. Consider buying other types of coverage – such as personal injury protection or medical payments, collision, and comprehensive (other than collision) – to pay your expenses.
Most drivers buy liability insurance to meet the state’s financial responsibility law. You must buy at least the minimum amount of coverage. The minimum liability limits are $30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage.
Because of car prices and the high cost of medical care, the minimum amounts might not be enough to pay all of the costs you’re responsible for if you’re at fault in an accident. You must pay the costs above your insurance limits. Consider buying more than the basic limits to protect yourself financially.
Breaking the Law
There are penalties for breaking the state’s financial responsibility law. A first conviction will result in a fine between $175 and $350. Additional convictions could result in fines of $350 to $1,000, suspension of your driver’s license, and impoundment of your car.
When you get auto insurance, your insurance company will send you a proof-of-insurance card. You will need this card to prove that you have insurance when you
- are asked for it by a law enforcement officer
- have an accident
- register your car or renew its registration
- get or renew your driver’s license
- get your car inspected.
TexasSure is a verification system that tells law enforcement and county tax officials if you or the car you’re driving has auto liability insurance. Police can use TexasSure when they pull you over to check if you or the car you’re driving is insured.
TexasSure helps reduce the number of uninsured vehicles in Texas. An estimated 4 million vehicles – one in five – on Texas roads are uninsured. TexasSure also helps prevent the use of counterfeit proof of insurance cards and helps stop people from getting insurance so that they can get their car inspected or registered, and then canceling their insurance afterward.
For more information, visit the TexasSure website at www.TexasSure.com.
Buying Auto Insurance
Call or email an insurance company or agent in your area to buy auto insurance. In addition to liability insurance required by law, you can also purchase these additional coverages:
- collision and comprehensive
- medical payments
- personal injury protection
- uninsured/underinsured motorist
- towing and labor
- rental reimbursement.
Rates vary among companies, so it pays to shop around. Get quotes from several companies and agents before you buy.
The Texas Department of Insurance provides several helpful publications and websites to help you shop:
- Automobile Insurance Sample Rate Comparisons on HelpInsure.com
- Automobile Insurance Made Easy
- Glossary of Common Auto Insurance Terms
- You Could Save $100 in a Hour
- Shopping Smart
Texas has a Consumer Bill of Rights for auto insurance. Your insurance company must send you a copy with your policy. Read it to understand your rights and responsibilities under Texas law.
Having Trouble Finding Insurance
If a company turns you down, keep shopping. Companies have different criteria for accepting drivers for coverage.
If you’ve been rejected by two insurance companies, you may buy basic liability insurance through the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA). TAIPA doesn’t provide collision or comprehensive coverage or higher liability limits than the law requires. You have the option to buy personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage through TAIPA.
For TAIPA coverage, call an agent and they will give your application to TAIPA. TAIPA will then assign you to a company to collect your premium and issue your policy. The company will provide coverage for up to three years. Call TAIPA at 1-866-321-9154 for more information.
Help with an Insurance Complaint
If you have an insurance-related complaint, first try to resolve the problem with the company. People often have complaints because of misunderstandings that can be worked out by talking with the company. Most companies in Texas have toll-free numbers for customer assistance. Read your policy to find out how to contact the company.
If you're unable to resolve your issue by talking with the company, file a complaint with TDI.
Read about TDI’s consumer complaints process in the Helping You with Your Insurance Complaint publication. You may also email, mail, or fax your complaint along with copies of your supporting documents to
Texas Department of Insurance
Consumer Protection Program (MC 111-1A)
P.O. Box 149091
Austin, TX 78714-9091
For More Information or Assistance
For answers to general insurance questions, for information about filing an insurance-related complaint, or to report suspected insurance fraud, call the Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439 or 463-6515 in Austin between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Central time, Monday-Friday, or visit our website at www.tdi.texas.gov.
For printed copies of consumer publications, call the 24-hour Publications Order Line at 1-800-599-SHOP (7467) or 305-7211 in Austin.
To report suspected arson or suspicious activity involving fires, call the State Fire Marshal’s 24-hour Arson Hotline at 1-877-4FIRE45 (434-7345).
The information in this publication is current as of the revision date. Changes in laws and agency administrative rules made after the revision date may affect the content. View current information on our website. TDI distributes this publication for educational purposes only. This publication is not an endorsement by TDI of any service, product, or company.
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