It may be a financial burden to pay for automobile insurance, but the costs of driving without it could be even steeper than monthly premiums. It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle in Texas without the proper insurance. The consequences you could face for breaking this law range from fines to losing your driver’s license. Learn Texas’ car insurance laws to avoid legal trouble as a driver.
Texas Insurance Requirements
Most states require their drivers to carry proof of financial responsibility. A driver can do this by purchasing car insurance. Automobile insurance ensures the driver’s ability to pay for victims’ medical bills and vehicle repairs after an at-fault accident. Additional coverage could pay for the driver’s losses as well. Every driver in Texas must carry at least the state’s minimum required amounts of automobile liability insurance.
- Bodily injury liability per person: $30,000
- Bodily injury liability for all persons per accident: $60,000
- Property damage liability per accident: $25,000
A total of eight basic types of auto insurance coverage exist. It is your choice to purchase additional types beyond those the law requires. To remain on the right side of the law, however, you must at least buy the required types and amounts. You must have adequate insurance before you can register your motor vehicle. If you choose to drive without insurance or you let your coverage lapse, you could face serious consequences.
Fines and Penalties for Driving While Uninsured
You must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle or on your person when you operate your car. If a police officer asks to see your proof of insurance during a routine traffic stop, you must comply with the request. Failing to have proof of insurance could lead to a ticket with a fine between $175 and $300 for first-time offenders. You will also have to pay an additional $250 with your annual driver’s license fee for the next three years. Altogether, a first-time offense for driving while uninsured in Texas could cost you around $925 to $1,100.
If caught driving while uninsured a second or subsequent time, the fines are steeper. The law increases the penalties for repeat offenders to a $350 to $1,000 base fine, plus the additional $250 annually for three years. A repeat offender in Texas is also at risk of driver’s license suspension and vehicle impoundment. If this happens, you will have to spend extra money to get your vehicle back and your driver’s license reinstated. The total cost for driving uninsured more than once could be in the thousands.
Civil Liability for an Uninsured Motorist Accident
Paying fines and losing your license are not the only potential consequences for driving without insurance in Texas. The purpose of auto insurance is to help you pay for someone else’s damages if you cause a car accident. If you are responsible for causing a crash but do not have insurance, state law could make you personally liable. You will have to pay for the victim’s vehicle repairs and medical bills out of pocket. If you cannot afford to pay in a lump sum, the victim may have the right to garnish your wages until you have repaid the debt owed. You could end up paying much more than you would have for car insurance.
Do not drive uninsured in Texas. If you struggle to afford car insurance, take a driver’s education course to help you reduce the costs. Going to traffic school could lead to lower insurance premiums, making a plan more affordable. Your premiums could also be lower based on where you live. Moving to a more secluded or safer street could mean lower payments than in a busier area with a higher risk of vehicle collisions. Compare estimates from multiple car insurance companies to find the most affordable plan for you.
If you or a loved one have been injured by a negligent driver, speak with a San Antonio car accident lawyer at Hill Law Firm today.