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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.
If you buy insurance to meet the state’s financial responsibility law, you must buy at least the minimum amount. The current 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 other driver’s costs if you’re in an accident. Other drivers could sue you to collect the difference. Consider buying more than the basic limits to protect yourself financially.
Liability insurance doesn’t pay to repair or replace your car or to treat your injuries. Consider buying other types of coverage – such as medical payments, collision, and comprehensive – to pay for these expenses.
Proof of Financial Responsibility
When you buy an auto policy, your insurance company will send you a proof-of-insurance card. You must show your current card when you
- are asked for it by a police officer
- have an accident
- register your car or renew its registration
- get or renew your driver’s license
- have your car inspected.
The penalties for violating the state’s financial responsibility laws are
- First offense: fine of $175 to $350
- Additional offenses: fine of $350 to $1,000, suspension of your driver’s license, and impoundment of your car
- Offense without a driver’s license: $2,000 maximum fine, 180 days in jail, or both
- Offense if you cause an accident with serious injuries or death: $4,000 maximum fine, one year in jail, or both.
Know Your Rights
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 under Texas law.