If you’re a new driver in Texas or you’ve recently moved to the Lone Star State, you should get to know the basics of Texas car insurance laws to make sure you’re staying legal on the road and protecting yourself financially. How much you want to protect yourself and your wallet is up to you, but Texas does have a minimum amount of insurance coverage that you need to have to drive legally in the state. Let’s get into it.
Minimum Insurance Laws in Texas
In Texas, you have to have a minimum of liability insurance to drive legally. Liability insurance helps you — the policyholder — pay for the costs of the potential bodily injuries and property damage of other people involved in collisions with you. Liability insurance does not help you pay for the costs of your own damages or bodily injuries. Most states require this type of insurance as a minimum for their drivers but each state has its own minimum limits of coverage. In Texas, your liability insurance must have:
- $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
- $60,000 of total bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 of property damage per accident
It’s important to note that you might come across shorthand versions of these limits when you’re shopping for your insurance. Other ways of writing the same coverage limits for Texas’ minimum insurance requirements are:
These all mean the same thing and should always be in the same order: bodily injury per person/bodily injury per accident/property damage.
As long as the insurance plan you’re considering has these liability coverage minimums or more, you should be good to go to drive legally in Texas unless you have a special circumstance that requires you to have more or different insurance. Regardless of where you live, these liability coverage minimums should cover you and keep you legal on the road, whether you’re in El Paso or Texarkana.
Bodily Injury Coverage
As we mentioned above, your minimum liability insurance plan in Texas must have at least $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $60,000 per accident. This means that each person involved in a car accident with your vehicle (but not you or your passengers) is covered for up to $30,000 of medical injuries. However, this gets capped at $60,000 per accident.
For example, if three people are injured in the accident, all three can get up to $20,000. If two of those people are injured, they can both get up to $30,000. If one person is injured, they will still only get up to $30,000 in bodily injury coverage due to the per-person cap.
Property Damage Coverage
Property damage coverage helps you pay for damages to other people’s property, including their vehicles. This type of insurance helps make sure that other people aren’t put into a precarious financial position if their property is damaged by you. It also helps protect you from having to pay for other people’s property if you damage it.
Your Bodily Injury and Property Damage Coverage
Covering your own bodily injury and property damage is not required in Texas. However, car insurance companies are required to offer you personal injury protection (PIP), but you don’t have to accept it if you don’t want to pay for it. Your insurance company is also required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage to protect you against drivers who are driving without insurance but you also don’t have to accept this insurance.
If you want to cover the cost of potential damages to your vehicle in Texas, you should consider collision insurance. Collision insurance reimburses you for repairs to your vehicle that happened due to a collision. The maximum amount your collision insurance pays out depends on the actual cash value of your vehicle. If the damages exceed this amount, your insurance company considers your vehicle totaled and should pay out the full amount to help you replace your vehicle.
Another type of insurance plan you should be aware of is comprehensive insurance. This helps protect your finances against non-collision damages to your vehicle, including theft, hail, flooding, and animals chewing through your vehicle’s lines. If you’re leasing your vehicle, you’ll likely need liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. You may also be required to have these if you owe money on your vehicle. With all three of these, you’ll have what’s called “full coverage” insurance.
In either of these cases, if you have an older or high-mileage vehicle, the cost of collision insurance might be more than your vehicle is worth. Be sure to weigh the cost of collision and comprehensive insurance against the value of your vehicle to decide whether it is worth purchasing or not.
There are other types of insurance, but these three are the most common types. Think about what you need or want your insurance to cover and know what premium you can comfortably handle to make the best decision for your situation.
Providing Proof of Insurance
When you drive in Texas (and most states), you’ll be required to carry proof of insurance when you’re driving. If an officer asks for your insurance, you must have a way to show them that you have it. You’ll also need your proof of insurance if you’re involved in an accident so that you can exchange information with other drivers and property owners and file a claim.
Having proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times is always a good idea. You need it to do quite a few other things, such as registering your vehicle in Texas, getting a Texas driver’s license, and taking your vehicle in for its annual inspection.
Many companies offer digital copies of your insurance cards and though these are being accepted more and more, a real paper copy is the most sure-fire way of being able to prove you have insurance at all times. Simply print off your insurance card at home or printing service, throw it in your glove compartment, and drive safe until it’s time to print off your updated cards.
If you’re looking for more information about insuring or maintaining your vehicle, be sure to stop by our blog section for more articles and guides just like this one. One of the best things you can do to protect yourself on the road is arming yourself with the knowledge of how to keep your vehicles legal and healthy.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.