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Car Insurance

To drive in Texas, you must be able to pay for the damages after a motor vehicle accident. If you were at fault in a car collision that caused injuries, you would also be held responsible for the medical bills. For that reason, most drivers get liability car insurance. Other ways to prove liability insurance is to:

  • Make a $55,000 deposit to the county controller.
  • Make a $55,000 deposit to the county judge.
  • Set up a self-insurance certification with the Department of Transportation if you are an automobile dealer.
  • Set up a surety bond with a Texas car insurance provider.

Information Related to Car Insurance

Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements

As a safety measure to guarantee an auto coverage policy is useful in the aftermath of a vehicular crash, the Texas Department of Insurance has created minimum liability insurance guidelines to follow. When you purchase car coverage from an insurance provider, get an insurance policy that meets the following requirements:

  • For each injured person: $30,000
  • For injuries per accident: $60,000
  • For property damage: $25,000

You may see auto insurance providers list policies in this fashion: 30/60/25. If that is the case, know that the order is always: injuries per person/ injuries per accident/ property damage.

If you get a 30/60/25 car insurance policy, you are getting a “basic coverage.” This indicates that you are meeting the TX minimum liability insurance requirements and will not be penalized for driving without sufficient auto insurance.

Types of Vehicles that Must Be Insured

As a general rule of thumb, Texas drivers must get auto insurance for motor vehicles that will be used on public roads and highways:

  • Passenger cars
  • Pick-up trucks
  • RVs
  • Motorhomes
  • Motorcycles

Note: If you need insurance for motorcycles, visit the Motorcycle Insurance page for more in-depth information.

Penalties for Not Having Car Insurance in Texas

Texas state authorities take its safety precautions seriously, and if you are caught driving without car insurance, you will be assessed steep fines.

First-time Offenders

The first time law enforcement charges you with driving without proper financial responsibility, you will be fined $350. There will be additional court costs to pay as well.

Repeat Offenders

For subsequent offenses, you face receiving fines up to $1,000. This would be in addition to drivers license suspension no longer than two years.

Note: If you are issued a traffic ticket for not having car insurance yet disagree with the charge, contact a traffic ticket attorney.

How to Prevent Drivers License Suspension

To prevent a drivers license suspension for not being insured, speak with the police officer issuing the traffic ticket about a grace period to buy car insurance. In many cases, you may show proof of car insurance within a certain period of time at the DMV to keep your driving privileges. If there is no leeway provided, contact a traffic ticket attorney.

How to Get Car Insurance

Getting car insurance online is the most common method in Texas. Going in person to insurance agencies is rare, with the exception for individuals who are joining family plans. The benefits of searching car insurance quotes online are:

  • Pulling up several quotes at once.
  • Changing parts of the policy easily.
  • Comparing multiple auto insurance rates from different providers.

To apply for car insurance, have your personal information on hand:

  • TX drivers license number
  • Vehicle information:
    • Make
    • Model
    • Year
  • License plate number or car registration number

Showing Proof of Car Insurance at the DMV

As you may already know, when you go to register car credentials at the DMV, you have to show proof of car insurance. Without it, your request for new car registration will be denied. When you sign up for an auto insurance policy, you will be mailed a proof-of-insurance card. Not only is it advised to keep this in the dashboard of your car, be sure to bring it with you to register a car.
For more information about car registration in Texas, visit the New Registration page.

Other Types of Car Insurance Policies

Insurance for cars extends beyond the traditional basic coverage package. By just meeting the minimum liability insurance requirements designated by the Texas Department of Insurance, your car insurance policy may not cover the total cost of damages and medical bills. The other driver would have cause to sue you to get the remaining costs paid for. To keep your monthly bills low though, you can supplement a basic car insurance policy with accident coverage.

What is accident coverage?

Accident coverage comes in a few different ways:

  • Collision coverages will pay for damages done to your car in a vehicle accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused by anything except a car collision.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage will protect you in an accident with another driver who does not have, or has insufficient, car insurance.

For more information, visit our Accident Coverage page.

How to Report an Accident

The TX DPS requires drivers to be responsible citizens after a car crash. Follow these steps:

  • Remove your vehicles as best as possible out of the way from the flow of traffic.
  • Get the personal information of the other motorist and witnesses:
    • Name
    • Phone number
    • Address
    • Plate number
    • Drivers license number
  • Insurance company name and policy number
  • Give your same personal information in return.

Call the police immediately if the other motorist refuses to give you his or her personal contact and/or car insurance provider.

Injury or Fatality

If you are involved in an accident that results in injury or fatality, you must call 9-1-1 right away. Other times to contact the police are if:

  1. There was a hit and run.
  2. You cannot move your vehicle out of the roadway.

How to Call Your Car Insurance Agency

Upon arriving at home, follow these steps:

  1. Call your car insurance company’s 1-800 report claims number.
  2. Provide the personal information of the other motorist, and witnesses if there were any.
  3. Send the company copies of the police accident report if there is one, and other legal papers that you received at the time of the auto collision.

Moving Out of State

When you are moving out of state, you must cancel your Texas auto insurance policy and buy car insurance from your new state. Having proper auto coverage will become important when you are registering a car out of state for the first time.

Temporary Residence Out of State

If you are living out of Texas for at least six months out of the year, you may use your TX car insurance policy in another state if the following applies to you:

  • Your vehicle is registered in Texas
  • Your main residence is in Texas
  • You vote in Texas

CDL Insurance

Commercial vehicles are vital components of the American business infrastructure, and must be protected by CDL insurance in Texas. The types of commercial vehicles that must be covered are below:

  • Large trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • School buses
  • Limousines
  • Taxis
  • 16 or more passenger vans

Commercial car insurance is also required for the following types of vehicles:

  • Vehicles registered or title to a:
    • Business.
    • Corporation.
    • Partnership.
  • Vehicle driven by your employees or you
  • Rented or leased by other drivers
  • Equipped with:
    • Snowplowing equipment
    • Cooking or catering equipment
    • Bathrooms
    • Altered suspensions
    • Hydraulic lifts
    • Racing equipment

As a general rule of thumb, any commercial vehicle that is used on the public roadways and highways must have commercial car insurance. The exceptions to this law are:

  • Military vehicles.
  • Farm equipment.
  • Government fire-fighting vehicles.
  • Emergency vehicles.
  • Vehicles used to transport cotton modules or cotton burrs.

How to Get Commercial Car Insurance Quotes

Purchasing commercial vehicle coverage can be done several ways:,/p>

  1. By visiting a local auto insurance agency in person.
  2. Searching for CDL insurance quotes online.
  3. Speaking to a commercial vehicle insurance specialist over the phone.

CDL insurance quotes and minimum insurance requirements set by the Texas Department of Insurance are determined by the following factors:

  • CDL driver’s driving record
  • Type of commercial vehicle being driven
  • The gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the commercial vehicle
  • What is being transported
  • If the vehicle will be crossing state borders

For the CDL insurance provider to generate an accurate commercial car insurance quote, have ready the following pieces of information:

  • Company name (if applicable)
  • Length of time the company has been in business
  • Current worker’s compensation insurance status
  • Current status of CDL insurance policy
  • Commercial vehicle owner’s name
  • Vehicle information:
    • VIN
    • Make
    • Model
    • Year
  • Drivers information:
    • Name
    • TX CDL license number

Who Pays for Commercial Insurance?

Paying for commercial insurance is the responsibility of the owner of the commercial vehicle:

  • When the vehicle is registered to a company, the company then purchases commercial car insurance.
  • When the vehicle is registered to a for-hire CDL driver, the owner is responsible to getting CDL insurance.

Penalties for Not Having CDL Insurance

CDL drivers are held to a higher standard of driving than regular drivers. As a commercial driver, you face harsh penalties and higher fines for breaking traffic violations. The logic lies in the magnitude of responsibility placed on your shoulders. Because you are providing a service, or hired to perform this specific task, there is little room for error. The goods you are transporting do not belong to you, therefore the costs for damages and losses are covered by the commercial car insurance. If you drive passenger transport vehicle, you are then held responsible for the livelihoods of people.

If caught driving without commercial auto insurance, the drivers and company face:

  • Commercial drivers license suspension (for-hire vehicles)
  • Administrative suspension (company-owned commercial vehicles)

In addition, the commercial vehicle registration will be suspended until proof of commercial car insurance is provided to the DPS.

Show Proof of CDL Insurance to Register a Commercial Vehicle

To register a commercial vehicle, follow the same steps found in the New Registration page. Keep in mind that proof of commercial car insurance must be shown for each commercial vehicle that is to be registered. Provide the insurance binder or commercial car insurance card from your insurance company. The DPS are looking for one item: the motor carrier has automobile liability insurance that is combined single limit liability for bodily injury to or death of an individual per occurrence, loss or damage to property (excluding cargo) per occurrence, or both.

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Last updated on Monday, September 24 2018.

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