Texas is the second-largest state in the country in terms of population and land area. It features some of the most populated cities in the US: Houston, Dallas, and Austin. And while it certainly is a beautiful place to live and drive in, it also has some of the deadliest highways in the country. According to a 2012 report by the Texas Department of Transportation, one crush occurred every 75 seconds and one person died every two hours on Texas roads.
When it comes to auto insurance, the state laws have strategic auto insurance rules to help deal with the high frequency of road accidents. In this article, we will walk you through some of the facts you should know about Texas car insurance.
Let’s dive in.
You Can Face Serious Consequence for Not Having Auto Insurance in Texas
Understanding Proof of Insurance
It’s illegal to hit the road in Texas without proof of insurance or financial responsibility. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, about 20 percent of all vehicles are not insured.
It is a requirement for all car insurance companies in the state to submit their clients’ policy information to TexasSure so that law enforcement officers can check your policy status when you’re pulled over. Whether you’re driving in the city or on an open back road, the law requires you to give proof of auto insurance. Alternatively, you can deposit a check worth $50,000 or more to prove that you are financially responsible.
It’s hard to prove that your car is insured without your insurance card, so remember to keep it with you all the time. It contains information on your policy number, your insurer’s name, your vehicle’s make and year of manufacture, and the due date of your policy renewal.
What Are the Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Texas?
Driving without auto coverage in Texas attracts penalties and fines ranging from $175 to $350. That might not sound so bad, but wait for it: You have to pay an additional $250 annually for three years in a row. In total, you’ll have to pay between $925 and $1,100 for committing your first insurance offense, which is a huge chunk of change.
Penalties for driving without car insurance are more severe for repeat offenders. You have to part with a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,000 for each ticket. And if you have a more severe case, you are slapped with a whopping 180-day vehicle impoundment, after which you’ll have to give proof of financial responsibility for its release.
You Pay Less for Auto Coverage in Texas Than the National Average
Texas drivers spend slightly less on auto insurance than drivers in other states. On average, it costs $1,373 per year for minimum coverage, which is lower than the national average. However, rates can hugely vary within the state. Auto insurance premiums across the country cost $1,738 per annum, which is considerably lower than Texas’s rates.
Many factors affect the cost of insurance in Texas. Insurers use metrics such as age, driving history, gender, and marital status to calculate your premium rates. For example, if you’re a good driver, you pay less for insurance than drivers with histories of speeding tickets, DUI citations, or at-fault accidents.
Texas Drivers Enjoy Different Discount Packages
There are different auto insurance discounts that Texas drivers can take advantage of. These include:
- Bundling Discounts: This is also known as getting a multiline policy. Large auto insurance companies usually offer this discount on your premiums when you buy multiple policies from them. For example, if you already have a renter’s policy, you can purchase your car insurance policy from the same provider to get a discount for bundling your policies.
- Good Student Discount: If you’re a student driver, you can qualify for this discount package by maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Check with your insurer for their requirements for a good student discount.
- Defensive Driver Discount: This is for drivers who take defensive driving classes. It ranges from taking 5% to 20% off your auto insurance premium. Before taking the course, check with your insurance company to see if they offer this discount package.
Your Insurance Rights Are Well Protected
The Texas Department of Insurance works closely with the Texas Consumer Bill of Rights. This means that your insurance rights are well protected. It’s important to be well versed in your rights because that information can be beneficial when purchasing insurance, canceling a policy, or filing a claim.
Your rights include a time limit for claims processing. This means that you should receive prompt payment when you file for a claim. Your insurer has to confirm receipt of your claim within 15 calendar days. Once they’ve received and verified your details, they must respond within 15 business days. You should be compensated within five business days after approval.
The Texas Consumer Bill of Rights also features other auto insurance rights. For instance, you have the right to bring your car to the mechanic of your choice after an accident. And your insurer must refund you for a deductible you paid for damages you’ve incurred at the expense of a third party.
Texas State Laws Have Specific Liability Requirements
Like most states, Texas requires its residents to have specific types of liability coverage. Your policy must include the following:
- Property Damage Coverage: This covers your property if you’re found legally responsible for an accident.
- Bodily Injury Coverage: When you’re at fault in an accident, bodily injury liability coverage pays for the other driver’s medical expenses and covers your legal fees when necessary.
The Bottom Line
Texas drivers enjoy low auto insurance rates. On average, it costs $1,373 per annum to get auto coverage in the state, which is significantly lower than the national average. Insurance companies also offer a wide range of discounts that drivers can take advantage of to save on insurance. However, despite the low insurance rates, 20 percent of Texas’s drivers are uninsured.
If you’re looking for cheap insurance in Texas, you have plenty of options due to its large auto insurance market. The Texas Consumer Bill of Rights protects your insurance rights, which include a time limit to claims processing. So, if you’ve been injured in a car accident or if you feel your rights have been violated, you can file a claim with the Texas Department of Insurance.