Whether you are driving the open back roads of Texas, downtown metropolitan areas or someplace in between, driving without insurance might seem like a great way to save money. However, when you consider the penalties of being caught while driving without insurance in Texas, it might not actually be worth the cost savings in the end.
Texas car insurance laws
Texas car insurance laws require drivers to obtain liability auto insurance, carry proof of insurance and show it to a police officer if asked.
Texas currently requires minimum liability coverage of 30/60/25, or:
- $30,000 for injuries per person
- $60,000 per accident
- $25,000 for property damage
Penalties for driving without insurance in Texas
If a driver is caught driving without insurance, penalties include fines up to $350 for the first offense, in addition to a $250 surcharge for three years in a row. This adds up to a total of up to $1100 for the first offense.
Penalties increase from there with fines increasing up to $1000 for the second offense, plus the same $250 surcharge for three years in a row. You could end up with a fine as high as $1750, which is much higher than the average cost of liability insurance (which is $726 per year in Texas).
For subsequent offenses, drivers face license suspension, vehicle registration suspension, impoundment of the vehicle and/or the requirement to file an SR-22 certificate (a requirement for high-risk drivers). Aside from the inconvenience of having to file and maintain an SR-22 certificate, the penalties can become quite expensive, costing hundreds and even thousands to reinstate your license and get your car or vehicle registration back. Impoundment fees are calculated by the day and, depending on how many days your vehicle is impounded, can run up a costly bill. There is also the inconvenience of being without a vehicle, having to find a replacement vehicle or lost wages from not having a car.
Getting into an accident without insurance
If a driver does not have liability auto insurance but is involved in an accident that causes damage or injuries, the driver could then be responsible for paying extensive financial outlays. This can include vehicle damage, medical bills, rental car fees, lost wages and even court costs if lawsuits ensue after the accident. These costly consequences can be financially devastating to a driver and could result in losing a life’s savings or even bankruptcy.
If an accident causes serious injuries or death, a driver could spend a year in jail, be required to file an SR-22 form for three years and have his or her vehicle registration and license suspended for two years. Compared to the cost of maintaining minimum liability insurance, the financial costs resulting from being in an accident without insurance can be much higher.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance in Texas?
The best car insurance differs depending on your needs, budget, available discounts, vehicle, driving history and other factors. Discover the Best Car Insurance Companies in Texas according to JD Power studies and discuss with an agent which policy might be best for you.
What is the cheapest car insurance in Texas?
Read about The Cheapest Car Insurance in Texas for 2021 to find the best policy for you. Policies vary according to your needs, driving history, vehicle, discounts available to you and other factors, so discuss these factors with your agent, to find the best policy for you.