There are over 200 million licensed drivers that travel the roads in the United States. Every day, at all hours, in all road and weather conditions, people climb behind the wheel. Inevitably, accidents happen. From minor fender benders to major crashes that inflict serious injuries, car accidents occur every day. Last year in Texas, a car crash occurred about every minute. As a result, nearly every state requires drivers to maintain auto insurance. Auto insurance pays for the property damage and injuries drivers and passengers sustain in a crash. Each state, however, takes its own distinct approach to car insurance, and Texas is no exception. Here, learn more about the insurance requirements in Texas and how they can affect you and your family after an accident.
Monetary Minimums Are Set by the State for Every Driver
Every driver in Texas is required to purchase auto insurance on his own. There are many companies that offer acceptable policies, and drivers are free to choose whichever company and policy best meets their needs and budget. The state does require two types of insurance and sets minimum amounts for each. These are:
- Bodily Injury Liability – This covers expenses related to injuries or death sustained by others when you cause an accident. Drivers must carry at least $30,000 in coverage per person and $60,000 per accident.
- Property Damage Liability – This covers damage to another person’s property and can include other vehicles, vehicle contents, homes, buildings, or other structures. Drivers must carry at least $25,000 in coverage.
Optional Coverage Can Help Reduce Financial Strain After an Accident
While the state does not require any further coverage, many drivers elect to purchase additional insurance with their policy. Common types of coverage include:
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – Protects drivers and their passengers when they are injured in a crash with a driver who does not have auto insurance. Their own policy will cover medical expenses.
- Personal Injury Protection – Offers additional coverage for those suffering injuries in a crash, including compensation for lost wages if the injuries force you to miss work.
- Collision – Repairs or replaces your own vehicle if damaged in an accident.
- Comprehensive – Repairs or replaces your own vehicle if damaged by something other than a crash, such as a storm or theft.
While these types of coverages are not mandated by the state, it is often a good idea to carry them. Car accidents can inflict serious damage to both property and individuals, and the financial strain can be significant.
Penalties Exist for Those Who Ignore Texas Car Insurance Laws
Texas law requires drivers to show proof of insurance in a number of situations, including:
- when asked by a police officer
- when involved in an accident
- registering your car or renew its registration
- obtaining or renewing your driver's license
- having your car inspected
Carrying car insurance can be expensive, however, and it is tempting for some people to ignore the law. In fact, Texas ranks third in the country for the number of uninsured drivers at 1.6 million. For those who are caught driving without insurance, though, there are stiff penalties. Driving without insurance is punishable by:
- Vehicle impoundment
- Loss of licensure
At-Fault Rules Hold Those Responsible Accountable
Additionally, Texas is a fault state when it comes to auto accidents. In a fault state, someone is assigned blame for the accident and is considered the at-fault party. That person is financially responsible for the consequences of the accident, which can include paying for damage to the car, other property, medical bills, lost wages of the injured, and more. Auto insurance exists to help cover these costs. However, for victims involved in crashes with the uninsured or those whose policy does not fully cover the cost of the accident, accountability is still available. Texas law allows accident victims to pursue a personal injury case to obtain compensation for the full extent of their injuries and property damage.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a car accident, the experienced lawyers at Kennedy Hodges, LLP, may be able to help. Call us today at 855-947-0707 to reach us in our offices in Texas or Washington, D.C. We help accident victims all across the country obtain the justice and compensation they deserve.