What I Need to Know About Texas Auto Insurance
If you drive in the state of Texas, it is important to know how much car insurance you need to have to follow the law and avoid paying for fines and penalties.
In Texas, drivers must "pay for the accidents they cause" because it’s an "at-fault" state. This means if you’re in a car accident and it’s your fault, you have to pay for the damage you caused. If you don't have the right insurance, you could end up spending a lot of money.
If a driver, passenger or person walking by is hurt during an accident, they can file a claim with their own insurance company to receive money. This is called a "first party" claim. They can also file a claim with your insurance company to collect money. This is called a "third party" claim. The insurance company is called the "second party."
A "no-fault" state means both people involved in the accident have to pay for their own damages with their own insurance.
Texas also has minimum insurance laws, which means you are required to have a certain amount of insurance. The least amount you can have is $30,000 per person to cover an injury to the body, $60,000 per accident to cover any injury to the bodies of two or more people and $25,000 per accident to cover any damage to the cars (which is called "property damage.") These amounts are known as "basic coverage," meaning it is the least amount you can have for your car.
If you don't have car insurance, there are other options. You can make a securities deposit with the state Comptroller in the amount of $55,000.
You can use cash or a cashier's check to deposit $55,000 in the same county where your car is registered, which must be made to the county judge.
You can get a surety bond, which is a "legal agreement" between you and two "sureties" who own property in the state. (The sureties promise to pay the right amount of money if you are in an accident. If you get this type of bond, it must be in the same amount as the state's "basic coverage.")
Last, you can have self-insurance. In order to qualify for a certificate of self-insurance, you must be able to prove you own a fleet of 25 cars or more.
It is very important to carry proof of insurance at all times. Insurance companies give you these cards when you pay for your policy. It is required by Texas state law to show proof of insurance when you register your car, renew your license plates and driver's license, get in an accident, have your car inspected or if a police officer asks to see them (this could happen if you get pulled over or are in a car accident.)
Insurance companies give you updated cards every time you renew your car insurance policy. You should keep one card in your wallet, and one card in your car's glove box. In the event of a car accident, call Justinian and Associates.