The Texas Financial Responsibility Law
Every driver in Texas owes it to himself and the safety of other drivers on the road to know the specifics of the Texas Financial Responsibility Law. This law requires that any driver, in order to operate a vehicle legally in the Lone Star State, must be able to prove that they can pay for damages that occur in any accident they may cause. A convenient and easy way for drivers to do this is to purchase auto liability insurance in at least the minimum amounts of coverage required by the Texas Department of Insurance.
Liability insurance coverage in Texas must cover at least $30,000 for each person insured in a collision, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and at least $25,000 per accident toward property damage. This formula is often referred to as 30/60/25 liability coverage. Drivers, however, should be aware that liability insurance focuses solely on covering what it costs to replace or repair the other driver’s vehicle in addition to paying for the medical expenses of other people who are injured in an accident which is the driver’s fault. Liability insurance coverage does not cover expenses related to vehicle damage or replacement or medical treatment for the driver holding the policy.
What Do Texas Car Insurance Minimums Cover?
Texas car insurance minimums are designed to provide basic coverage, but often do not cover all of the expenses a driver can incur if he causes an automobile accident that damages another person’s property, vehicle or causes physical injuries to other parties. Conscientious drivers also invest in obtaining comprehensive and collision coverage which does cover the cost of repairing or replacing their own vehicle in addition to defraying any medical expenses for injuries they suffer in a car accident. Otherwise, a driver may find himself in the uncomfortable position of being financially responsible for the expenses incurred following an automobile accident that may well drive his family into bankruptcy. Compared to the cost of having to dip into his own pocket to cover the expenses that result from an accident that he may cause on Texas roads, the cost of adding comprehensive collision coverage to an driver’s basic liability policy is very small.
The Proof of Insurance Card
Drivers who purchase basic liability insurance from an insurance provider licensed to do business in the state of Texas are always provided with a proof-of-insurance card. This card plainly identifies the driver as someone who is complying with the state’s financial responsibility law. Drivers should keep this card with them whenever they are in a vehicle because they must produce it if requested to do so by a police officer, at the scene of an accident, whenever they register a car for the first time, renew its registration or obtain or renew a driver’s license and every time a driver gets his vehicle inspected.
The consequences can be severe for drivers who fail to have proof of insurance after being involved in an accident, whether or not they are at fault. Monetary fines range between $175 to $350 for a first offense for not complying with the Texas Financial Responsibility Law. Subsequent offenses increase the ante, resulting in fines of as much as $1,000, having the vehicle impounded by law enforcement, and suspension of a driver’s license, in addition to the expense of sustaining legal and court fees.
The state does its due diligence in keeping track of drivers who have failed to obtain the minimum amount of liability insurance required or who have let their current liability coverage lapse. State officials use a verification system called TexasSure to help reduce the number of uninsured drivers endangering everyone on Texas roads and highways, which is currently at 20 percent of the driving population.
Complying with the Texas car insurance minimums required can easily be affordable if drivers do some comparison shopping of several insurance carriers to see which company offers them the best value for the lowest rate. The best auto insurance coverage not only includes the required minimum levels of liability coverage for other drivers, but also includes medical payments, collision and comprehensive coverage for damage other than that caused by an accident such as theft or vandalism, personal injury protection, protection against uninsured/underinsured motorists, towing and labor, and reimbursement of rental fees for temporary transportation while the driver’s car is being repaired.