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If you are a Texas resident, you can get a car insurance discount just by taking a drug and alcohol awareness course. Read this article to learn more about Texas car insurance requirements, rates, discounts and programs.
Car Insurance Requirements
Texas requires you to purchase liability insurance to pay for the cost of property damage and injuries that you cause in an accident. The minimum limits of this insurance coverage are:
- $30,000 for each injured person
- $60,000 for injuries per incident
- $25,000 for property damage.
Other Car Insurance
Liability insurance is mandatory, but you can consider other optional types of car insurances to help protect your further.
- Uninsured/Underinsured drivers
- Towing and labor
- Collision – Insurance cover that helps pay for damages made to your car after an accident
- Comprehensive – Insurance cover that pays for damages resulting from all accident related events such as fire, floods etc.
NOTE: If you are financing your car through a loan or lease agreement, you will require both collision and comprehensive coverage for your car.
Car Insurance Alternatives
Purchasing liability insurance is the preferred way to cover your financial responsibility, but there are other options to consider:
- A surety bond from two people who own properties within Texas State with the same coverage limits as liability insurance
- $55,000 securities deposit or cash with the state Comptroller
- $55,000 cashier’s check deposit or cash with the county judge of the county where your car was registered
- Certificate of self-insurance.
Proof of Insurance in Texas
In Texas, you are required to carry proof of insurance (insurance card) all the time. This card can be obtained from your Texas car insurance provider. You must show this card when you:
- Are stooped by a police officer
- Register or renew your car’s registration
- When your car is involved in a car accident
- Apply or renew your driver’s license
- Have your car inspected.
TexasSure is an electronic program that helps various government agencies in Texas to verify whether drivers/owners within this state have car insurances. Government agencies that use TexasSure include:
- The Texas Department of Public Safety
- Vehicle registration offices
- Sherriff and police departments.
If your Texas car insurance has some issues, you will be sent one of the following notices:
- Unmatched notices – This is a notice that is sent from Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) if your car insurance does not match with your car
- Uninsured Notices – This is a notice sent from Texas Vehicle registration offices when they discover your registered car has no car insurance.
Violation Fines and Penalties
You must comply with Texas car insurance laws. Violating any of these laws will lead to heavy penalties as shown below:
- A fine of $175 – $350 for first offenders
- A fine of $350 – $1,000 for subsequent offences
- Suspension of your driver’s license for repeated offences
- Car impoundment.
Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association
Drivers with poor driving records may find it hard to get their cars insured through open market Texas car insurance companies. If you are denied for insurance because of your poor driving record, you can apply for one through Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA). To qualify for TAIPA insurance program, you must:
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- Be a resident of Texas or have a car registered in Texas
- Proof that more than two car insurance companies in Texas have turned down your application for car insurance within the last 2 months.
Through TAIPA insurance program, you will receive the minimum required coverage plus:
- $2,500 for Personal Injury Protection
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage of $30,000 for personal injury, $60,000 for injuries involving multiple people per incident and $25,000 for property damage.
TAIPA insurance program allows only annual policy purchases, which can be paid through a number of payment options:
- Up-front premium payment
- 8 Installment payments.
If you have received Texas car insurance through this program, and you completed at least three years without causing any accident, you can request your car insurance carrier to remove you from this program. If you leave TAIPA car insurance program, you will be able to enjoy lower rates for open market car insurance providers.
Car Insurance Complaints
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is the body that is responsible for handling car insurance complaints that you may have with your car insurance carrier. This body can help you deal with the following complaints:
- Claim and benefit disputes
- False advertising
- Suspected insurance fraud.
Texas Department of Insurance cannot assist you with the following:
- Giving legal advice
- Determining who was at fault when accidents occur
- Forcing car insurance providers to pay a disputed claim.
You can learn more about TDI’s services through their website.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
The Department of Transportation in Texas is the department that handles drug and alcohol related car accidents. If you are convicted by this body as a result of driving under the influence of alcohol or any drug, you are likely to pay higher car insurance rates. You can learn more about DWI on their website.
Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Discount
To help curb drug and alcohol related car accidents, all Texas car insurance companies are required to offer you a car insurance discount if you voluntarily take an approved drug and alcohol awareness course. This course is offered by Texas Education Agency (TEA). You will not be eligible for a car insurance discount if you have ever been convicted of drug or alcohol related car accident charges in the past 7 years.
Most Stolen Cars in Texas
If you are driving a car that is always targeted by thieves, you are likely to pay higher insurance rates. This is the 2013 list of the most stolen cars in Texas according to www.nicb.org:
- Ford Pickup (Full Size)
- Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
- Honda Accord and Honda Civic
- GMC Pickup (Full Size)
- Toyota Camry
- Chevrolet Tahoe
- Chevrolet Impala
- Ford Explorer.