In the Lone Star State, all motorists are obligated to pay for damages that they cause while behind the wheel. To help ensure that residents are able to do so, state legislators passed financial responsibility laws that require vehicle owners to meet specific requirements before driving. Residents need to buy bodily injury and property damage liability with limits of at least $30,000 for bodily injury to a single person, $60,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. To better avoid heavy financial losses after an accident, residents may want to consider investing in auto protection that exceeds the mandated coverages.
Auto liability is designed to pay only for other people’s damages that the policyholder is responsible for. This includes medical expenses and damages to another person’s property if the policyholder is found to be at fault for an accident. If these expenses exceed the policy threshold, the policyholder may still be responsible for any remaining costs. To help prevent this from happening, motorists are encouraged to consider getting coverage that exceeds the minimums required by the state. Luckily, drivers can often increase their liability threshold for only a few extra premium dollars.
Because nearly 1 in 5 motorists in TX are uninsured, residents are urged to accept Texas auto insurance that includes uninsured/underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM). By law, insurers must offer UM/UIM, but vehicle owners have the option of rejecting this coverage in writing. Choosing to retain this optional protection, however, can help drivers avoid costly hospital bills after an accident caused by a hit-and-run, uninsured, or underinsured driver.
Additional Texas Auto Insurance Coverages
Although liability insurance is essential, it does not cover damages to the policyholder’s own vehicle. To be better protected against these potential costs, motorists should consider purchasing comprehensive and collision coverage. The collision portion of this optional protection pays for damages caused by an accident involving another automobile, while the comprehensive portion covers an extensive set of situations. This includes damage from fire, flooding, hail, falling objects, vandalism, theft, and more.
When car owners buy comprehensive and collision coverage, they are usually required to choose a deductible. This is the amount of money that the policyholder agrees to contribute to repair costs before coverage kicks in. Choosing to contribute a greater amount can usually lead to a lower premium.
But no matter the level of automobile protection that a resident buys, it is essential to carry proof of financial responsibility. If a TX resident does not follow these mandated financial responsibility laws, the Texas Department of Insurance states that offending drivers could face fines ranging from $175 to $350 for first time offenders, $350 to $1,000 fines for subsequent offenses, and the possibility of losing one’s driver’s license. To reduce the number of uninsured motorists in the Lone Star State, legislators created the TexasSure program, which is designed to electronically cross-reference insurance records. This allows law enforcement officers and state regulators to quickly determine whether or not someone is sufficiently insured.