Up to 25% of drivers in Texas don’t have car insurance or are under-insured, meaning they fail to meet the state required minimum for liability coverage. As of 2015, Texas requires the following insurance amounts – carry less insurance and you could incur some hefty fines and penalties.
- $25,000 Property Damage
- $30,000 Personal Injury (per person)
- $60,000 Personal Injury (per accident)
Penalties for First Time Offenders in Texas
Getting caught driving without insurance in Texas even once is pretty expensive. If you are pulled over and don’t have car insurance, you will be facing a fine of up to $350, with a minimum amount of $175. The extra costs won’t stop there, though. The next time you head to the DMV to renew your driver’s license; you’ll be hit with a hefty surcharge for driving an uninsured vehicle. Expect to hand over another $250 per year for your driver’s license for the next three years, making your DMV experience even more unpleasant than usual.
The bad news doesn’t end at the DMV for first time offenders. You may also find that the car insurance rates you are offered after a first offense are higher than normal as well. Even the discounts you get from taking a Texas defensive driving course or for a safe driving record won’t make a dent in the extra fees you’ll have to hand over to most car insurers. Between the initial ticket and penalties and the long term consequences, driving without insurance in Texas will cost you between $925 and $1100 for a first offense.
Penalties for Repeat Offenders in Texas
The state of Texas is not known for taking a soft approach to the law, and car insurance laws are no exception. People who repeatedly violate state car insurance laws will find themselves in financial and legal trouble. If you are caught a second time driving without insurance, you can expect to be fined from $500 to $1,000; you’ll also face the $250 licensing fees each year as well.
Fines won’t be the only problem for those caught driving in Texas without car insurance, though. Depending on the officer at the scene, your car may be immediately impounded, leaving you without transportation – and with additional impound fees. If the officer who pulls you over chooses not to impound your car, the court still has the option, depending on where you have been charged.
While the $250 per year fee to renew your license sounds like a high price to pay, the cost of having your license revoked is even higher. From having to find alternative transportation to get to work or school to paying a reinstatement fee and any legal costs, a license revocation is an expensive and life changing penalty that could be imposed as early as your second time driving without insurance.
Having a Collision without Insurance in Texas
If you are in an accident in Texas and don’t have insurance, you will be liable for all of the costs involved if you are found to be at fault. From personal injury to property damage, the bill will be yours to pay. A lack of insurance can even damage your own chances of winning a personal injury award if the other driver is at fault, because you drove without regard to your personal safety and legal responsibilities.
Driving without insurance in Texas is a costly proposition, and even a single lapse can cost more than an entire year’s worth of car insurance. Even if insurance seems expensive, the penalties far outweigh the risk of breaking the law. If insurance costs are a concern, shop at least three companies to get the best rates and take a Texas defensive driving course to reduce your premiums.
The State of Texas Education Agency (TEA) approved and licenses Texas defensive driving programs and traffic schools. Whether you want to save money on your car insurance or have recently received a moving violation, a defensive driving course can help.
Most Texas traffic courts will allow you to complete a defensive driving course and can dismiss the ticket and eliminate any points. Lower points on your driving record means lower insurance costs, so a course is well worth the time. Even if you are not required to take a course and have not received a ticket, a defensive driving program can earn you a safe driver discount on your car insurance. Either way, you’ll learn some lessons that can keep you safe on the road and reduce your chances of getting another ticket in Texas.