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Car Insurance in Texas

Illustration of Car Insurance in Texas

Texas, The Lone Star State, has 17.4 million registered drivers but an astonishing 22 million registered cars. That’s 1.25 cars per driver (compare California, which has 0.55 cars per driver). That might mean, by owning a second vehicle, Texas drivers have an advantage. If they happen to get in a car accident, they have a spare. But this is hardly a good enough reason not to carry car insurance.

Car insurance is a requirement in the state of Texas. Before you get in the car and on the road, do your research. Check out the levels of general car insurance and the major types of car insurance. The following information will provide you with the basics of what you need to know to make an educated decision about buying affordable car insurance in Texas.

Get Low-Cost Texas Auto Insurance

Quick Facts

    • Average premiums for full coverage in Texas: $1,373
    • Average premiums for the legal minimum in Texas: $782
    • Insurance providers are allowed to offer discounts for good driving behaviors.
    • The legal minimum coverage is liability coverage with limits of 30/60/25.
    • Policies must include personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist protection (UM/UIM) unless rejected in writing by the policyholder.
    • Texas is an at-fault state with a modified comparative negligence system.
    • Texas roads are not the safest. In 2019 there was one reportable accident every minute and no deathless days the whole year.
    • 20% of its drivers are on the road without insurance.

How Much Is Car Insurance in Texas?

What is the Average Premium in Texas for Full Coverage Car Insurance?

In Texas, the average full coverage car insurance will cost you about $1373 annually, which is lower than the national average. Across the country, car insurance premiums average $1,738, which is considerably higher than Texas. Michigan and Louisiana are at the top of the list. Drivers in these states may pay more than $2,700 per year for their premiums.

How Much is it for Just the Minimum Required Car Insurance in Texas?

In Texas, the minimum car insurance premiums average $782 annually. This is approximately half of the average $1,738 cost for full coverage.

Half of the cost means you are not fully insured. Texas is an at-fault state, so don’t jump into the cheapest car insurance coverage available. At-fault drivers are responsible for reimbursing other drivers for their losses. Does it still sound like a good deal? Full coverage car insurance guarantees that you and the other driver are insured. Having the security of full coverage, which protects you should losses happen with both you and another driver, means you won’t be draining your savings to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

How do Rates Compare Across Major Cities in Texas?

Houston, Dallas, and Austin are heavily populated cities located in Texas, the second-largest state in the U.S.

Listed below is a snapshot of the average car insurance premium cost for these major locations, as well as other metropolitan areas in Texas.

City Population Average Rate
El Paso 679,813 $1,020
Fort Worth 874,401 $1,137
Laredo 259,151 $1,148
Austin 950,807 $1,188
Plano 287,064 $1,189
Arlington 395,477 $1,227
Corpus Christi 325,780 $1,240
San Antonio 1,508,083 $1,249
Dallas 1,330,612 $1,359
Houston 2,310,432 $1,454

Is There a Good Driver Discount for Car Insurance in Texas?

Although not mandated by law, Texas insurance providers do offer Good Driver Discounts. Drivers can earn these discounts based on their policies, the drivers themselves, and the type of vehicles they drive.

Since there is no standard discount and no legal requirements, you will need to contact your insurance provider to learn about their Good Driver Discount details. Discounts can range from as low as 2% up to 30% by achieving a certain status, some as easy as just paying your premiums on time. With a clean driving record, you could see discounts as high as 30%, higher than many other states.

Some possible qualifying requirements are:

    • Long-term customer loyalty
    • Clean driving record
    • Drivers over 50 who complete an approved defensive driving course. (Texas law requires insurers to provide this discount if the driving course is completed successfully.)
    • By being continuously insured
    • Paying premiums on time
    • Student drivers with “B” average grades or better
    • Driving a vehicle with safety features like airbags, anti-locking brakes, and daytime running lights.
    • Driving a vehicle with an anti-theft system, like LoJack or steering wheel locks.

Texas Car Insurance Laws

Texas car insurance laws were put into place to protect drivers and their vehicles. Additionally, the laws provide for fair pricing between the car insurance providers and you, the policyholder.

Mandating car insurance for all Texans protects drivers should an unexpected accident occur and promotes safe driving behavior. Some insurance companies provide significant discounts for safe driving, which is an excellent way to reduce the cost of your car insurance premiums.

It is important to follow the laws and keep your vehicles covered. There are drivers who violate Texas law and do not purchase insurance. By keeping yourself and other drivers in your household covered, you are protected against those who do not follow the insurance mandate. If an accident does happen, you are well equipped to cover yourself and others.

What are the Mandatory Car Insurance Requirements in Texas?

According to Texas’s Consumer Bill of Rights for auto insurance, the minimum required insurance for the State of Texas is proof that you can pay for the accident. However, most drivers choose to purchase liability insurance.

Liability insurance ensures that others who may be injured or property damage that may occur due to an accident are covered by the policy holder. Comprehensive or collision insurance alone does not provide this same compensation.

Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements for Private Passenger Vehicles

    • $30,000 for injury/death to one person
    • $60,000 for injury/death for all bodily injury claims
    • $25,000 for damage to property
    • Policies must include personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist protection (UM/UIM) unless you reject these coverages in writing.

What Factors Does Texas Law Allow in Determining Your Premiums?

To have control over how much you pay for your car insurance, it’s good practice to know the criteria that drive how car insurance rates are calculated.

Insurance providers use the same data points to determine the appropriate premium rate for you. Some of the most significant criteria are listed below. Texas insurance providers are allowed to base their calculations on the following factors.

    • Age
    • Education & occupation
    • Marital status
    • Zip code
    • Car type
    • Driving history
    • Gender
    • Credit score

When it comes to your credit score, insurance companies cannot deny you insurance based on your credit. If they use your credit score as an underwriting factor, they must also consider other factors in the list above.

Combined with shopping for car insurance quotes from multiple providers and by adjusting or improving any of the above factors, you can influence your annual premiums.

What is the Penalty for Driving Without Insurance in Texas?

Driving without insurance in Texas is against the law. Car owners are required to carry at least the minimum amount of insurance coverage. Going without car insurance carries penalties and possible fines. Also, you should always carry proof of insurance. Citations have been issued for driving without proof of insurance, which also carries a fine.

Should you be stopped for a traffic violation or are involved in an accident, have your proof of insurance ready. Not having that proof of coverage will result in tickets or fines, and if your car were to be towed and impounded as a result of an accident, there are additional costs to pick it up from the impound lot. If you don’t have proof of insurance with you after an accident or during a traffic stop, you can take the proof to court at a later date. The violation will be dismissed with a minimum fine of $260. It’s a good idea to carry your insurance card with you at all times.

Driving without car insurance will hit your life and wallet harder than driving without proof of insurance.

If you’re in an accident and don’t carry car insurance, even with being not-at-fault, Texas law requires insurance. You may not be cited for the accident, but you will be cited for breaking the insurance law. And without coverage, you have no insurance company representative to stand up on your behalf with the other driver’s insurance company. Collecting reimbursement on your own could take weeks, months, or may never happen at all.

There are additional details in the laws for those individuals who choose to drive uninsured. Texas operates by a modified comparative negligence system, which means the driver found to be 51% or more at-fault will receive no compensation from the others involved in the accident. This system was established to reduce counter-lawsuits and victim-blaming. Unlike states with pure comparative negligence systems, an at-fault driver can counter sue you with something as simple as citing that you were driving 5 mph over the speed limit and demanding that they be entitled to compensation from you.

Uninsured drivers who are the cause of accidents will find themselves dealing with more severe consequences. There will be fines to pay for not following the Texas car insurance laws, and because it is an at-fault-state, drivers are also held accountable for any injuries or damage. This applies to the drivers themselves and others involved in the accident, including hospital and ambulance expenses and property and car repair.

Those who are uninsured should consider bankruptcy at this stage. It may be the only way to stay afloat.

Your first offense driving without insurance will require you to pay a fine of $175–$350 and any penalty assessments. You will also have to pay an additional $250 annually for three years to renew your license; that’s an additional $750 on top of your fines.

Also, Texas requires that you file an SR-22 form with TxDOT. This form, the certificate of financial responsibility, verifies that you are carrying the minimum mandated amount of car insurance required by the state.

Should you incur any offenses within three years of the initial offense, fines range from $350–$1,000 and penalty assessments, including annual surcharges of $250 for three years. This second violation could total up to $1,750. Weight that risk with the fact that the average mandatory minimum for car insurance is only $782.

The high-cost fines and surcharges associated with driving without insurance are meant to discourage you from going uninsured. Consider the consequences before choosing to go without coverage. It makes good sense to, at the very least, carry the minimum insurance coverage.

Am I Required to Report an Accident in Texas to Authorities?

Absolutely yes. If you are involved in an accident, you must report it if you or someone else is injured, if someone has been killed due to the accident, or an automobile has been damaged beyond safe use. You must immediately contact the local municipal authority.

According to Texas law, a crash report must be made with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Although police officers at the scene of an accident are required to file a Peace Officer’s Crash Report or CR-3 form, if this happens, you are not required to file your own Crash Report (CR-2), known as the Blue Form. Note that as of 2019, TxDOT no longer retains CR-2 reports for the long term. They advise you to maintain a copy of your report and request a copy of the associated CR-3 report filed by the police.

Not reporting an accident can result in the suspension of your license.

You must notify TxDot within 10 days if no one has been injured, and there is more than $1,000 worth of damages to any property or the vehicles.

Most insurance providers ask that you report any accidents that may occur; however, there are no state laws that say you must inform your insurer. Check your policy to understand what is expected of you should you be involved in an accident, and then follow through with your insurance representative. Insurers who do not receive a required report within 24-48 hours may have the ability to cancel your policy.

In addition, contacting your insurer will help them be proactive in getting in front of any claims that have been filed as a result of the accident. They’re on your side. Provide as much information as possible as soon as possible. Insurance companies are also familiar with state accident paperwork and so may be of assistance when it’s time for you to fill out or file the forms.

What is Driving Like in Texas?

How Many Car Accidents Happen in Texas?

Regrettably, according to TxDOT, “there were no deathless days on Texas roadways in 2019.” Current statistics show 3,294 fatal accidents reported in 2019 (3,610 deaths occurred from those deadly accidents). However, there has been a reduction in these numbers. Fatalities have dropped from 3,727 in 2017 to where it is now, a 3% decrease. However, 2019 also saw around 563,000 car accidents, about one reportable accident per minute. Of that total, 256,338 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes.

Accidents by county:

County Accidents
Harris County 66,428
Dallas County 35,273
Bexar County 32,524
Tarrant County 23,433
Travis County 14,113

Sadly, these accidents might have been prevented. 2019 statistics show that 42.42% of the occupants did not have their seatbelts fastened. 50% of the drivers involved in accidents this same year had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) above the legal driving limit. You and other drivers across Texas can help keep our roads safe by not driving under the influence and by wearing seatbelts. Save a life; it could be yours.

What the numbers also prove is that if you are the victim of a car accident, it’s very possible you will survive, but you’ll survive with injuries. How does that look? What is the quality of life? You’re alive, but you could be living with chronic pain or disabilities. What does recovery look like? How is your work-life impacted? Your financial situation? And are you able to gain back what you’ve lost?

How Many Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists are in Texas?

Reports show that 20% of Texans are driving without car insurance. That means that out of the five people on the road around you, one of them does not have coverage. Purchasing Uninsured Motorist Insurance will protect you in the event that you are involved in an accident with that one driver who has no insurance.

FAQs About Texas Car Insurance

I am a Low-Income Driver. What can I do About Getting Cheap Car Insurance in Texas?

In Texas, if you’ve been rejected by two insurance providers within the last 60 days, you can apply for a policy with the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA). TAIPA liability policies cover only the minimum limits, which are currently 30/60/25 ($30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage per accident). Physical damage coverage is not available.

Can an Undocumented Worker get Car Insurance in Texas?

Not yet. Few states grant the ability to obtain a license without proof of legal status. Texas, as of 2020, does not give licenses to people without evidence of legal status. However, there has been legislation that, when passed, will allow driving privileges for residents without legal status.

Is it Possible to Get Affordable Car Insurance in Texas with a DUI Mark on my Record?

Yes. However, now having a DUI on your record, you are considered a high-risk driver and will need to do the research to find an insurer that carries high-risk policies. Your insurer will also need to file an SR-22 Proof of Insurance Certification with TxDOT on your behalf. If you should lapse on your premiums, the insurer will then be required to inform TxDOT, your insurance policy will be canceled, and your license and vehicle registration will be suspended.

Get a Texas Car Insurance Quote Today!

Picture of a Texas busy road during sunset with trees on its borders.
It’s more than just a legal requirement. Insurance is an inexpensive way to protect yourself from the tremendous risks of daily driving in Texas. Don’t let yourself be lassoed with considerable medical expenses and car repair bills that often result from collisions. Get started with a quote online, visit us at a Texas office near you, or call us at (800) 777-5620 for a quote.