Texas law requires people who drive in Texas to pay for the accidents they cause. Most drivers do this by buying automobile liability insurance. Liability insurance pays to repair or replace the other driver’s car and pays other people’s medical expenses when you are at fault in an accident. It does not pay to repair or replace your car or to treat your injuries.
You must have at least the minimum amount of liability coverage required by the state’s financial responsibility law. The current minimum liability limits are $ 25,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $ 50,000 per accident, and $ 25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 25/50/25 coverage. The limits will increase on January 1, 2011, to $ 30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $ 60,000 per accident, and $ 25,000 for property damage per accident.
Because of car prices and the high cost of medical care, the minimum amounts might not be enough if you cause an accident. If your liability limits are too low to pay for all of the other driver’s costs, the driver may sue you to collect the difference. To protect yourself financially, consider buying more than the basic limits.
Proof of Financial Responsibility
When you buy an auto policy, your insurance company will send you a proof-of-insurance card. You must show proof of insurance when you:
- Are asked for it by a law enforcement officer
- Have an accident
- Register your car or renew its registration
- Obtain or renew your driver’s license
- Get your car inspected.
There are penalties for violating the state’s financial responsibility laws. A first conviction will result in a fine between $ 175 and $ 350. Subsequent convictions could result in fines of $ 350 to $ 1,000, suspension of your driver’s license, and impoundment of your automobile.
If you don’t have a valid driver’s license, the penalties for violating the state’s financial responsibility laws increase to a fine not to exceed $ 2,000, 180 days in jail, or both. The penalty increases to a fine not to exceed $ 4,000, one year in jail, or both if you cause a car accident that results in serious injury or death.