Auto insurance is mandatory for all drivers under Texas law. This requirement is intended to ensure that accident victims will have access to the financial resources they need in order to recover. However, while Texas law requires all drivers to be insured, the state’s mandatory insurance requirements are relatively minimal. As a result, it is a good idea to purchase certain types of optional coverage as well; and, when you are involved in an accident, it is important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover the full compensation you deserve.
What Auto Insurance is Required in Texas?
Under Texas law, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance. As the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) explains: “Liability coverage pays to repair the other driver’s car if you caused the accident. It also pays the other driver’s and his or her passenger’s medical bills and some other expenses.” Liability insurance provides fault-based coverage. This means that in order to file a claim after an accident, you must be able to prove that the insured driver was negligent in causing the collision.
By law, all drivers in Texas are required to carry liability insurance with “30/60/35 coverage.” This means that the policy must cover:
- $30,000 in compensation for personal injuries per person;
- $60,000 in compensation for personal injuries per accident; and,
- $25,000 in compensation for property damage per accident.
Additionally, in Texas, all drivers are required to carry proof of insurance. If you get pulled over or are involved in an accident, you must be able to provide documentation to prove that you are insured as required by law.
Otherwise, Texas law does not impose any additional requirements with regard to auto insurance for most drivers (there are additional requirements for commercial, rideshare, and delivery drivers). As long as a driver has 30/60/25 coverage, then he or she can legally drive.
What Auto Insurance is Optional in Texas?
While no other types of auto insurance are required in Texas, several other types of insurance are available, and purchasing additional coverage is a good idea. Purchasing additional coverage not only helps to ensure that your coverage will be adequate in the event that you cause an accident, but it can also help ensure that you will have adequate access to compensation in the event that you are seriously injured in a collision. Optional types of auto insurance in Texas include:
- Medical Payments (MedPay) or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage – MedPay and PIP provide coverage for your (and your passengers’) medical bills regardless of who is at fault in a collision. PIP also provides coverage for lost income and certain non-medical expenses.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage – UIM coverage protects you in the event that you are seriously injured in an accident and the at-fault driver either (i) does not have insurance, or (ii) does not have enough insurance to fully cover your losses.
- Collision Coverage – Collision coverage provides protection in the event that your vehicle is damaged in a collision and you do not have a claim under another driver’s liability policy.
- Comprehensive Coverage – Comprehensive coverage provides protection in the event that your vehicle is damaged by fire, flood, theft, or a run-in with an animal.
- Towing and Rental Reimbursement Coverage – These policies cover the cost of towing and getting a rental car if your vehicle is undrivable, and they usually only cost about $100 (or less) per year.
Although PIP and UIM coverage is optional under Texas law, they are automatically included in all auto insurance policies issued in the state. As a result, unless you have expressly opted out of paying for PIP and UIM, you should have these coverages under your policy.
What Are Your Legal Rights as an Insured Driver in Texas?
As an insured driver in Texas, you have the right to take full advantage of your insurance coverage in the event that your vehicle is damaged or you are injured in an accident. You also have the right to seek fault-based coverage under the other driver’s policy if you are involved in a collision (technically, this is true regardless of whether or not you are insured). Regardless of the policy (or policies) under which you seek coverage, you have the right to have your claim handled in good faith; and, if an insurance company engages in bad faith insurance practices, you are entitled to additional compensation under Texas law.
Additionally, all drivers in Texas are protected by the state’s Consumer Bill of Rights for Personal Automobile Insurance. Under this document, your rights include:
- The right not to be misled with false or deceptive statements regarding the coverage that is available to you;
- The right to opt-out of paying for PIP and UIM coverage should you choose to do so;
- The right to purchase the 30/60/25 coverage required by law through the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA) if you have been denied overage by two or more insurance companies;
- The right to pay your auto insurance premiums in installments (although you may be charged an additional fee);
- The right to a written explanation if you are denied coverage for any claim (including, “the precise incidents, circumstances, or risk factors that disqualified you”);
- The right not to have your coverage canceled after 60 days unless you fail to pay your premiums, file a fraudulent claim, or lose your driving privileges;
- The right to receive at least 10 days’ advance notice of cancellation;
- The right to choose the repair shop that works on your vehicle, and the right to choose the replacement parts that are installed;
- The right to reject any settlement offer you receive when you file a claim, and the right to go to mediation, arbitration, or court to seek full coverage; and,
- The right to be treated equally and not face discrimination on the basis of your race, color, religion, or national origin.
Do You Have an Insurance Claim After an Auto Accident in Texas?
If you have been involved in an accident and need help understanding your right to coverage under your or the other driver’s insurance policy, our injury lawyer encourages you to contact us for a free consultation. To speak with our experienced Plano, TX auto accident lawyers in confidence, please call 972-380-4444 or request an appointment online today.