Texas’ minimum required coverage includes bodily injury liability of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident, and a property damage liability of $25,000 per accident.
The state operates under a modified comparative fault system, which assigns a percentage to each driver for their fault and responsibility in an accident.
Car insurance policies in Texas are relatively expensive, at an average of $1,779.
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Not only is Texas the largest of the continental states, but the Federal Highway Administration found it’s also the one with the most road miles (679,917, to be exact). This makes it the perfect place for scenic road trips, a burgeoning car culture, and, unfortunately, a lot of bad driving.
Frequently found as one the worst places to drive, Texas recently tied for fourth place with Florida and Nevada in a 2019 SmartAsset study of states with the worst drivers.
If you want to drive safely through the Lone Star State, you’ll need a good car insurance plan. Texans are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance, as well as make sure they comply with other state vehicle laws.
Below, we go over the Texas car insurance requirements and laws you need to know. Our team has also done extensive research to help you find the best auto insurance providers available.
You can jump right in and start comparing car insurance quotes by typing in your zip code:
In addition, it’s mandatory for drivers in Texas to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. In contrast to liability coverage, which protects the other parties, PIP covers you and your passengers. It pays for any medical expenses, 80 percent of your lost wages, and any household tasks you’re unable to do after the accident.
All Texas car insurance companies are required to offer PIP as part of their policies. If you choose to waive the coverage, you must submit an official written rejection letter. Although it’s not recommended, this option is available for those whose injuries are adequately covered by their health insurance.
There are also other types of coverage, such as collision, comprehensive, and car rental. Texas requires all providers to offer these to customers, as they are great additions for a full-coverage car insurance policy.
Alternatives to Texas Car Insurance
Car insurance is typically the easiest, most affordable way to prove financial responsibility for driving a car, but it’s not the only way. Like most other states, Texas allows for some alternatives to standard car insurance:
Surety bond meeting the same coverage as liability insurance from two individual sureties that own property in Texas.
$55,000 cash or securities deposited with the state comptroller’s office.
$55,000 cash or cashier’s check deposited with the judge of the county where your car is registered.
Certificate of self-insurance (only available to companies owning 25 or more vehicles).
Texas Auto Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
If you’ve been refused car insurance by at least two providers in the last 60 days, the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA) can help.
Under TAIPA, eligible applicants are assigned to an insurance company and provided with a minimum liability coverage policy. (Other types of coverage aren’t included.)
TAIPA was established for high-risk drivers, and its policies are often more expensive than most standard car insurance. However, the association offers the option to pay in smaller installments.
Are There Car Insurance Laws Specific to Texas?
In addition to having car insurance, you also need to carry proof of insurance. This is typically an ID card or certificate issued to you after purchasing a policy. Texas also recognizes digital insurance cards, which can be viewed and verified on an electronic device.
Make sure to have your proof of insurance with you whenever you drive. You will need to show it if requested by a police officer, after a car accident, or whenever registering or renewing your car or driver’s license. If caught without any auto insurance coverage, you can be fined up to $350 or more, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT).
Modified Comparative Fault System
Texas operates under a modified comparative fault system, which assigns a percentage to each driver for their fault and responsibility in an accident. This is considered one of the fairest systems, as it recognizes that not every accident is completely one party’s fault.
To determine who is at fault for an accident, an investigation is conducted by the authorities and insurance companies. There must be proof of a party’s fault before an insurance company will provide any coverage.
If one party is found to be 100-percent at fault for an accident, they will be responsible for covering any other party’s injuries and damages.
If more than one party is at fault, each party will be responsible for their percentage of injuries and damage. For example, if one party sustains damages of $10,000, but is found to be 30 percent responsible for a car accident, they will only receive a compensation of $7,000.
However, if one party is found to be 50 percent or more at fault, Texas applies a 51 Percent Bar Rule. This means any party who holds the majority of responsibility for an accident won’t receive any compensation.
New Texas Residents
Texas gives drivers moving from other states 30 days to have their vehicle inspected and registered with the state. You will also need to purchase the minimum coverage required and obtain a Texas driver’s license within 90 days.
Texas Safety Laws
Texas has added a number of laws to make their roads safer over the years. Some of the ones that have made the biggest impact are listed below.
Texting While Driving
In 2017, Texas enacted a law that prohibits anyone from sending or receiving texts, emails, and all other electronic messages while driving.
Furthermore, drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use wireless communication devices while driving. Anyone with a learner’s permit isn’t allowed to use a handheld cell phone during the first six months of driving.
If driving in a school zone, all drivers are banned from using handheld devices while driving.
Texas Unattended Vehicle Laws
Aside from road rules, Texas has laws that govern how to leave your car unattended. According to Texas Public Law, drivers are prohibited from leaving their car without removing the keys from the ignition, setting the parking brake, and if parked at an angle, turning the front wheels to the curb or side of the highway.
While Texas allows you to drive a car without a windshield, it doesn’t allow you to drive one without windshield wipers. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires all cars with windows to have windshield wipers working properly and in full contact with the glass.
Legal Car Modifications
In a state with a fast growing automotive industry, Texas is careful about any aftermarket modifications running around the state. The DPS regulates personal touches, including sound systems, frame heights, light, and windows.
Each city also has its specific driving laws. For example, it’s illegal to make a U-turn in Richardson, and you can’t drive within arms’ length of alcohol in Lubbock. Make sure you’re aware of any variances when driving across the state.
Why Is Car Insurance So Expensive in Texas?
The cost of car insurance in Texas leans toward the pricey side. According to Insure.com, it ranked as the tenth most expensive state to get car insurance, with an average policy price of $1,779, or 22 percent higher than the countrywide average of $1,457.
Prices rise when there are greater risks and more expenses taken on by the insurance provider. These two factors are especially volatile in a state as large as Texas, with a growing population that spends a significant time driving.
More cars and time spent on the road will likely lead to more accidents. Plus, with vehicles coming equipped with more high-tech features and materials, it’s only expected for car insurance policies to rise along with the repair and replacement costs.
What Determines Texas Car Insurance Rates?
Texas requires providers to charge reasonable rates for auto insurance coverage. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) shares what factors determine your rates:
Credit scores: Providers often look to a driver’s credit score as a factor in deciding what to charge for coverage. Although it’s not legal for them to base the price on credit score alone, they can use the information – how much money is owed, number of late payments, etc. – to help in their assessment.
Driving record and claims history: It makes sense for providers to raise rates when covering drivers with a history of accidents or traffic violations. Even just one violation can raise coverage premiums by hundreds of dollars, while many high-risk drivers may even have a hard time getting a car insurance plan.
Location: Expect insurance rates to rise in cities and heavily populated areas, which are known to have more accidents and incidents of theft. For example, U.S. News & World Report found that in large cities like Houston and Dallas, the average insurance rate is over $2,000, while smaller cities like El Paso and Plano are under $1,700.
Age: A driver’s age plays a big part in how reliable they appear to be on the road. Generally, those younger than 25 or older than 70 have to pay higher car insurance rates. Data from U.S. News & World Report shows 25-year-old drivers had an average coverage rate of $1,971.50, while 35-year-olds had a much lower rate average at $1,546.31.
How to Get The Cheapest Car Insurance Rates in Texas
To make sure you’re getting the cheapest car insurance rate possible, the TDI advises you to ask for any discounts available. Discounts are commonly offered for:
Maintaining a clean driving record.
Bundling more than one insurance policy.
Completing a defensive driving or driver education course.
Having airbags, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices in your car.
Another way to lower your car insurance rate is to check for other coverage options. Usage-based coverage, for example, is a way to lower rates if you drive short distances and observe safe habits on the road. Programs like Allstate’s Drivewise® and Progressive’s Snapshot® use tracking apps to observe drivers and reward them with lower rates.
To cut costs, you can also stick to only the coverage you need, which is usually liability and medical coverage. Older vehicles with decreased value may not be worth paying for collision and comprehensive coverage. Rather than adding to your insurance premiums, you may be better off paying for repairs or saving up for a new car.
Coverage options vary per car insurance company, and it’s best to look for one that offers decent discounts and has good customer reviews and ratings.
The 4 Best Car Insurance Providers in Texas
The first step to finding the right coverage and price is to start gathering quotes. Based on our industry research, we put together a list of the best car insurance providers in Texas.
GEICO: Best Overall Texas Car Insurance
No matter where you live in Texas, GEICO has car insurance coverage. The company offers a list of Texas insurance agents, with about 20 agents across eight regions.
GEICO has an A++ score from AM Best and an AA+ from Standard & Poor’s, as well as high customer satisfaction ratings from Brand Keys and Kanbay Research Institute. As for insuring your car in Texas, GEICO’s average coverage policy costs $1,236, per a study from U.S. News & World Report. They also offer good student discounts and reasonable rates (from $1,600 to $2,300) for drivers with traffic violations on their record.
Progressive: Best Online Car Insurance Experience
Progressive car insurance claims to cover over 1.8 million drivers in Texas, with a presence in every city from Abernathy to Zapata. You can get custom online quotes in six minutes and instant coverage, with downloadable and printable proof of insurance. The company also offers a Progressive app for payments and inquiries and 24/7 assistance through chat and phone.
Progressive’s average car insurance policy in Texas is $1,490.95, although this can rise after just one accident. However, the company does offer a personalized Snapshot® program, which has been noted to reward drivers with up to $145 in discounts.
State Farm: Cheapest Car Insurance Rates in Texas
State Farm boasts high ratings and the cheapest car insurance rates for Texas drivers. Thanks to the company’s 13 different discounts, including its proprietary Drive Safe & Save™ discount (which offers up to 30 percent savings for sharing your driving information) and Steer Clear® Safe Driver discount (for drivers under 25 with clean driving records). The average coverage policy from State Farm is $1,146.62, which rarely goes beyond $2,000 even with an accident, DUI violation, or low credit score.
Old American County Mutual: Best Local Car Insurance Provider
Old American County Mutual (OACM) was founded in Texas in 1946. It’s owned by its policyholders and managed by Old American Capital Corporation. Today, it has become one of the largest nonstandard, private passenger auto insurance providers in the state. Although it doesn’t come with online quotes or apps, OACM does have the benefit of offering a personalized interaction when purchasing insurance. This may also make it easier for high-risk drivers to explain their case and get personalized coverage.