Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Texas
Drive without car insurance in Texas and you could be fined, have your license suspended and pay higher auto premiums down the road.
Get caught driving without insurance in Texas and the state may fine you, suspend your driver’s license and make you file an SR-22.
Driving without car insurance here can cause you to pay higher premiums when you go to buy a policy, too.
In this article, you’ll learn all about:
- Fines and penalties for driving without insurance in Texas
- Texas car insurance laws
- Getting cheap car insurance in Texas
Fines and other penalties for driving without car insurance in Texas
If you drive or even own a vehicle in Texas, you have to buy at least a minimum amount of liability car insurance for it. Or you need to prove financial responsibility in one of several other ways. Fail to meet either of these requirements and the state might fine or penalize you.
Texas law requires you to show proof of insurance or financial responsibility when:
- A police officer asks for it
- You’re in an accident
- You register your car or renew your registration
- You get or renew your driver’s license
- You have your car inspected
Here’s what happens if you can’t show proof in these situations.
Driving without insurance in Texas: first and second offenses
These are the penalties you face for driving uninsured in Texas, based on how many times you’re caught doing so.
|Number of times caught without insurance||Penalty|
|Second or later offense||
So, if you’re caught driving with no car insurance in Texas, the state can fine you up to $350 for a first offense. And it can fine you up to $1,000 for second and later offenses.
Those fines were even higher until recently — thanks to a $250 surcharge the state added to a driver’s annual license fee after getting a ticket for no insurance. This Texas surcharge was repealed on Sept. 1, 2019.
What if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Texas?
The state may suspend your driver’s license for up to two years if you’re involved in a car accident without insurance.
To reinstate your license in Texas, you must:
- Pay a $100 reinstatement fee
- Pay any other outstanding fees you owe the state
- File a SR-22 form with the Texas Department of Public Safety
You also might have to pay for any injuries or property damage you cause in an accident without car insurance.
This is true even if the other parties in the crash have uninsured motorist coverage. In this situation, their insurance companies may sue you for damages. That could result in the loss of your home, your car or even your future wages.
Filing an SR-22 after driving without car insurance in Texas
If you’re caught driving without car insurance two or more times in Texas, you may need to file an SR-22 for up to two years.
An SR-22 proves to the state you’re carrying at least the minimum amount of liability coverage it requires.
You don’t have to file the SR-22 form with the Texas Department of Public Safety yourself. Your insurance company files it on your behalf.
Not all insurers file SR-22 forms, so it may take you a while to find one. Also, when you find one, don’t be surprised if it charges you a fee of between $15 and $50 for the service.
Texas car insurance laws
Texas law requires drivers to carry at least some liability car insurance coverage.
Specifically, Texas drivers and car owners must carry at least:
- $30,000 of bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage per person
- $60,000 BIL coverage per accident
- $25,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident
You’ll sometimes see this called 30/60/25 coverage.
Don’t want to buy the state minimum amount of car insurance? Texas lets you prove financial responsibility in other ways, too. You can do so with a:
- Cash deposit of $55,000 with a county judge or the Texas Comptroller
- Surety bond of $55,000
- Self-insurance certificate from the Texas Department of Public Safety
If you want to buy the state minimum amount of auto coverage but no insurance company will sell it to you, check out the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA).
Get cheap car insurance in Texas
The best way to get cheap car insurance in Texas is to buy the minimum amount of liability coverage the state requires.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average monthly premium for Texas’ minimum auto insurance liability policy was $48 in 2016.
That’s a lot less than what you’ll pay in fines and fees if you get a no-insurance ticket in Texas.
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