Texas is the second-largest state based on both population and land area. The state also boasts one of the largest highway networks in the nation. As of 2019, there were roughly 23.7 million registered drivers in the State of Texas. You’ll find many of these drivers in major cities and transportation hubs such as Houston, Dallas, and Austin.
As is the case with any state, Texas has its own laws and minimum requirements for car insurance. This page will break down auto insurance in the State of Texas. This includes how much it costs, important policies and rules, and an overview of the best car insurance companies in Texas.
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Average Texas Auto Insurance Rates
It’s smart to look at average rates if you’re looking to buy car insurance or switch providers. It’s a good way to see what others pay for coverage. Then, you can put it up against what you pay and decide if you’re getting the best deal on your auto insurance.
The following table displays average Texas auto insurance rates, by coverage type, versus the average for the rest of the country:
|Coverage||Texas Average||US Average|
|Price Per Month||$96.32||$89.20|
Average Full Coverage Rates
The graph below shows the change in average Texas car insurance rates from 2012 to 2019. Rates in Texas increased from $858 in 2012 to $1,143 in 2019. This was an increase of $285, or 33%.
Average Liability Coverage Rates
The following graph shows average liability car insurance rates in Texas from 2012 to 2019. Around 2016, liability coverage rates in Texas climbed over the national average and have only begun to drop in 2019 to about $650. This year-to-year increase could be the result of:
- More claims filed each year
- More drivers on the road
Average Collision Coverage Rates
Below is another graph that displays the average collision auto insurance rates in Texas from 2012 to 2019. Collision coverage prices have raised from nearly $350 in 2012 to a peak of just under $450 in 2018. This is an increase of roughly $100. Over the entire span, collision rates in Texas have been more than the US average. This could be due to the higher number of drivers in the state compared to the rest of the country.
Average Comprehensive Coverage Rates
The next graph depicts the change in average Texas comprehensive car insurance rates from 2012 to 2019. Over the eight years, Texans have seen much higher comprehensive prices than the rest of the country. Rates have been increasing each year, with a high of about $280 in 2019 compared to the US average of roughly $175 in the same year. The nearly $100 difference is likely due to recent natural disasters, such as hurricanes, that Texas has faced.
Texas Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements
Like most other states, Texas has unique minimum car insurance requirements. Residents must meet these requirements before they can legally get on the road. Here are the basic auto coverage requirements in Texas:
Texas requires minimum liability auto insurance coverage limits of at least:
- $30,000 of bodily injury liability (BIL) per person
- $60,000 of bodily injury liability (BIL) per accident
- $25,000 of property damage liability (PDL) per accident
You may see minimum requirements written in shorthand form: “30/60/25.” It’s not uncommon to see the shorthand form from car insurance companies or on state websites.
If you meet the state’s minimum requirements, you’ll have basic car insurance. However, the auto insurance industry typically recommends bodily injury limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.
Find the Best Car Insurance in Texas
Compare quotes among leading car insurance companies to get better coverage and lower rates.
Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM and UIM) coverage protects you if you get into an accident with another driver who either has no auto coverage or doesn’t have enough. Texas law requires that your insurance company offer both coverages when selling you a policy. You have the option of refusing this coverage in writing.
Before refusing UM/UIM, be aware that as many as 20% of Texas drivers are uninsured, per the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection (PIP) takes care of any medical expenses that you or your passengers have after an accident. It also covers costs such as lost wages, rehab bills, and funeral costs in the aftermath of a car wreck. Texas includes PIP by default in every auto insurance policy. If you don’t want it, you’ll have to notify your insurer in writing.
You have the option of purchasing comprehensive, collision, medical payments, and other types of coverage. But the State of Texas requires none of them for you to comply with the law.
Valid Proof of Insurance
Texas drivers must always keep proof of insurance with them. After an accident, drivers must provide proof of insurance to law enforcement or other parties involved in the incident. Your proof of motor vehicle liability insurance must include:
- The name of your insurance company
- Policy number
- Policy effective period
- Name and address of each insured driver
- Policy limits or a statement that the policy meets the required minimum amounts of liability auto insurance
- Make and model of each insured vehicle
Texas recently passed a law allowing digital formats as proof of insurance on portable electronic devices. Also, note that Texas requires proof of insurance for each vehicle owned before issuing a driver’s license.
Valid Proof of Financial Responsibility
There may be some situations where you might not want to purchase standard car insurance. But how does this work if the state requires drivers to buy a minimum amount of coverage? Well, you’d have to prove to the State of Texas that you can handle paying for any damages that occur in an accident.
Texas law allows drivers not wanting to purchase auto insurance other options for satisfying the state’s financial responsibility requirement. To do this, you must submit proof of financial responsibility (FR) to the state. This usually comes in the form of surety bonds or a deposit you make with the state:
Texas drivers can file a bond with the state that proves FR. You can do this in the same amounts and under the same circumstances required for a vehicle motor insurance policy.
You can also deposit $55,000 in cash or securities with the state comptroller. Another option is to deposit $55,000 in cash or a cashier’s check with the county judge.
What Is TexasSure?
TexasSure is a state program intended to lower the number of uninsured motorists. It does this by checking vehicle registrations against auto insurer databases. If the system detects a lack of coverage on a vehicle, the owner must provide proof of insurance.
That’s why Texas drivers need to ensure their vehicle identification number (VIN) is correct on their policies and car registration. If the VINs don’t match for some reason, the system will treat that as non-compliance.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
You’ll face severe consequences if the police can’t confirm your auto insurance coverage. Under Texas state law, failure to maintain motor vehicle liability coverage is a misdemeanor punishable by:
- A fine of at least $175 and no more than $350
- Loss of driver’s license until you show valid proof of insurance
If you can’t afford the fines for not having car insurance, the state can reduce fines below $175 for first-time offenders.
Second and Subsequent Offenses
- A fine of at least $350, but no more than $1000
- Loss of driver’s license
- Vehicle registration canceled
- Car impounded for 180 days
- 2-year SR-22 requirement
Driving without car insurance is a serious offense in Texas. After second or subsequent violations for driving without insurance, you’ll lose your car, registration, and driver’s license until you file an SR-22 form with the state. This form proves that you have the mandatory level of auto insurance. You must maintain an SR-22 for two years after your second or subsequent conviction.
It’s important to note that the state might drop all your charges for driving without auto insurance if you can prove that you had coverage at the time of the citation.
Best Car Insurance Companies in Texas
When it comes to car insurance, it’s critical to find a great company that’ll best suit your needs. The best companies typically feature excellent customer service, easy tools for filing claims, opportunities for discounts, and, of course, great rates.
Top Companies by Market Share
A good way to narrow down the best companies in Texas is by looking at the top ten auto insurers in terms of market share. The following is a list from 2020 of the top ten car insurance companies by market share in Texas:
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written||Market Share|
|8||Consumers County Mutual||$489,483,130||2.17%|
|9||Garrison Property and Casualty||$365,709,805||1.62%|
|10||Home State County Mutual||$364,627,382||1.62%|
Top Companies by J.D. Power Rating
Another effective method of finding the best auto insurers in any given state is by looking at each company’s J.D. Power ranking. Each year, J.D. Power ranks the top insurers by looking at their customer satisfaction rating.
The table below lists J.D. Power’s top insurers in Texas from its 2021 auto insurance study (note: USAA didn’t fit the criteria of the study and isn’t on this list):
|Rank||Company||Customer Satisfaction Score (Out of 1,000)|
|1||Texas Farm Bureau||850|
|8||Auto Club of Southern California||810|
Texas Auto Insurance Laws
Car insurance laws tend to vary by state. These are some of the most important laws that affect insurance in Texas:
No-Fault or Fault
Texas is a fault state. This means that if you cause an accident, you must pay for any damages or injuries that occur.
Texas isn’t a no-fault state. No-fault states require drivers to buy car insurance that pays for medical bills and other injury expenses after an accident, no matter who’s at fault. This type of insurance is usually personal injury protection (PIP).
As was mentioned earlier, Texas includes PIP on your insurance policy by default, and it’ll be up to you whether you want to keep it or decline it in writing.
In Texas, cars become a total loss if they get into an accident and the repair costs exceed the car’s actual cash value (ACV). Your insurance carrier can declare your car a total loss with less damage. But when damages reach 100% of the adjusted cost of repair, your car must receive a salvage title.
If your car gets totaled, your insurer will give you a payout equal to your car’s value at the time of the accident. When this happens to a new car, owners sometimes owe more than its value. Gap insurance exists to cover this difference.
Salvage and Rebuilt Titles
A salvage title car refers to a vehicle that an insurance company has declared a total loss. Since they’re so badly damaged, salvages are undriveable and aren’t legal to drive on public roads in Texas. Cars with salvage titles must carry a brand indicating the reason for salvage.
You also typically can’t get insurance if you own salvage title. Insurance companies don’t often like to insure a car that’s taken so much damage that the state deems it unworthy to drive.
The only way to legally drive a salvage car again is to take the proper steps to make it a rebuilt title. A rebuilt title car is a salvage that’s been restored to a drivable state.
How to Get a Rebuilt Salvage Title in Texas
To change a salvage motor vehicle into a rebuilt title in Texas, you’ll have to go through a few steps. First, you’ll need to get your car the necessary repairs to become drivable again. Then, you must complete a vehicle inspection with your county. Finally, you’ll have to apply for a rebuilt title. Keep in mind that you must pay a fee to apply for a rebuilt title.
To file for a rebuilt title in Texas, you must submit the following to your county tax office, per the DMV:
- A filled out title/registration application (Form 130-U)
- A filled out rebuilt title statement form that lists the repairs you made (Form VTR-61)
- A copy of your valid driver’s license
- Proof of auto insurance
- Proof of vehicle inspection
Insuring Cars with Rebuilt Titles in Texas
After your rebuilt salvage car is repaired and inspected, it must be insured before you can drive it. You should have little trouble finding an insurance policy for a rebuilt title in Texas. But many insurers won’t offer you full coverage. In many cases, the most insurance you’ll be able to get for a rebuilt car is basic liability coverage. This is largely because a rebuilt title car used to be a total loss. This can pose some risk in the eyes of insurance companies, even though the car is safe to drive.
Insurance for rebuilt titles also usually costs more than coverage for a clean title. For lower rebuilt title car insurance rates, it may be a good idea to compare quotes between providers. Some companies may just charge less than others, and could offer better discount opportunities.
Filing a Claim
You’ll probably find yourself needing to file a claim with your insurance company if you get into a car crash. This is especially the case if your car took a lot of damage or if you got injured. It’s a good idea to file a claim as soon as possible after an accident. If you wait too long, you may not remember all the details or may not even get help from your insurer.
What to Expect After Filing an Insurance Claim in Texas
Texas requires auto insurance companies to notify you that they got your claim within 15 days. After that, you can expect an adjuster to assess the damage to your vehicle.
Once your provider considers the damage your car has taken and the information you gave them about the accident, they must notify you within 15 days whether they’ll accept or deny your claim (if they say no, it must be in writing). If your company accepts your claim, they must send you money within five business days.
Car insurance companies look at many details and factors when they decide your insurance premium. One of these factors is your credit history. Insurance providers use your credit or FICO score because it might reveal your dependability or risk potential as both a customer and a driver. If you have bad credit, they may increase your rates just in case you end up filing lots of claims and costing them money.
Some states, such as Hawaii, don’t allow auto insurance carriers to use your credit score as a rate factor. Texas allows companies to use your credit history to determine how much you pay for car insurance. Companies can also cite your credit score as a reason to cancel your policy or deny you one.
Your insurer can cancel your policy within 60 days for any reason in Texas unless the reason goes against any current law. If your provider wants to cancel your policy, they must give you at least ten days of notice.
Keep in mind that your insurance company will refund you for the rest of your policy in the case of cancellation. This is the case whether you cancel your insurance or if your insurer does.
Texas Drunk Driving Laws
Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a severe offense in Texas. In the State of Texas, you can get a DUI conviction if you’re caught driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or if you’ve used any drugs before operating a vehicle. If you get a DUI, you’ll pay a hefty fine, spend at least three days in jail, and will temporarily lose your driver’s license.
Your car insurance provider will also likely label you as a high-risk driver and significantly increase your rates. In some cases, your insurer could even cancel your policy or decide not to renew it. It could be hard to get car insurance as a high-risk driver. Many people must turn to non-standard insurance companies or state programs to find auto coverage.
Below are the penalties for getting a DUI in Texas:
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- Up to six months in jail. Three days of which are mandatory.
- Ten-day impoundment of your car
- License suspension for up to one year
- Up to $4,000 in fines
- A month to a year in jail
- Ten-day impoundment of your car
- License suspension for up to two years
- A $10,000 fine
- Two to ten years in prison
- Ten-day impoundment of your car
- License suspension for up to two years
You’ll need to get an SR-22 certificate if you get a DUI/DWI conviction in Texas. An SR-22 is a form that certifies that you have the minimum amount of liability insurance required by the state. You can often get an SR-22 form through your insurance company. They can also help you file the form with your state. Be aware, however, that not every insurer will offer an SR-22.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) says that you must have an SR-22 for two years after your previous conviction, with no lapses in coverage. A lapse happens when you go any period without auto insurance.
Texas Driver’s License Points System
Texas doesn’t use a driver’s license points system to assess traffic violations and convictions. Even so, the DPS records each moving violation and conviction. They also keep track of the accidents you cause. You may not get any specific points on your record, but the DMV may consider these incidents when you renew your license.
Car insurance companies also keep track of violations and accidents on your driving record. If they see tickets or accidents on your record, your rates will go up. This is because your driving record is one of the main factors that insurers use to decide how much to charge you for auto insurance.
Most Popular Cars in Texas
Every state has a varying set of most popular cars. These cars are the ones that have sold the most, and that many people want to buy. But they can also be the most stolen because of their popularity. Below are the most popular cars in Texas in 2021:
- Ford F-Series
- Chevrolet Silverado
- Ram 1500/2500/3500
- GMC Sierra
- Toyota RAV4
Most Stolen Cars in Texas
The type of car you drive is one of the many factors that insurance companies look at when they pick your rates. Your insurer might think that you’re more likely to file a claim if you drive a car with a high chance of being stolen. Here were the top ten most stolen cars in Texas in 2020, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB):
- 2018 Chevrolet Pick-Up (Full Size)
- 2006 Ford Pick-Up (Full Size)
- 2018 GMC Pick-Up (Full Size)
- 2005 Dodge Pick-Up (Full Size)
- 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe
- 2002 Honda Accord
- 2015 Nissan Altima
- 2008 Toyota Camry
- 2019 Ram Pick-Up (Full Size)
- 2000 Honda Civic