What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Texas?

Driving without car insurance in TX is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine, suspension of your license, and vehicle impoundment. High-risk drivers pay 41% more for coverage.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 27, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Texas officials require all registered vehicle owners to satisfy the Texas Financial Responsibility Law
  • If you don’t maintain liability insurance limits of 30/60/25 in Texas, you’re not complying with the mandatory law
  • If you’re pulled over by law enforcement, you must be able to show your proof of insurance card at all times
  • The first time you’re stopped without insurance, you’ll be fined up to $350 and a surcharged $250 on your license
  • The fines for subsequent offenses are up to $1000 and there’s a risk of having your license revoked

Texas might be known as The Lone Star State, but it’s not alone in the sense that the state has mandatory auto insurance laws. If you live in the heart of Texas or anywhere within state lines, you’re required by law to purchase auto insurance on any car that you own.

As long as you buy your policy on the day the car becomes yours and you don’t let the policy lapse, you shouldn’t have any problems.

While buying insurance certainly isn’t as exciting as watching the beloved Cowboys win, it’s a necessary chore. You’ll need to purchase the right limits from a Texas insurer and then pay premium installments on-time every time so that there’s no risk of being uninsured.

Most experts recommend that policyholders pay their premiums in full whenever possible to avoid lapse at every turn.

If you do let your insurance lapse, you’ll join the population of uninsured motorists who are on the verge of being fined.

While only about 13.3 percent of the driving population in the state are uninsured, there’s a huge population of uninsured motorists in urban counties like Dallas and El Paso where the hundreds of thousands of drivers are uninsured in your backyard.

Use our FREE quote tool to make sure you’re not driving without insurance. If you join this population, here are the penalties you’ll face:

Penalties For Driving Without Car Insurance

Since one in six drivers throughout Texas is uninsured at any give time, the state legislature must draft rules that make assessing penalties on those who are caught mandatory.

Believe it or not, you don’t even have to be driving your vehicle to get caught cutting corners or letting your insurance lapse.

Since Texas has a TexasSure program, insurance can be verified in real-time and drivers can be fined without being stopped.

Being listed as someone who has let their insurance lapse in a database could land you in hot water where your registration is suspended and you’ll be fined by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

The penalties get even more serious when you’re pulled over by an officer and you don’t have insurance while you’re driving. Here are the penalties:

First Offense

Compared to the penalties assessed by other states, penalties for your first ‘no insurance’ conviction isn’t too harsh. In fact, many insured drivers feel like uninsured drivers get off too lightly even if it is their first infraction.

Here’s a list of the monetary penalties for driving without insurance in Texas:

  • A mandatory fine between $175 and $350
  • A $250 surcharge through the DMV to keep your driver’s license for the next 3 years

Second Offense

The fine gets much harsher the second time around. After you’ve been given the chance to correct your mistakes and you make the same mistake to drive without insurance again, you’ll have to answer in the court to a judge.

This judge will assess larger fines and long suspension periods because you’ve had a prior offense. Here are the penalties for subsequent offenses:

  • A mandatory fine between $350 and $1000
  • A surcharge of $250 per year for three years on your driver’s license
  • Suspension of driver license and vehicle registration unless the vehicle owner is able to prove they have maintained insurance through the second anniversary of the date of the conviction
  • Impoundment of the covered vehicle for 180 days with a fine of $15 per day

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What proof of insurance is accepted in Texas?

In Texas, you’re not just required to carry insurance, you’re also required to carry proof of insurance showing you have insurance.

The proof of insurance car shows who the policy was purchased by, the policy number, the policy period, and information on the covered vehicle.

You can either carry the physical card in the glove box or show proof of coverage electronically on your phone as long as the card was sent to you by your insurer.

Showing proof on a mobile phone became acceptable under the Transportation Code 601.053. With the introduction of this code, it makes complying with proof of insurance laws much easier.

How to Get Car Insurance in Texas

You’re only required to buy liability insurance in the state of Texas. That means that your policy pays when you’re liable for damages to property owned by others or for their medical expenses.

You don’t legally have to carry any coverage to pay for your medical expenses or your vehicle’s damage. Here’s what’s required by law:

  • $30,000 per person in Bodily Injury
  • $60,000 per accident in Bodily Injury
  • $25,000 per accident in Property Damage

If you currently have insurance in another state or you’re not happy with your current rates, be sure to switch carries seamlessly without any lapses.

The easiest way to find low-cost insurance for Texas coverage is to use an online rate comparison tool.

If you have access to quotes at your fingertips, there’s no reason why you should pay too much for coverage. Use our FREE quote tool now to find car insurance rates!

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