Vehicle insurance isn’t an option regardless of which state you call home, the only difference is the mandatory insurance requirements. These can vary from state to state. Some states, like Florida, require all drivers with vehicles registered in the state to carry liability and personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. 

Other states like Texas only require a specific minimum in driver liability insurance. So, what are the mandatory car insurance requirements in Texas? The answer depends on if you’re driving a personal, commercial, or rideshare vehicle.

Mandatory Insurance Requirements for Texas Drivers

As mentioned earlier, insurance requirements are slightly different for drivers of personal, commercial, and rideshare vehicles. Commercial and rideshare vehicle owners typically have higher minimum insurance amounts than owners of personal-use cars, trucks, and SUVs.

Minimum Insurance Requirements for Personal Vehicles

Texas is both an at-fault and a comparative negligence state, and this affects minimum insurance requirements. In an at-fault state, accident victims automatically seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Comparative negligence means more than one driver can be responsible for an accident. 

For example, one driver runs a red light but the other vehicle is making an illegal turn. If an accident occurs, both drivers can be at fault for the accident. Instead of each driver turning to their insurance companies for compensation, a percentage of fault is assigned.

Each driver may be able to recover damages for the other’s insurance company. However, their compensation amounts are reduced by the percentage of blame. You also can’t be more than 50% responsible for the accident to file a claim for damages.

With that being said, what are the minimum insurance requirements for drivers of personal vehicles?

  • You must carry up to $30,000 in personal injury insurance. The insurance must also provide at least $60,000 in damages if two or more people are injured in the car accident
  • Property liability must cover at least $25,000 in damages per accident

Both of these requirements are typically included in a standard auto liability policy, which means you don’t need to take out an additional policy to meet the state’s minimum requirements. You can increase your coverage amounts. While this does give you more protection, it also typically means higher monthly premiums.

Minimum Insurance Requirements For Commercial Vehicles

When we’re talking about commercial vehicles, trucks typically come to mind but this can also include cargo vans. Since commercial trucks are often registered in another state, those insurance requirements typically take precedence over Texas law. However, federal law also states any commercial vehicle transporting goods within Texas must also meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements.

Vehicle weight plays a role in determining minimum insurance requirements. Commercial vehicles weighing 26,000 pounds or more and transporting household products must carry at least $500,000 in insurance. The minimum amount goes down to $300,000 if the vehicle weighs under 26,000 pounds. If the vehicle transporting household goods travels outside Texas, federal law kicks in. 

Any commercial vehicle weighing 10,001 pounds and more must have at least $750,000 in liability coverage. Vehicles transporting hazardous cargo must have a minimum insurance policy of at least $5,000,000.

Minimum Insurance Requirements for Rideshare Drivers

Rideshare drivers working for platforms like Uber and Lyft must also meet minimum insurance requirements. Yes, the platform does provide coverage but it’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure they’re meeting state requirements.

Since these drivers typically have passengers in their vehicles, insurance requirements are a little higher compared to personal-use cars and trucks. At a minimum, all rideshare drivers must have at least:

  • $50,000 in injury insurance per individual and $100,000 in injury coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage insurance per accident

If a rideshare driver doesn’t meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements they face the same penalties as personal use vehicle owners, which can include fines, vehicle impoundment, and the temporary loss of their driving privileges. There’s also a good chance the driver will also be banned from working for the rideshare platform.

Additional Types of Insurance to Consider

Even though the following types of auto insurance aren’t required under Texas law, it’s still a good idea to have a general idea of what’s available. Depending on your circumstances, you may decide to pick up additional coverage beyond your liability insurance.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Even though Texas law is clear when it comes to insurance requirements, not every driver has coverage. Uninsured motorists coverage is a policy add-on that helps ensure you’re not paying out of pocket for damages even if the accident is the other driver’s fault. 

Remember, Texas is an at-fault state which means you file a claim with the driver responsible for the accident insurance provider. Your auto insurance company isn’t responsible for paying for your damages.

Underinsured motorist coverage is similar, and this type of insurance picks up where the at-fault driver’s policy’s cap kicks in. For example, if your damages exceed the $30,000 cap, your underinsured policy helps cover the gap.

Collision Insurance

Since your insurance isn’t responsible for covering your damages if you’re the at-fault driver, you may be left with expensive vehicle repair or replacement costs. This is when your collision insurance steps in to cover these expenses.

Comprehensive Coverage

Auto accidents aren’t the only things that can cause vehicle damage. Texas weather is often unpredictable and can be severe. Hail can dent vehicles and strong storms can bring down power lines and tree branches, often on top of your vehicle. 

If your vehicle is damaged by something other than an auto accident, your comprehensive coverage will pay for the repairs.

Personal Injury Protection

This was briefly mentioned earlier and PIP (personal injury protection) insurance isn’t a requirement in Texas. However, it’s something to consider adding to your existing liability policy. 

PIP not only helps cover medical expenses for you and any passengers injured in an accident, but it can also cover other costs. These costs can include lost income and even child care. If a fatality occurs, PIP can cover most funeral costs.

Sometimes Minimum Insurance Requirements May Not Be Enough

While additional insurance coverages such as comprehensive or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) aren’t required by state law, they are worth considering. 

State-mandated insurance minimums frequently fall short of covering all potential damages, and without extra protection, you could find yourself responsible for significant out-of-pocket expenses. Adding these options to your policy provides a stronger safety net, ensuring you’re better prepared for the unexpected.

Published by HOLR Magazine.

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