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Texas Auto Insurance

Learn about auto insurance in your state.


  
  

If you moved to Texas from out-of state, you may have been surprised by how much less - or more - you were paying for auto insurance. Texas ranks 27th on the list of average cost of insurance. Drivers in crowded urban areas like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio pay huge premiums, because the frequency of car crashes is greater than in the suburbs. And, car thefts are highest in the Southwest, so an anti-theft or tracking device can help.

20% of the cars on the road in Texas are uninsured. So, the Texas Legislature created a motor vehicle insurance verification system, called TexasSure. It matches your vehicle identification number (VIN) to a database of Texas insurance policies. You must show an insurance ID card when you register your car or have an accident.

If you drive without insurance, you can be fined up to $350 for a first offense (plus court costs) and up to $1,000 (with a 2 year driver's license suspension) for repeat offenses.

We can help you find the right coverage when you get an instant quote on Texas car insurance from the nation's top companies. We partner with some of the most trusted names in the U.S. - and since they're all competing for your business - you save big.

Car Seat Laws

Children are undoubtedly the most precious cargo that any parent carries in their automobile. Nevertheless, improper usage of child restraint systems needlessly injures thousands of children on Texas's roads each year. Learn more about Texas's car seat law and see why it might not go far enough.

Don't put your child's safety in jeopardy by not knowing what the state laws are regarding child seats. You also want to be sure you are using child restraint systems properly or you risk the chance of your child getting injured should you have an accident.

  • Children must be secured in an appropriate child passenger restraint system (safety or booster seat) until they are at least 5 years old or over 36 inches.

Thus, under the Texas car seat law, children over 5 years old or 36 inches may ride in a vehicle using a standard adult safety belt. The problem with this according to advocates is that most children under 80 pounds are too small for an adult seat belt. Even the Texas Department of Public Safety's website indicates that the Texas car seat law sets the minimum safety standard that should be followed (http://www.txdps.state.tx.us). This is because adult seat belts can actually be dangerous to children over 5 years old because the belt cuts directly across their neck instead of snug across the center of their shoulder. This can lead to serious injury or even death in the event of an accident.

So what's a safety-conscious parent to do? Car seat safety advocates recommend that Texans follow one of the following guidelines:

  • The National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA) recommends that children over 40 pounds use a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 8 years old, unless they are 4'9" or taller.
  • The American Academy of Pediatricians goes a bit further and advocates for booster seat use until the child reaches 4'9" in height and is between 8 and 12 years of age.

If your child resists using a belt-positioning booster, experts recommend the following:

  • Avoid referring to the seat as a "car seat" or "baby seat." Instead, use the terms "booster seat", "safety seat" or "big boy/girl seat."
  • If your car's back seat has headrests, consider using a backless booster which looks less like a "real" car seat to most children.
  • Discuss car safety with your children and the reasons a booster keeps them safe.
  • Play up the benefits of a booster such as an improved view out the window, cup holders, and arm rests.

In the end, the Texas car seat law should be viewed as a starting point for any child's traveling safety. Parents should take into consideration their child`s unique height, weight, and other attributes that may impact their use of standard, adult seat belts. And if you have any doubts about what's the right thing to do, simply err on the side of caution. After all, you're protecting your most precious cargo.

Cell Phone Law

Concerned with the impact of cell phone use on driving safety, Texas lawmakers have enacted cell phone laws. See how these laws might impact you.

Over the past decade, cell phones have evolved from luxury items to absolute necessities for most on-the-go Americans. Consumers now use cell phones not only for business and personal calls but also to text message, take pictures, and even listen to their favorite music. The omnipresent nature of cell phones is not, however, without a price as the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration (NTHSA) estimates cell phone-related car accidents are on the rise with distracted drivers causing over 25% of all police-reported traffic accidents.

Concerned with the impact of cell phone use on driving safety, Texas lawmakers have enacted cell phone laws banning the following types of drivers from using cell phones while driving:

  • Intermediate license holders
  • Bus drivers when a passenger 17 years-old or younger is present

Despite rumors to the contrary, there is no state-wide ban on hand-held cell phone use in Texas nor are local jurisdictions authorized to regulate cell phone use. While Texas law may not limit hand-held cell phone use significantly, safety experts recommend that you follow these guidelines when using a cell phone in your car:

  • Use a hands-free phone
  • Keep your eyes on the road at all times
  • Never dial while driving
  • Avoid using your phone in bad weather or heavy traffic
  • Avoid stressful conversations while driving
  • Never look up phone numbers while driving

For the latest information on Texas cell phone laws as well as the cell phone laws of other states, please visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Mandatory Coverage

In Texas a driver must have a minimum coverage of $30,000 for bodily injury to one person, $60,000 for bodily injury sustained by two or more persons in a single accident, and $25,000 for property damage that results from one accident. Learn more about the minimum auto liability insurance limits in Texas.

Bodily injury limit: This is the maximum amount your insurance policy will pay when an insured person becomes legally liable for bodily injury or death caused by an insured person in an auto accident.

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Property damage limit: This is the maximum amount your insurance policy will pay when an insured person becomes legally liable for damage in an auto accident to the property of other people (e.g. light poles, fences, another vehicle, etc.).

Bodily Injury & Property Damage coverage:

$20,000 person/$40,000 accident/$15,000 property

$25,000 person/$50,000 accident/$25,000 property

$50,000 person/$100,000 accident/$50,000 property

$100,000 person/$300,000 accident/$50,000 property

$100,000 person/$300,000 accident/$100,000 property

$250,000 person/$500,000 accident/$100,000 property

In Texas a driver must have a minimum coverage of $30,000 for bodily injury to one person, $60,000 for bodily injury sustained by two or more persons in a single accident, and $25,000 for property damage that results from one accident. To adequately protect yourself, you may want to purchase much more than the minimum amount of coverage required for Texas.

Common Exclusions: Bodily injury and property damage coverage apply to injury and damage from normal use of the insured vehicle. Coverage is limited by your policy and there may be some circumstances in which coverage does not apply. For example, in some policies coverage does not apply to:

  1. Bodily injury or property damage arising out of the use of your vehicle while transporting people or property for a fee.
  2. Injury or damage caused by an intentional act.
  3. Injury or damage as a result of operating a vehicle owned by a person covered by your policy, where the vehicle is not listed on your policy.
  4. Injury or death of you or a family member.
  5. Property owned by, rented by or in the control of an insured person.

Please Note: This coverage definition is intended only as a guideline. All terms and coverage is defined solely by your policy.

Texas Government Auto Insurance Resources:

Consumer alerts, regulations and news about all types of insurance.

Information about vehicle registration and more.

Information about driver registration and more.


Sentinel Casualty Insurance
P. O. Box 551718
Davie, FL 33355
Tel: 877-408-9499 Fax: 877-408-9498
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