Driving without insurance can be a tempting way to save money. After all, car insurance in Texas can average hundreds of dollars per month depending on the amount of coverage you hold, among other factors. But some risks come along with driving with no insurance and they go far beyond legal ramifications.
There can be a lot of misconceptions about what happens when driving with no insurance, and we are here to set the record straight. Learn more about how you can protect yourself against the consequences of driving without insurance in Texas while not breaking the budget in the process.
Is It Illegal To Drive Without Insurance in Texas?
Yes, it’s illegal to drive without insurance in Texas. In the entirety of the United States, only New Hampshire and Virginia don’t require some sort of auto insurance for drivers, meaning virtually no matter where you drive, you’re going to legally need coverage.
While there are many different types of coverage, Texas liability insurance is required by law for all drivers. Liability coverage is used to protect others who are not at fault in the event of an accident but have suffered a loss in regards to property damage, bodily injury, or both.
Not only is liability coverage a requirement, but there is also a minimum amount of coverage you’ll need to acquire. Known as 30/60/25, these coverage limits set the requirements of protection drivers must carry. Let’s break it down:
- $30,000 of Bodily Injury Liability coverage per person
- $60,000 of Bodily Injury Liability coverage per accident
- $25,000 of Property Damage Liability coverage per accident
No matter how you look at it, you’re going to need car insurance. Holding this level of coverage can keep you protected as well as out of legal trouble. Minimal coverage can be a budget-friendly way to avoid unnecessary fines, however, there are coverage risks that persist without additional coverages.
What Is the Fine for Driving Without Insurance in Texas?
The fine for driving without insurance in Texas will vary depending on how many times you’ve been reprimanded for doing so. Drivers with more infractions will pay more and have stiffer punishments than those who are first-time offenders, however, you’ll see that no matter where you fall on the scale, the penalty for driving without insurance can cost you mightily.
Fines for First-Time Offenders for Driving Without Insurance
Fines range between $175 to $350, but the costs don’t stop there. You’ll now be required to fill out an SR-22 form by any insurance providers and deemed a high-risk driver. This means that you’ll pay much more for coverage once obtained as opposed to the ordinary rates you could have received beforehand.
Fines for Repeat Offenders Who Drive With No Insurance
Your first time is a slap on the wrist comparatively, meant to hurt, but also inspire you to do the right thing and purchase liability insurance. Second-time offenders, and those who go on after a second time, will face a range of harsher penalties:
- Repeat offenders face fines that start at $350 but can reach up to $1,000 per ticket.
- Because Judges are notorious in the Lone Star State for not taking this likely, you can expect long driving suspensions as well.
- Depending on how severe the offense is, you could have your vehicle impounded for up to 180 days. This is made worse by the daily fee which comes out to $15 per day or a total of $2,700.
- To get your vehicle back, you will also need to show proof of insurance, and you can bet that those rates are going to skyrocket. You also may limit your options of insurance brands which reduces further your options for discounts, comparative shopping, and more.
- For repeat offenders, vehicle registration or driver’s license suspension is another punishment, and the suspension period depends on whether the offender has insured his or her vehicle for two years since their last conviction.
Uninsured motorists account for around 13% of all drivers on the road today. This is a huge problem and the reason so many drivers face higher rates in Texas as we have so many more drivers than most. It’s also the reason uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is a popular auto insurance coverage. But most of all, it’s why all drivers should avoid these expensive hassles and remain insured with a car insurance policy.
Can You Go to Jail for Driving Without Insurance in Texas?
No, you won’t go to jail for driving without insurance in Texas. However, as you can see having no insurance in Texas while operating a motor vehicle leads to nothing good. It’s an expensive endeavor even the first time and can be a major disruption with serious financial ramifications for repeat offenders.
Is Driving Without Insurance a Misdemeanor in Texas?
Yes, if you are caught driving without insurance, it’s a Class C misdemeanor in the state of Texas. Getting a no insurance ticket, formally known as “Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility (FMFR)”, will land you with the previous penalties we’ve discussed.
Can Your Car Get Towed for No Car Insurance in Texas?
Yes, if you are driving with no insurance, your vehicle can be towed. This is part of the previously mentioned penalties, however, it’s important to note that the impoundment can happen on the spot if you don’t have a way to get your vehicle to your home legally and safely. Each situation is different but traffic officers are fully capable of making this decision, causing you even more of a headache and expense.
Uninsured Driver Driving Insured Car
If an uninsured driver is driving an insured car in Texas, there is a lot to consider, specifically, within each auto insurance policy:
- Drivers who are uninsured can drive your vehicle if they have permission and the car’s policy allows for such. Both you and the uninsured driver are responsible for damages that extend past your policy limits. Known as “permissive use”, the driver just needs a valid license, but this is only for occasional use situations.
- Each policy is different, and some may have “named-driver exclusions”, which is especially the case for high-risk drivers. This means you’re only covered for drivers explicitly listed on your car insurance policy. Depending on your situation and provider, you may also have a “step-down policy” that will reduce the coverage limit and coverage in effect when drivers who aren’t listed on your policy are driving.
- If someone living within your home is driving, most auto insurance companies will require that they are listed as a named driver. This won’t really apply to roommates in some cases, and other individuals can be excluded depending on the circumstances. If an excluded driver crashes your vehicle, your claim will be denied. Anyone who is a regular driver, even if they are not a member of your home, should be listed on your policy.
- For drivers who borrow your car often but don’t have a vehicle of their own should have a non-owner policy to cover their time on the road.
The Risk of Driving Without Insurance in Texas
We’ve covered the legal complications that can come from driving with no insurance, but that is only the beginning. The purpose of car insurance is to help limit the financial losses felt by the parties involved in an accident. Failing to have the right coverages can put in a serious financial hardship compounded only by rising costs involving fixing vehicles, medical bills, and legal expenses. Paying for auto insurance is a much cheaper option than facing potential financial ruin. Here are a few averages to consider before you skim out on an auto insurance policy:
- The average cost of repairs after an accident in Texas is usually around $500 to $1,000 when not severe. More serious accidents could see you spending several thousand dollars to restore the other party’s loss.
- If a vehicle is deemed “totaled” this means that the repairs of the vehicle cost more than the vehicle’s value. This also means that you could likely be held responsible for replacing their vehicle.
- Medical expenses for bodily injury start out expensive and end up outrageous. X-rays alone can cost $100 at best. If surgery is needed, thousands upon thousands of dollars can be expected with severe disabling injuries expected to cost around $80,000 on average.
- Fatal car accidents have even more expenses attached including the cost of the funeral and likely higher medical costs.
- Because you don’t have insurance, you can expect a lawsuit. When drivers operate with insurance and are involved in a wreck, the insurance companies handle reimbursement and procedures. If you are without such protection, the other party is likely to sue you for all of their losses, and now you also have legal fees to worry about.
Keep in mind that these expenses are all standard but don’t take into consideration that you still have to restore your own losses on your own. Different situations may arise such as loss of wages for another party because each accident is different. Overall, driving without insurance in Texas is an expensive and irresponsible endeavor where the risks far outweigh the reward of saving a couple of bucks.
Need Car Insurance? We Can Help!
Can you drive without insurance? Sure, but the legal ramifications and financial risks are far too great to consider being in Texas driving without insurance. Here at Freedom Insurance Group, we help drivers get the coverage they need to stay protected as well as save money. Here’s how we do it:
- Our partnership with 25+ top-rated insurance brands across Texas helps us compare your rate among various brands and deliver the right coverage for the lowest price.
- We compare rates because there are many different factors providers look at when insuring you. No two drivers are the same in both risk and protection and you deserve protection and a rate that is personal to you.
- Discounts are available for a wide range of customers and our agents are dedicated to finding you the best ones to help save you money.
- You can rely on our impeccable service to help you during your time of need and because we only use top-rated, financially sound agencies, you can have confidence that your claim will be settled in full and on time.
We are committed through a wide range of insurance products to help you find the right protection at the lowest cost. This includes liability coverage to keep you legal, but also covering your own vehicle through collision coverage, using comprehensive coverage to prepare for the unexpected, and many other coverage options depending on your risk. Through bundling and multi-policy discounts, we can help customize your coverage while keeping your insurance premiums low.
Since 2005, we’ve helped drivers in Texas avoid driving without insurance and save 40% on their policies in the process. Ask an agent about how we can help you save money or you can use our auto insurance quote for an accurate estimate of your insurance premium.