Texas Auto Insurance [Cheap SR22 + More]
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UPDATED: Mar 16, 2020
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|Road Miles||Total in State: 313,596
Vehicle Miles Driven: 243,706 million
|Most Popular Vehicle||F150|
|Percentage of Motorists Uninsured||14.1%|
|Driving Deaths||DUI (2014-2018): 7,238
Speeding (2014-2018): 5461
|Average Premiums (Annual)||Liability: $528.75
If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably too busy to spend countless hours researching car insurance. And we get it: when you have a full plate with work and family, car insurance isn’t exactly one of your main priorities. Fortunately for you, we’ve taken the time to carefully research all you need to know about car insurance in Texas so you don’t have to.
We promise you’ll learn all the necessary facts about Texas car insurance in this article, and that you’ll find this information easy to understand. In this handy guide, we’ll take a look at car insurance coverage and rates, the biggest car insurance companies in Texas, laws about car insurance and driving in Texas, safety tips, and much, much more.
Also, if you want to compare car insurance rates quickly and efficiently, all you have to do is enter your ZIP code above.
Texas Car Insurance Rates
When you start shopping for car insurance, two of the most important elements you’ll likely be thinking about are the type of coverage you want and the rate you’ll have to pay for it. But with so many different options for car insurance and rates that vary based on a person’s individual background, how do you figure out which policy is right for you? The process can be quite tedious and difficult. If only there was an easier way.
Well, we’ve compiled all the necessary information about the different types of car insurance and how rates change based on who you are. And we promise this information will help you to make an intelligent and informed decision about which car insurance is best for you.
Below, we’ve covered Texas’ car culture, the requirements for minimum coverage in the state, forms of financial responsibility, and other facts that will help you make sense of the insurance options available to you.
If you are considered a high-risk driver, you need special coverage. You’re considered a high-risk driver if you’re more likely to file an insurance claim. Insurance companies will typically see you as high-risk for one of the following reasons:
- You’ve recently received your driver’s license
- You’ve been in at least one car accident that was your fault — typically within the previous three years
- You’ve received multiple speeding tickets — typically within the previous three years
- You’ve received multiple traffic citations — typically within the previous three years
- You’ve been convicted of a DUI/DWI — typically within the previous three years
- You have a poor credit history
- You’ve had lapses in insurance coverage
- You’ve made too many claims in the past — typically within the preceding three years
- You have a high-value or specialized vehicle, such as a Lamborghini
- You’ve never had auto insurance before
Do one or more of these apply to you? You may need to get an SR-22, SR-22A, or FR-44. An SR-22 is a vehicle liability insurance document required by most state DMV offices for “high-risk” insurance policies. It’s likely required if you had a serious driving conviction such as a DUI or driving without insurance.
An SR-22A is similar to an SR-22, but it is only applicable in Texas, Georgia, and Missouri. The main difference for Texas drivers is that an SR-22A is a type of certificate usually used for repeat violators of financial responsibility laws. An FR-44 is similar to an SR-22 and an SR-22A, but it’s only for drivers in Florida and drivers in Virginia.
In addition to an SR-22A, there are other ways that are specific to Texas for high-risk drivers to be insured. The Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (also known as TAIPA) provides high-risk drivers with access to insurance. High-risk drivers have difficulty getting coverage, so TAIPA ensures these drivers get what they need so they can legally drive.
Minimum coverage is the option available if you get insurance through TAIPA, and these are 30/60/25 ($30,000 for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident). While this is a good coverage option for a high-risk driver, it does not offer physical damage coverage.
Because we gave you the numbers for coverage by TAIPA, it only makes sense to give you the numbers for SR-22 coverage in Texas. The minimum coverage requirements for a normal SR-22 in Texas are the same as coverage provided by TAIPA, so they’re also 30/60/25.
How much coverage is required for Texas minimum coverage?
In order to drive legally, you need to have car insurance, and your policy must contain the following coverage at minimum:
- $30,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in an accident
- $60,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons in an accident
- $25,000 for damage to or destruction of property of another in an accident
In car insurance terms, this minimum is known as 30/60/25 coverage, with the numbers representing bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury coverage. Collectively, they make up liability insurance, which is designed to pay any person owed compensation for property damage and/or injuries as a result of a car accident that you or anyone under your policy has caused.
You need to have proof of this insurance with you at all times when driving. However, due to recent technological developments, you no longer need to have a physical copy of your policy on hand. In Texas, electronic proof of insurance is accepted, too.
Does gender and age affect my car insurance in Texas?
In these next few sections, we’re going to take a look at how different factors in your life affect your car insurance rates. The first of these factors is gender. In some states, using gender to determine how much someone pays for car insurance is prohibited by law, but in Texas, it’s still legal.
|Company||Married 35-Year-Old Female||Married 35-Year-Old Male||Married 60-Year-Old Female||Married 60-Year-Old Male||Single 17-Year-Old Female||Single 17-Year-Old Male||Single 25-Year-Old Female||Single 25-Year-Old Male|
|The Gen Automobile Ins||$2,918.37||$3,249.14||$2,712.68||$3,109.48||$7,713.17||$10,116.84||$4,191.50||$4,782.23|
As we can see from this table, men pay more than women for car insurance — an average of $189 more annually. It’s also worth noting that age plays a role in how much car insurance companies charge. Rates for 17-year-olds are substantially higher than they are for any other age group, presumably because young drivers are inexperienced and therefore more risky to insure.
There are exceptions to every rule. State Farm charges the same amount for men and women who are 35 and 60, but they charge men more than women in the 17- and 25-year-old brackets. Allstate also charges the same for men and women who are 60.
So you might want to think about these numbers while you’re shopping for insurance. If you’re a married, 35-year-old female, you may get the cheapest rate from State Farm, but if you’re a 17-year-old male, you might get cheaper coverage from Geico.
Before moving on to ZIP codes, here is something to note — this data is based on actual purchased coverage by the state population and includes rates for high-risk drivers and drivers who choose to purchase more than the state minimum, as well as other types of coverage like uninsured/underinsured motorist, PIP, and MedPay.
What are the cheapest rates by ZIP code in Texas?
In addition to your age and gender, insurance companies will consider where exactly you live in Texas when determining your rate. Let’s take a look at the 25 most expensive and 25 least expensive ZIP codes in the Lone Star State. We’ll start off with the ZIP codes with the most expensive rates.
|ZIP Code||Average||Allstate||The Gen Automobile||Geico||Nationwide||Progressive||State Farm||USAA|
Based on these numbers, the most expensive company for residents of these ZIP codes is Allstate, and the most expensive ZIP code in Texas is 78049. Most of the ZIP codes with the highest rates are located in Houston. Now let’s look at the cheapest group.
|ZIP Code||Average||Allstate||The Gen Automobile||Geico||Nationwide||Progressive||State Farm||USAA|
According to this data, USAA is the insurance company that is the cheapest in all of these ZIP codes, but keep in mind that this company only insures active-duty military members, their immediate families, and veterans. If this doesn’t apply to you, the second cheapest is State Farm. The cheapest ZIP code in Texas is 76901, as the average cost of car insurance there is $3,157.68.
What are the cheapest rates by city in Texas?
We’ve looked at the most and least expensive ZIP codes in Texas, but you might also be wondering how the different cities stack up in terms of car insurance rates. Take a look at these numbers so you can see where your city ranks.
Up first, we’re going to list the cheapest cities in the Lone Star State. You can use the search bar if you want to find your city quickly.
|City||Average Grand Total|
|Little River Academy||$3,383.96|
Based on this data, the cheapest city for car insurance in the entire state of Texas is Knickerbocker, as the average cost of car insurance in this city is $3,209.72.
Now let’s take a look at the cities with the most expensive rates.
|City||Average Grand Total|
According to this data, the most expensive city for car insurance in Texas is Texhoma, with an average rate of $5,290.29. Weslaco comes in second, followed by Houston, which is no surprise considering the majority of Texas’ most expensive ZIP codes were in Houston.
What’s interesting about these numbers is that the most expensive city, Texhoma, has a population of only 346, while the third-most-expensive city, Houston, has a massive population of 2.3 million people.
What are forms of financial responsibility in Texas?
If you don’t have proof of insurance, you can also show proof of financial responsibility. What is proof of financial responsibility? Well, it’s basically a way to prove that you have the ability to pay for damages in the event of an accident. The different forms of financial responsibility that are accepted in Texas are listed below:
- Proof-of-insurance card
- Financial responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22), for at-risk drivers
- Surety bond
- $55,000 cash or securities deposit with the State Comptroller
- $55,000 cash or cashier’s check deposit with the county judge of the county in which the car is registered
Remember that it’s not optional to drive without car insurance in Texas. If you choose to do so and are caught, you could face serious consequences.
How much percentage of income are premiums in Texas?
So how much are you going to pay for car insurance in Texas? There isn’t one simple answer to that question, but we can help you get a general idea. One way to look at this is by considering how much of their income the average Texan is spending on car insurance.
In 2012, Texans spent 2.48 percent ($974.68) of their $39,224 in disposable income on car insurance. In 2013, they spent 2.61 percent of their income on car insurance, and in 2014, the figure was 2.59 percent. As you can see, the price of car insurance rose from 2012 to 2013, and then it fell in 2014.
Let’s compare how much Texans paid for car insurance in 2014 to how much residents in neighboring states paid the same year.
Arkansans paid 2.65 percent ($900.18) of their $33,929 disposable income, Oklahomans paid 2.41 percent ($985.58) of their $40,879 disposable income, Louisianans paid 3.61 percent ($1,364.17) of their $37,787 disposable income, and New Mexicans paid 2.76 percent ($920.42) of their $33,358 income. Remember, these are averages.
So, Texans were right in the middle in terms of car insurance costs, as they paid less than people from Arkansas and New Mexico, but more than people from Oklahoma and Louisiana.
If you want to see what percentage of your disposable income goes towards car insurance, use our free calculator below.
What are the core coverages in Texas?
To look at the cost with a wider lens, Texans pay an average of $1,620 for their coverage, which is higher than the national average of $1,474.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how much Texans pay for their coverage, let’s see what the coverages in Texas actually are. We’ll start with core coverages, as they are the required/most commonly purchased types of coverages.
The first of these coverages is liability insurance, which we’ve already mentioned. In recent years, the average cost of Texas’ liability insurance has been $498.44. This is lower than the national average of $516.39.
Next, we have collision insurance. Collision insurance is the type of insurance that reimburses the policyholder for damage to their personal car caused by an accident. In Texas, the average cost of collision insurance is $340.51, which is a bit higher than the national average of $299.73.
Comprehensive coverage is pretty easy to understand: it’s insurance that covers all other types of damage that aren’t caused by an accident — stuff like car thefts and break-ins, natural disasters, or damage caused by an animal. Texas drivers pay an average of $186.70 for comprehensive insurance, and this figure is higher than the national average of $138.87.
Lastly, let’s talk about combined coverage. It’s pretty straightforward: this type of insurance covers damages from both collision and non-collision events. The average amount a Texas driver pays for this kind of insurance is $1,025.64, which is higher than the national average of $954.99.
Note: All data is provided by the NAIC and based on the state minimum.
Alright, now let’s take a look at additional liability coverage in the Lone Star State.
What additional liability is available in Texas?
The first major component for additional liability is personal injury protection. Personal injury protection covers the healthcare expenses associated with treating injuries from a car accident. Another is Medical Payments Coverage, which is a feature of a car insurance policy that covers expenses related to car accidents and pays for a variety of expenses relating to injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
The last type of additional liability we’ll look at is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage is pretty self-explanatory; it pays for property and bodily damage caused by a driver who has insufficient insurance coverage or no coverage at all. With 14.1 percent of Texas drivers being uninsured, it might be a good idea to add this one to your policy.
Now that you know what these types of coverage are, let’s use them to look at the financial situation of the car insurance industry in Texas.
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||64.43||63.10||64.43|
|Medical Payments (Med Pay)||64.37||72.93||64.31|
If you’re not familiar, loss ratio is a term used in the insurance industry to represent the difference between what companies spend on claims and what they earn in premiums.
A good loss ratio is in the 60-70 range. If it’s too high, say 75 percent, the company isn’t collecting enough money in premiums for the claims it’s paying out. This is a sign that a rate increase might be coming soon. A high loss ratio won’t cause a car insurance company to become bankrupt unless it’s happening several years in a row.
Conversely, if this figure is too low, like around 40 percent, the company is collecting more in premiums than it needs for the claims it’s getting. This might mean you could have trouble getting a claim resolved should you need to file one.
The table above shows the average loss ratios of Texas insurance companies for different liability coverages. You can see that, on average, the insurance companies in Texas are doing well in all three categories, as each loss ratio that’s presented from 2013 to 2015 is in that golden 60-70 range.
What add-ons, endorsements, and riders are available in Texas?
After choosing from some of the common core coverages, you should be good to go, right? But wait: what if those types of insurance don’t cover what you need? Don’t worry; there are supplemental options you can purchase that will protect you in different types of situations.
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
- Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance
Consider rounding out your policy with a couple of these add-ons so you can drive (relatively) worry-free in Texas.
What is Texas’ car culture?
Texans have a long history of modifying cars and displaying their awesome rides at the Houston Art Car Parade. But despite the state’s residents’ proclivity for creatively enhanced cars, the most popular vehicle in Texas is definitely the pickup truck. In fact, they’re so popular, Texans buy one out of every six pickup trucks that are sold nationally.
One reason Texans buy these larger vehicles is they pay lower gas prices than a lot of the rest of the country. In 2018, the national average for gas prices was $2.66 per gallon, while Texans paid $2.42 per gallon. That might not seem like a huge difference, but it adds up over time.
A downside to this is that, because the gas prices are low, Texans are more inclined to drive, which leads to more traffic, more pollution, and even more road fatalities.
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Best Texas Car Insurance Companies
One of the hardest parts about shopping for car insurance is figuring out which company will best suit your needs. We understand this, which is why we’re going to give you a thorough analysis of each major car insurance company in Texas so you can find the car insurance that is best for you.
In this section, we’re going to take a look at the financial ratings of the largest car insurance companies in Texas, their complaint reports, and other pieces of information that will help you decide which company is the best fit for you.
What are the financial ratings of the largest car insurance companies in Texas?
When you’re comparing insurance companies, it’s worth considering their current financial standings. Let’s take a look at what credit rating A.M. Best had to say about these companies in a recent report.
|Providers||A.M. Best Rating|
|Consumers County Mutual||NR|
|Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Group||A-|
A.M. Best’s rating methodology is based on strong analytical expertise, research, data, and insight, and its scale goes from A++ to D. As you might be able to guess, A++ is considered superior, and D is considered subpar. So, now that you understand this rating system, let’s dive into some analysis of the ratings in the table above.
The majority of Texas’ car insurance companies have great financial ratings. In fact, there are three companies that have a rating of A++ (State Farm, Geico, and USAA). Even the company with the lowest financial rating (Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Group) still has an impressive rating of A-.
If you’re looking for a numbers-based financial analysis of Texas’ car insurance, see the next table.
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written||Loss Ratio||Market Share|
|1||State Farm Group||$3,563,120||78.29%||16.83%|
|3||Allstate Insurance Group||$2,362,584||66.19%||11.16%|
|5||Farmers Insurance Group||$1,842,735||66.07%||8.70%|
|7||Liberty Mutual Group||$1,195,735||83.96%||5.65%|
|8||Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Group||$693,004||77.31%||3.27%|
|9||Consumers County Mutual Insurance Co||$541,825||86.45%||2.56%|
|10||Nationwide Corp Group||$473,342||65.53%||2.24%|
This table shows direct premiums written, loss ratios, and market shares. While we’ve already discussed loss ratios, you may not be familiar with direct premiums written or market shares, so we’ll go ahead and define them for you.
Direct premiums written is the total amount of money earned in new policies during a given period — premiums coming in from new business only. A company’s direct premiums written figure represents growth, so it makes sense that this is a big factor in its financial rating. A market share is the percentage of total sales in an industry generated by a particular company — in other words, how much of the market they’ve got cornered.
This table shows us that State Farm has the largest market share at 16.83 percent, which means it controls a huge chunk of the market in Texas. It also has the most direct premiums written ($3,563,120 worth), and a respectable loss ratio (78.29).
The company with the lowest numbers pertaining to financial ratings is Nationwide Corp Group, with $473,342 in direct premiums written, and only 2.24 percent of the market share. This company does, however, have a respectable loss ratio of 65.53.
Let’s look at some more ratings.
Which car insurance companies have the best ratings in Texas?
Here we have the best ratings for insurance companies in Texas from the esteemed rating system of J.D. Power Press. We’ve compiled the numbers from J.D. Power’s U.S. auto insurance study, and put them in a table below.
|Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group||831|
|TX Farm Bureau||857|
J.D. Power rates the insurance companies in Texas based on a 1,000 point scale. We can see from these ratings that the best company in Texas according to J.D. Power is TX Farm Bureau, with a rating of 857. This is well above the average rating of Texas car insurance companies, which is 835. The company with the lowest rating is Liberty Mutual at 802.
Which car insurance companies have the most complaints in Texas?
We’ve looked at the good aspects of these companies, now it’s time to look at some of the not-so-good ones. You can tell a lot about quality of service based on a company’s complaint ratio, which measures the number of complaints they receive. Before you look at the ratios, here’s a quick primer:
- An index of 0.50 means that the insurer’s share of complaints is half the size of its share of business.
- An index of 1.00 means the insurer’s share of all complaints received is equal to its share of business.
- An index of 2.00 means that the insurer’s share of complaints is twice as large as its share of business.
Now that you’re an expert on complaint ratios, here’s a breakdown of the numbers:
|Consumers County Mutual Insurance Co||0.68|
|Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Group||0.85|
These ratios show us that Liberty Mutual has the highest complaint ratio at 5.95, and Nationwide has the lowest at 0.28. However, complaint ratios aren’t everything; it’s also important to factor a company’s size into the equation, plus how they deal handle these complaints.
What are the cheapest car insurance companies in Texas?
Here’s everyone’s favorite section: the cheapest company. We’ve listed the Texas insurance companies with the lowest average rates in the table below.
|The Gen Automobile Ins||$4,849.18||+$920.84||+18.99%|
The table shows you the average rate for each of the listed companies and then how that rate compares to the state average in both dollar amount and percentage forms.
As you can see, the cheapest company in Texas is USAA, with an average rate of $2,488.12, which is 57.88 percent below the state average. Remember, this is the company that only services military members and veterans, so if that doesn’t apply to you, the second cheapest is State Farm at $2,879.95, which is 36.4 percent below the state average.
The most expensive company in Texas is Allstate, with an average rate of $5,485.32. This is 28.38 percent higher than the state average.
While the cheaper numbers may be alluring, remember: cheaper isn’t always better. Make sure to learn as much as you can about a car insurance company before making a decision.
Does my commute affect my car insurance rate in Texas?
One of the factors that car insurance companies take into consideration when deciding how much you pay for coverage is your commute distance. People with longer commutes often pay more. The way insurance companies figure it, the more you’re on the road, the more likely it is you might get into an accident. In the table below, you’ll see prices for two different commute lengths from the major companies in Texas.
6,000 Annual Mileage
12,000 Annual Mileage
As you can see, some companies charge more for longer commutes and others don’t. However, the companies that don’t increase their rates based on commute — like Allstate, American Family, and Progressive — have the most expensive average rates to begin with.
Can coverage level change my car insurance rate with companies in Texas?
Though it may go without saying, insurance companies also charge different rates for different coverage levels. In other words, you get what you pay for. Here are the costs for the different coverage levels from each major car insurance company in the Lone Star State.
|Group||Low Coverage||Medium Coverage||High Coverage|
We can see from these numbers that the most expensive coverage is high coverage with Allstate at $5,655.81 per year. The coverage level that costs the least is low coverage with USAA, at $2,403.46, or if you don’t qualify for USAA, State Farm offers low coverage for $2,729.50.
It’s worth keeping these numbers in mind as you’re shopping. If you were thinking about buying low coverage from Geico, for example, you might be interested to know you can get high coverage from State Farm instead for just about $50 more per year.
How does my credit history affect my car insurance rate with companies in Texas?
If you want to purchase car insurance in Texas, insurance companies will take a look at your credit ratings when deciding how much you should pay. Below you can see how much the companies in Texas charge based on good, fair, and poor credit histories.
|Group||Poor Credit History||Fair Credit History||Good Credit History|
As much as it might hurt your bottom line, insurance companies believe that someone with poor credit is less financially stable and riskier to insure, which is why they charge a higher rate. Aside from USAA, State Farm has the cheapest rates for individuals with poor or fair credit, but those with good credit may find a better deal with Geico.
Experian’s consumer credit review shows us that the average credit rating for Texans is 680, so most residents fall into the good or fair categories.
How does my driving record change my rates with car insurance companies in Texas?
The last determining factor in your car insurance rate we’re going to look at is your driving record. If you’ve had a traffic violation or been in an accident, you’re probably going to pay a higher rate. Fair or not, insurance companies figure that if you’ve had these sorts of issues in the past, you may have them again, and that means you’re more likely to file a claim that they have to pay for.
Take a look at the rates for different driving records below.
|Group||Rate with Clean Record||Rate with 1 Speeding Violation||Rate with 1 Accident||Rate with 1 DUI|
Most companies charge the most for either a DUI or an accident on a record, which makes sense because these two types of records imply a greater risk than a speeding ticket or a clean record. Your cheapest option if you’ve had a DUI is probably going to be USAA or Geico, and you’ve had an accident, you might want to check out rates from USAA (if applicable) or State Farm.
The most expensive company for all types of records is Allstate, and, interestingly, they charge a driver with a clean record the same amount as one with a speeding ticket ($4,270.52).
After looking at how much car insurance companies charge based on various factors, let’s talk about which are the biggest in the Lone Star State.
Which car insurance companies are the largest in Texas?
State Farm is the largest car insurance company in Texas, and also the largest nationwide. They have the most direct premiums written ($3,563,120) and control the largest market share (16.83 percent). The second-largest car insurance company in Texas is Geico, with $2,637,489 in direct premiums written and a market share of 12.46 percent.
The third-largest company in all of Texas is Allstate. They have $2,362,584 in direct premiums written, and their market share is 11.16 percent. Now, let’s take a look at how many car insurance companies are available in Texas, shall we?
How many car insurance companies are available in Texas?
In Texas, there are 199 insurance companies located in state (the industry term for this is a “domestic company”). There are also 937 car insurance companies based outside of Texas that are licensed to provide Texas drivers with car insurance (referred to in the industry as “foreign companies”). You’re welcome to do business with any of these 1,1336 insurance providers.
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Knowing what your state’s laws are is very important, but, it can often be confusing. That’s why we’re going give you some insight into the laws that pertain to car insurance and driving in Texas in a way that’s easy to understand. We’ll also discuss windshield coverage and a lot more. Keep reading.
What are the car insurance laws in Texas?
As we discussed, you’re legally required to have car insurance in Texas, but there are laws that apply to the insurance companies as well. These laws are state-specific, so let’s look at how things work in Texas.
How State Laws for Insurance are Determined
Knowing about how a state determines its car insurance laws is almost as important as knowing what the state’s laws are. According to the NAIC, Texas is a file-and-use state. Not sure what that means? We’ll explain.
File-and-use laws allow insurance companies to use the new rates they have formulated before they get approval from the state government. Due to these laws, insurance companies can implement the new rates on all their products at their discretion.
However, the insurance regulatory body continues to have the authority to reject or cancel any rate change. Usually, insurance regulatory bodies would cancel rate changes if they think the insurance company has no basis for justifying them.
Each state also handles windshield coverage and repair differently. In Texas, there are no unique laws about windshield replacement. Carwindshields.info states that insurers can sometimes suggest used and aftermarket parts (aftermarket parts are parts that are not made by an original equipment manufacturer) if the parts are “of like, kind, and quality.”
Insurers in Texas also cannot require you to use a specific repair shop for your windshield replacement.
Additionally, there is no law that requires insurance companies to provide zero-deductible insurance options for windshields, but some companies may offer it with comprehensive coverage.
Zero-deductible car insurance means that you picked coverage options that don’t require you to pay any money upfront for a covered claim.
Here’s an advertisement for a repair shop in case you need a windshield replacement in Texas.
We’ve looked at the laws about windshield coverage, so now let’s take a look at some equally important laws regarding high-risk insurance.
While there are options for high-risk insurance in Texas, there are, unfortunately, no low-cost insurance options in the Lone Star State for those who have trouble affording the price of coverage. The only states that offer low-cost insurance programs are California, New Jersey, and Hawaii.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Texas
Insurance fraud is absolutely a crime in the Lone Star State, and measures are being taken to combat this issue. But before we get into that, you might be wondering what insurance fraud actually is.
According to the III, it ranges from misrepresenting facts on insurance applications and inflating insurance claims, to staging accidents and submitting claim forms for injuries or damage that never occurred, to false reports of stolen vehicles. The FBI estimates that the cost of insurance fraud is 40 billion dollars a year. Some of this money comes out of your pocket because insurance companies raise their rates as a result.
American families spend between $400 and $700 more per year on insurance because of fraud.
But, as we’ve said, there are measures being taken to end insurance fraud. Insurance companies are cracking down and reporting instances of suspected fraud to law enforcement officers. Technology is being employed to stop insurance fraud, too, through the use of predictive modeling, link analysis (which looks at the relationships between items such as people, places, and events), and in some cases, artificial intelligence.
All of these tools attempt to uncover fraud before a payment is even made.
Finally, the state of Texas is going to greater lengths to prevent insurance fraud by designating it a crime and prosecuting more cases in court. This is likely because, in 2018 alone, the Texas Department of Insurance’s fraud report showed that there were 13,935 fraudulent reports received, which resulted in $10 million dollars worth of lost funds.
Below is the contact information for the Texas Department of Insurance.
- Phone number: 1-800-252-3439
- Website: https://www.tdi.texas.gov/
If you hear of or see any instances of fraud, please don’t hesitate to contact them.
Statute of Limitations
Now, let’s take a look at the statute of limitation laws in Texas. A statute of limitations is an accident insurance claims time limit that stipulates how long you have to make a valid claim to cover damages to your car or injuries to your person.
Generally, there are two types of statutes of limitations: personal injury and property damage. These are pretty self-explanatory, as personal injury is harm inflicted to a person and property damage is harm inflicted to an object (such as your car).
In Texas, you have two years to file for personal injury and three years for property damage. And it’s essential that you file as soon as you can because the clock starts ticking the day of the accident.
One law that is completely unique to Texas is the Texas Lemon Law. This law applies to you if you purchase or lease a new motor vehicle and it develops a defect or condition that substantially impairs the motor vehicle’s use, market value, or its safety.
The Texas Lemon Law can assist you with any of these problems by helping you fix whatever issue affects your car. However, you must give the manufacturer a reasonable opportunity to repair the vehicle.
There are tests that can prove whether the manufacturer has put forth reasonable effort toward fixing the vehicle. If you bring your car in for inspection and pass one of these tests, you’ll be allowed to apply for the Texas Lemon Law.
The first of these tests is the Four Times Test. You pass this test if you’ve taken your car in four times for the same defect within the first two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first, and the problem persists.
The next test is the Serious Safety Hazard Test. You pass this test if there is a life-threatening malfunction that substantially impedes your ability to control or operate the vehicle normally or that creates a substantial risk of fire or explosion, and you’ve taken your vehicle in two or more times during the first two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first, and the problem persists.
The last test is the Thirty Day Test. You pass this test if you haven’t received a proper loaner vehicle after your new vehicle has been out of service for repair due to defects that substantially impair its use or market value for 30 or more days during the first 24 months or 24,000 miles, and the problem persists.
In addition to the Lemon Licensing Law, there is another law that is unique to Texas that can prove pretty helpful to drivers. It’s the Drug and Alcohol Driver’s Awareness Discount, and it provides five percent discounts on car insurance for Texas drivers who voluntarily take a Texas Education Agency (TEA)-approved drug and alcohol awareness course.
The Texas DMV’s website states that the Texas state government requires all car insurance companies to give this discount.
Everyone is eligible for this discount unless they have been convicted of a drug- or alcohol-related charge in the past seven years. After those seven years, a person who has one of these charges becomes eligible.
What are the vehicle licensing laws in Texas?
Let’s continue discussing state-specific laws by going over the vehicle licensing laws in the Lone Star State.
Texas is compliant with the REAL ID Act. You may not be entirely sure what that is, so we’ll break it down for you. The DHS explains that the REAL ID Act “establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.”
The REAL ID Act is going to affect your ability to enter federal facilities or nuclear power plants and to board federally regulated commercial aircraft. By implementing it, the government hopes to improve the United States’ security.
We’ve included a video about the REAL ID Act in Texas below.
Hopefully, you found that video informative. In case you didn’t watch it, the REAL ID Act officially goes into effect in October 2020.
Next, we’ll examine the penalties for driving without car insurance.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If you choose to drive without car insurance in Texas, you may be subject to a $175-$350 fine, plus a $250 surcharge every year for three years. However, this may be reduced with certain requirements. You may use any of the following to prove that you have insurance:
- A surety bond from two individual sureties that own property in Texas, with the same coverage limitations as liability insurance
- $55,000 cash or securities deposit with the State Comptroller
- $55,000 cash or cashier’s check deposit with the county judge of the county in which the car is registered
- Certificate of self-insurance (you must own a fleet of more than 25 cars to qualify for a certificate of self-insurance
You don’t always need to have physical proof of insurance. Texas has started using TexasSure, which allows various Texas government agencies to electronically verify that you have insurance. There are numerous situations in which you might have to show proof of insurance, including the following:
- You’re asked for it by a police officer
- You get into a car accident
- You register or renew your car’s registration
- You apply or renew your driver’s license
- You have your car inspected
The last topic we’re going to discuss in this section is the intent to suspend registration in Texas.
If you have received a second or subsequent conviction for not having liability coverage at a traffic stop; if the Texas Department of Public Safety receives notice that you have canceled your insurance and don’t maintain proof of an alternate form of financial responsibility; or if you were in an accident that resulted in injury, death, and/or property damages and you did not have insurance, you will have your registration suspended.
It is imperative that you have insurance at all times. If you fail to have insurance while you drive, you risk losing your driving privileges. Driving without insurance is simply not worth it: do the right thing and get yourself insured.
Teen Driver Laws
Teens make up a large part of Texas’ driving population, and there are specific rules for teen drivers. The IIHS’s website states that the minimum age at which you can get your learner’s permit is 15, and you need to have this permit for a minimum of six months. You also must put in a minimum of 30 hours of supervised driving, 10 of which must be at night. If you’ve met these requirements, you can get your full license at age 16.
However, there are some restrictions once you get your full license. You can’t drive from midnight to 5:00 a.m. without adult supervision, and you may have no more than one passenger younger than 21. These restrictions are removed once you turn 18.
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
Most states have slightly different license renewal rules in place when it comes to older drivers. In Texas, drivers aged 79 and older must get their vision tested at every renewal and are not permitted to renew via mail or online. Drivers 85 and older must renew their licenses every two years.
If you’re planning to move to Texas, you’ll have 90 days once you’ve arrived to transfer your valid out-of-state driver’s license. Before the end of this 90 day grace period, new residents need to apply for a Texas license at any driver’s license office to continue to drive legally.
If you are from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, or Taiwan and you surrender your license, you do not have to pass a knowledge or skills exam. If you don’t surrender your license, or you’re from a country other than those listed, you have to take these exams.
When getting your new license, you’re required to have proof of the following:
- Identity (a valid out-of-state license can be used as a supporting document)
- Citizenship or lawful presence
- Social Security number
- Evidence of Texas vehicle registration for each vehicle you own; registration needs to be current
- Proof of insurance for each vehicle you own
Now that we’ve discussed some special circumstances, let’s go over the renewal procedures for standard Texas residents.
License Renewal Procedures
If you’re not a teen or older driver, you renew your license every six years. You are required to get a vision test if you renew your license in person. However, if you renew through the mail or online, you don’t need to pass a vision test. And make sure to plan ahead for your driver’s license renewal, as your license expires on your birthday on the sixth year after it was issued.
Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)
While only California has an official Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS), Texas has its own traffic point system, which is called The Driver Responsibility Program (DRP). It was created to encourage safe driving habits, and its purpose is to assess surcharges based on certain traffic offenses.
Offenders are notified by mail each time a surcharge is added to their driving record. Surcharges are in addition to other fees and don’t replace suspensions, revocations, denials, disqualifications, or cancellations that come from the same conviction.
Points are assessed for moving violation convictions. You receive two points for a conviction and three points for a conviction that resulted in a crash. People are given a point surcharge annually if they have six or more points on their driving record. For each following 12 month period that a person does not receive any points for a moving violation, a point will be deducted from their record.
You can receive a conviction-based surcharge for being convicted of a DUI, not having a license, driving while your license is invalid, and not having insurance. Points aren’t assessed for these offenses and a conviction-based surcharge will be assessed yearly for three years from the date of the conviction. You have the option to pay all three years at once if you like.
What are the rules of the road in Texas?
Now that we’ve got your licensing in order, let’s talk about a few more Texas-specific laws related to driving.
Fault vs. No-Fault
Texas’ car insurance requirements are based on a fault system rather than a no-fault system. This means that, when an accident occurs, law enforcement will determine who caused the collision and that person’s insurance company will be responsible for the damages.
This is all the more reason to never, ever drive uninsured. If you cause an accident and you have no coverage, you’ll be on the hook for the damages yourself.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
Like most states, Texas has specific laws and guidelines for seat belts and car seats. Anyone eight years old or older is required to wear a seat belt, as is any child that is 57 inches tall or taller. The maximum fine for a first seat belt offense is $200.
Children who are seven or younger and shorter than 57 inches are required to be secured in a child safety seat. Those who need to be in child seats cannot use an adult seat belt, and the maximum fine for an offense regarding a child safety seat is $25. Also, according to Texas law, there is no preference for using the rear seat for child seats.
Finally, there are cargo area restriction laws in Texas, but they are relatively lax. People under age 18 cannot ride in the cargo area of a truck, with the exception of situations involving parades, hayrides, emergencies, and farm operations.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
As for move over and keep right laws, you need to keep right if you’re driving more slowly than the average speed of traffic around you.
Texas move over laws also require drivers approaching a stationary authorized emergency service vehicle using approved visual signals and traveling in the same direction, such as a tow truck, to reduce speed (not to exceed 20 mph less than a posted speed limit of 25 mph or more, or not more than five mph when the posted speed limit is under 25 mph) and leave the lane closest to the emergency vehicles.
I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that Texas has speed limits. On rural interstates in Texas, the speed limit is 75 mph, 80 mph, or 85 mph on specified segments of road. On urban interstates and other limited access roads, the speed limit is 75 mph, and it’s also 75 mph on all other roads (unless otherwise specified).
Want to drive for a ridesharing service such as Lyft or Uber? You can, but it’s required that you pass a background check that covers local, state, and national searches. You must also get a state permit to drive for a ridesharing service and specialized rideshare insurance. In Texas, this coverage is available from the following companies:
- Liberty Mutual
Now that we’ve seen the laws about humans driving other humans, let’s take a peek at the rules regarding robots driving humans.
Automation on the Road
We’ve made it to the future: cars can drive themselves. This phenomenon, also known as automation, is legal on Texas roads. In fact, Texas lawmakers are so confident in these cars, they do not require a licensed driver to be inside.
There are some requirements for having an automated vehicle on the road. You need insurance for your automated vehicle in case there is an accident, and it will likely be pretty expensive if it’s a self-driving car. The good news is that self-driving cars are relatively safe and less accident-prone. In fact, 94 percent of accidents on the road are caused by human errors.
What are the safety laws in Texas?
This next section is really important, both for your safety and the safety of everyone else on the road.
DUI laws can get pretty complicated, so we’ve compiled the most important ones in the table below. This table shows the BAC limits, criminal status, prison time, and look back period.
|DUI Laws in Texas||Details|
|Formal Name for Offense||Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)|
|High BAC Limit||0.15|
|Criminal Status||1st class B misdemeanor
2nd in 5 years class A misdemeanor
3rd+ third degree feonies
|Prison Time||1st 72 hours-6 months
2nd 30 days-1 year
3rd 2-10 years
4th same as 3rd offense
|Lookback/Washout Period||Unlimited/lifetime for sentencing
5 years for 2nd+ when determining need for ID
The most important thing to take note of here is that punishments get worse with each subsequent offense. This is to deter people from committing this heinous crime.
You may not be totally sure about what a lookback or washout period is, so we’ll explain it. Essentially, it’s the amount of time an offense remains on your record. So, if you don’t want to have a record marred by a DUI, don’t drink and drive.
But DUIs cause more than bad records. According to responsibility.org, there were 1,468 total alcohol-impaired related fatalities in Texas in 2017. In fact, 39.4 percent of the total road fatalities in Texas the state that year were caused by DUIs.
And adults weren’t the only victims — 173 people under age 21 died in alcohol-impaired accidents, making up 35 percent of the total road fatalities for people in that age group. Keep your record clean and the roads safe: don’t drink and drive.
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
Responsibility.org also states that there are no marijuana-specific drugged driving laws. However, it’s probably not a good idea to smoke marijuana and drive, as marijuana is currently illegal in Texas. Additionally, marijuana affects your brain functioning, so it’s also not safe to drive under the influence of it.
Distracted Driving Laws
Texas has laws against distracted driving as well. In the Lone Star State, cellphone use laws prohibit the use of a handheld device in school crossing zones and on public school property during the time the reduced speed limit is in effect. These laws also make it illegal for all drivers under 18 to use cellphones while driving, and all drivers, no matter their age, are banned from texting while driving.
Driving in Texas
We get that safety is the most important consideration for most drivers. That’s why we’re going to tell you all about road safety in Texas. In this section, we’re going to discuss vehicle thefts, road fatalities, the most dangerous highway in Texas, and other important information that will help make sure you stay safe on the road.
How many vehicle thefts occur in Texas?
Ever wonder if some cars are stolen more frequently than others? Well, according to our in-house data, that’s definitely the case. Here are the most frequently stolen cars in Texas.
|Make and Model||Year||Total Thefts|
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2006||7,897|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2004||6,158|
|Dodge Pickup (Full Size)||2004||2,898|
|GMC Pickup (Full Size)||2015||1,450|
As you can see, the car that is most frequently stolen in the Lone Star State is the 2006 Ford pickup, with 7,897 total thefts. As you can see, the top three are all pickups, which is no surprise given the popularity of these vehicles in Texas.
We can also see what cities have the highest car theft rates. Here is a table based on information from the FBI’s website.
|10 Texas Cites with|
Most Vehicle Thefts
|Number of Thefts|
Houston had the most cars stolen in Texas (13,595), followed by Dallas (7,384). If you live in one of these cities and/or you drive one of the most frequently stolen vehicles, you might want to get comprehensive insurance coverage to make sure you’re protected.
How many road fatalities occur in Texas?
Now we’re going to take a look at the numbers of road fatalities that occur in Texas in various situations. We know that these statistics can be unpleasant, but learning about them will help you become a safer driver.
Most Fatal Highway in Texas
We looked at the most dangerous highways in America and discovered that the most fatal highway in Texas is Highway 83. From 2010-2014, there were135 fatalities on this highway. If you can avoid Highway 83 altogether, great, but if not, make sure to exercise caution.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition
Do the weather and light conditions outside have any effect on the likelihood of fatal crashes? Let’s take a look.
The numbers on this table may surprise you, as you might’ve expected fatalities to be most common in wet, wintry weather. In fact, more accidents happen in daylight under normal weather conditions. This is probably because there are more drivers on the road during normal conditions, and people tend to drive slower and more carefully under extreme weather conditions, whereas in sunny weather you might let your guard down.
Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
Below, we’ve listed the 25 counties with the highest number of fatalities in the Lone Star State. The information in this table and all subsequent tables in this section are from the NHTSA’s website.
|El Paso County||60||66||62||81||58|
|Fort Bend County||52||36||39||37||39|
We can see from this table that Harris County, the largest county in Texas, had the most fatalities in 2017, with 456. The second-largest, Dallas County, also had a tragically high number of fatalities in 2017 at 282. Conversely, Loving County, which is the smallest with a population of just 152 people, only had one fatality in 2017. In fact, they had zero fatalities in 2013.
As you can see, the more people live in a county, the more fatalities there are likely to be.
Now, let’s move on to different types of traffic fatalities in Texas.
First let’s look at the road fatalities in Texas over a ten-year span on different types of roadways.
You can see from this data that urban roads usually see more fatalities than rural roads, though the numbers are pretty close. There were a few years (2008, 2009, and 2014) in which there were more fatalities on rural roads than urban ones.
Fatalities by Person Type
This next table details the fatalities in Texas by person or vehicle type.
|Light Truck - Pickup||606||693||626||636||588|
|Light Truck - Utility||441||480||483||441||457|
|Light Truck - Van||95||87||88||87||64|
|Light Truck - Other||1||1||1||11||8|
|Bicyclist and Other Cyclist||48||50||52||65||59|
As you can see, occupants of passenger cars had the highest fatality rates in each of the five years for which we have data. This is likely because passenger cars make up a fairly large portion of the vehicles on the road at any given time.
Fatalities by Crash Type
It’s also important to know about the kinds of crashes that cause the most fatalities. Next we’ve broken down the road fatalities in Texas by crash type.
|Involving a Large Truck||535||553||567||558||649|
|Involving a Rollover||1,011||1,091||983||1,020||942|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||1,836||1,912||1,800||1,860||1,832|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||668||667||709||719||724|
|Total Fatalities (All Crashes)||3,389||3,536||3,582||3,797||3,722|
Based on this data, we can see that the most lethal crash types are single vehicle, which had the highest number of fatalities in 2016 (1,982), and involving a roadway departure, which had its highest number of fatalities in 2014 (1,912).
Not sure what a roadway departure crash is? You’ve probably seen it, but we’ll define it for you. A roadway departure crash is one that occurs after a vehicle crosses an edge line or a center line, or otherwise leaves the traveled way.
Five-Year Trend For the Top 10 Counties
As we’ve said, the largest counties tend to have the most fatalities from car crashes. That’s why we’re going to show you the five-year trends for the 10 largest counties in Texas in the table below.
|El Paso County||60||66||62||81||58|
You can see that Harris County (the largest county) has fluctuated in its number of fatalities. Its number of fatalities, going up from 2013 to 2014, then decreasing in 2015, then rose again in 2016 and 2017.
Conversely, Montgomery, which is the smallest county on this list, steadily rose in its number of fatalities from 2013-2016, and then, fortunately, dropped from 76 fatalities in 2016 to 54 fatalities in 2017.
Fatalities Involving Speeding by County
Next, we’ve isolated just the speeding-related fatalities and broken them down by the top 25 counties.
|El Paso County||20||28||21||10||13|
Based on these numbers, we can see that once again Harris County has the highest number of speeding fatalities every year. And, also once again, Loving County has the lowest number of fatalities in this category, as they only had one speeding-related fatality in a five-year span.
Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County
We’ve previously talked about how dangerous drinking and driving is. Looking at the numbers for alcohol-related road fatalities should drive that point home.
|El Paso County||30||31||33||39||22|
|Fort Bend County||23||14||15||17||14|
Again, Harris County has the highest number of fatalities, with 202 in 2017. Dallas has the second-highest number of fatalities for drinking and driving, with 114 in 2017. Please just get a cab or rideshare; drinking and driving is never worth it.
Teen Drinking and Driving
Though the legal drinking age is 21, that doesn’t stop some young people from experimenting with alcohol. According to our data, there were 421 arrests for teens driving under the influence in Texas in 2016, making it the 34th-worst state for underage drinking and driving. However, getting arrested may have been better than the alternative, as 1.9 teens out of 100,000 died because of drunk driving in 2016.
All deaths related to drunk driving are tragic, but it feels especially tragic when a young person’s life is taken. Talk to your kids about the dangers of DUIs.
EMS Response Time
With all these facts about fatalities, we thought it was only appropriate to include some key information about how well EMS crews respond to accidents. Here’s a table detailing this data.
|EMS Response Times||Rural||Urban|
|Time of Crash to EMS Notification||10 minutes, 9 seconds||4 minutes, 47 seconds|
|Notification to EMS Arrival||16 minutes, 28 seconds||8 minutes, 17 seconds|
|EMS Arrival to Hospital Arrival||43 minutes, 22 seconds||27 minutes, 42 seconds|
|Time of Crash to Hospital Arrival||63 minutes, 38 seconds||38 minutes, 65 seconds|
You can see that if you’re in an accident in an urban setting, EMS will probably get to you more quickly. This is likely because there are more hospitals in urban areas than in rural areas, which means that there are more EMS services available and it won’t take them as long to get you to the nearest medical facility.
What is transportation like in Texas?
Now that we’ve looked at the unpleasant reality of fatalities on Texas roads, let’s move on to transportation. In this section, we’ll talk about how people get around in the Lone Star State.
Our first facts about Texas transportation involve car ownership. The most common number of cars per household in Texas is two, which is on par with the national average. About 42 percent of Texas households own two cars. The next most common number of cars is three, with 22 percent of Texas households falling into this category.
The average commute time for a Texas worker is 25.3 minutes. This is slightly lower than the average commute time for workers in the rest of the United States, which is 25.7 minutes. Only 2.27 percent of the workforce in Texas has a super commute taking longer than 90 minutes.
The majority of Texas workers (80.7 percent) drive to work alone. Carpoolers make up 9.76 percent of Texas commuters, while 5.6 percent of Texans have no commute at all because they work from home. Lucky them!
In this final section, we’re going to take a look at traffic congestion in Texas’ most populated city, Houston, to give you an idea about traffic in the Lone Star State.
INRIX shows that the average driver loses 98 hours to traffic in Houston per year. The congestion level for Houston traffic was 24 percent in 2019, which was 1 percent higher than the previous year. During the morning peak, the congestion level had an average of 43 percent, while the evening commute had a 60 percent congestion level. The combined congestion percentage for highways and non-highways was 48 percent.
For highways, the congestion level was 23 percent in 2019, and for non-highways, it was 25 percent. The cost of congestion for drivers per year is $1,365. Traffic in Houston tacks on an extra 13 minutes for morning commutes, 18 minutes for evening commutes, and adds 119 hours (4 days, 23 hours) to commutes per year.
According to Numbeo, Houston has a traffic index of 202.57, a time index of 41.22 minutes, and an inefficiency index of 240.52.
Not sure what these terms mean? We’re happy to explain them to you. A traffic index is a composite index of time consumed in traffic for a job commute, an estimation of dissatisfaction with time consumed, carbon dioxide consumption in traffic, and general inefficiencies caused by traffic. A time index is pretty simple to understand, as it’s just the average time needed to travel to a destination one way in minutes.
Finally, an inefficiency index is an estimation of inefficiencies caused by traffic. High inefficiencies are caused by the fact that people drive a car instead of taking public transport or because of long commutes.
Hopefully, you’ve learned a bit about car insurance and driving in the Lone Star State. Now, it’s time to start comparing car insurance rates. But first, did we miss anything? Which section was most helpful to you? And when you’re ready to start shopping, just enter your ZIP code below.