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Texas Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

Texas Statistics SummaryDetails
Road MilesTotal in State: 313,596
Vehicle Miles Driven: 243,706 million
VehiclesRegistered: 20,431,631
Total Stolen: 68,546
State Population28,701,845
Most Popular VehicleF150
Percentage of Motorists Uninsured14.1%
State Rank: 16th
Driving DeathsSpeeding (2008-2017): 12,024
Drunk Driving Total: 3,776
Average Premiums (Annual) Liability: $528.75
Collision: $374.49
Comprehensive: $206.42
Combined: $1,109.66
Cheapest ProviderUSAA
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Auto insurance is that necessary evil: the thing we don’t want to pay for but have to, as auto insurance became mandatory. In Texas, as of 2017, there were a little over 17 million licensed drivers, and out of these drivers, over $900 million was paid by Texas drivers to protect themselves against uninsured drivers!

Being that the average Texan drove nearly 16,000 miles in 2014, this means auto insurance is an important topic.

And why is it so important? Many people have misconceptions when it comes to auto insurance (the strangest myth being the color of your car relating to how much you’ll pay for insurance).

The average Texan must pay a little over $1,000 a year for minimum coverage. That’s a lot of dough to be throwing around!

Confused about where to start? Sit a spell, and keep on reading…

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Table of Contents

Texas Auto Insurance Coverage and Rates

Want to know where that $1,000 a year is going, and want to know exactly what you’re paying for?

We are here to help! This guide will break down your seemingly endless policy options, talk about why coverage is important, and be the thesaurus for those terms insurance agents love to throw around.

We aren’t here to push anything on you. We’re just experts on the topic of auto insurance, and we want to help YOU!

Saddle on up, and let’s get a movin’ before you’re caught driving without auto insurance.

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Texas

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Insurance RequiredMinimum Limits: 30/60/25
Bodily Injury Liability$30,000 per person
$60,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability $25,000

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Explained: Liability auto insurance coverage pays any person owed compensation for property damage and/or injuries that result from a car accident that you/anyone under your policy causes.

Liability coverage takes effect when you, or anyone you’ve given permission to, drives your vehicle. Sometimes, this extends to rental cars as well.

Broken Down: The law requires the following as state minimums for car insurance in Texas:

  • $30,000 for injury or death for one person.
  • $60,000 for injury or death per accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage liability per accident.

Remember: This is the minimum coverage you must carry if you want to drive in Texas.

Automobile accidents that involve death do happen, and if the auto insurance company determines fault, you alone will be held financially responsible.

Can’t afford the minimum amount of auto insurance in Texas? Request help from TAIPA — more information is down below.

Required Forms of Financial Responsibility in Texas

The law in Texas requires all drives and vehicle owners to have proof of insurance and financial responsibility at all times. You must show proof of insurance when you:

  • Are asked for it by a police officer.
  • Get into a car accident.
  • Register or renew your car’s registration.
  • Apply or renew your driver’s license.
  • Have your auto inspected

Here are some of the acceptable Forms of Financial Responsibility:

  1. Proof-of-insurance card.
  2. Financial responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22), for at-risk drivers.
  3. Surety bond.
  4. $55,000 cash or securities deposit with the state Comptroller.
  5. $55,000 cash or cashier’s check deposit with the county judge of the county in which the car is registered.

Don’t risk not having insurance! Texas’ state program, TexasSure, is used by law enforcement in the state of Texas to check whether a vehicle is uninsured.

Now let’s take a look at how much Texas residents are making versus how much they’re spending on auto insurance.

Premiums as Percentage of Income in Texas

In 2017, the annual disposable personal income in Texas stood at about $42,000.

Clarification: disposable personal income (DPI) is the total amount of money available for an individual to spend (or save) after all taxes are paid.

Annual minimum coverage auto insurance in Texas costs about $1,300 a year, which is three percent of the average DPI.

The average Texan has about $4,900 each month to spend on the necessities. The auto insurance bill alone will deduct about $100 a month out of that — and much more for anything over the minimum coverage and/or with a less-than-perfect driving record.

Now, you may be wondering: how does that factor into rates? Keep on reading…

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates in TX (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates in Texas
Auto Insurance by Coverage TypeAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates in TX
Full Coverage$1109.66
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The above table provides the most recent data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Rates in Texas will be higher in 2019, and in the coming years.

Don’t forget: Texas has minimum requirements for liability coverage, with coverage amounts starting at 30/60/25.

Rest easy! In Texas, if you have no-fault insurance, your rates do not increase as a result of making any kind of personal injury claim as a result of a vehicle accident.

Let’s go over some of the popular coverage options to add to a minimum auto insurance policy.
Compare the price of auto insurance measures up with other states on average.

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Additional Liability Coverage in Texas

Loss Ratio201220132014
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) 64%66%60%
Medical Payments (Med Pay) 66%69%70%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist54%51%64%
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Fact: Med Pay, Personal Injury Protection, Uninsured, and Underinsured Motorist coverage are optional in Texas, but they’re still important to have. How come? In 2015, 14.1 percent of motorists in Texas were uninsured. If you’re caught without insurance, you’ll have to pony up the dough…and it’ll leave you with little to nothing in your pocket.

This may come as a surprise: Texas is ranked 16th in the nation for having a high percentage of uninsured motorists.

When it comes to loss ratios in the state of Texas (among insurance providers) in the year 2017, the percentages range anywhere from 61 to 101 percent.

A real-time example of a 61 percent loss ratio: you pay $1,000 for coverage and your provider pays $610 for damages. Doesn’t seem like much of a deal, does it?

Here’s how the attorneys at Murphy and Prachthauser explain it:
“Lower pay loss ratio means the insurance company is paying more for salaries, defense costs, and advertising, rather than paying the policyholders who purchased their coverage. All other things being equal, try to find auto insurance companies with a higher pay loss ratio.”

Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders in Texas

If you’re like anybody looking for a deal, getting the most coverage for the best price is your main goal.

Good news: there are lots of bargain extras you can add to your policy.

Just take a look at the list of the useful extras that are available to you in Texas:

  • Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
  • Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
  • Non-Owner Auto Insurance
  • Modified Auto Insurance Coverage
  • Classic Auto Insurance
  • Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance

You can also save money if you don’t drive much. Read on to find out how!

Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance in Texas

A study was done by the Texas A&M Mobility Institute (with the help of Progressive) from the years 2005 to 2007 conducted a Pay-As-You-Drive study in the Dallas-Forth Worth region. The study showed several surprising things:

  1. Less driving time: annually, driving time with PAYD implemented went down by 5 percent.
  2. Less commuting time: annually, a 3.2 percent reduction in mileage took place during peak commute times.

If you don’t drive a lot, and the option of PAYD sounds attractive to you as a Texas driver; take this quiz on usage-based car insurance to see you’re a good candidate.

What might not sound so attractive are the unfair prices in terms of auto insurance.

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Average Auto Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in TX

Popular myth: men pay more for auto insurance. This myth about male vs. female auto insurance rates seems to be a reality in Texas.

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Texas Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Age and Gender
CompaniesAnnual Rates for a Married 60-Year-Old FemaleAnnual Rates for a Married 60-Year-Old MaleAnnual Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old FemaleAnnual Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old MaleAnnual Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old FemaleAnnual Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old MaleAnnual Rates for a Single 17-Year-Old FemaleAnnual Rates for a Single 17-Year-Old Male
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,797.39$1,797.39$2,020.71$2,020.71$2,195.23$2,262.71$4,814.71$6,130.76
Nationwide CCMIC$2,146.15$2,275.09$2,430.55$2,473.88$2,851.87$3,088.49$6,856.66$8,817.88
Progressive Cty Mtl$2,219.05$2,262.84$2,496.28$2,372.24$2,956.93$2,997.99$10,406.29$11,607.15
Geico County Mutual Ins Co.$2,340.42$2,649.67$2,433.73$2,622.73$2,632.39$2,627.86$5,298.09$5,502.21
The Gen Automobile Ins Co Inc$2,712.68$3,109.48$2,918.37$3,249.14$4,191.50$4,782.23$7,713.17$10,116.84
Allstate F&C$3,520.01$3,520.01$3,564.65$3,599.14$4,410.14$4,599.76$9,359.61$11,309.20
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In Texas, both Geico and Progressive charge males more than females who have the exact same profile and driving record.

How much more, you might ask? Our researchers discovered that males in Texas are charged as much as $189 a year more than females who are the same age and have identical backgrounds and driving records.

Depending on the age and marital status of the Texas driver, the costs increase even further. For instance, a single 17-year-old male will pay almost $2,000 more a year than a female with the same driving record!

Knowing what companies offer the best rates will help to lessen the strain on your wallet…and your life.

Texas Auto Insurance Rates by ZIP Code

The chart and table below show the most expensive auto insurance rates, by ZIP code.

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ZIP CodeCityAverage Annual Rate by ZIP Code
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Which areas have the least expensive rates? We have that data for you too!

ZIP CodeCityAverage Annual Rate by ZIP Codes
76306WICHITA FALLS$3,210.65
76309WICHITA FALLS$3,315.43
76310WICHITA FALLS$3,351.57
76311SHEPPARD AFB$3,351.07
76901SAN ANGELO$3,157.68
76903SAN ANGELO$3,331.83
76904SAN ANGELO$3,158.56
76905SAN ANGELO$3,322.35
76908GOODFELLOW AFB$3,281.51
76909SAN ANGELO$3,224.21

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If you live in the San Angelo area ZIP codes, you luck out when it comes to cheap rates on auto insurance. Houston, not so much.

Texas Auto Insurance Rates by City

The city where you live also impacts your insurance rate.

First, let’s look at the most expensive cities in Texas:

CityAverage Annual Rate by City
Cockrell Hill$4,805.29
North Houston$4,799.60
South Houston$4,748.61
Galena Park$4,739.02

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Now, here are the cities where the rates are a bit lower.

CityAverage Annual Rate by City
Grape Creek$3,157.68
San Angelo$3,259.24
Goodfellow AFB$3,281.51

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Once again, people who live in San Angelo luck out.

Okay now that you have all that background information on auto insurance requirements and rates in your state, let’s find out which insurance providers in Texas have the best — and worst — ratings and reviews.

Read on to find out the true reputation of the insurance provider who would be lucky to have your business.

Texas Auto Insurance Companies

There are auto insurance providers as far as the eye can see, and it may be confusing or stressful to try and choose one. Who can you trust? Let us help you figure it out!

Read on to find out who the best providers are (and why) across The Lone Star State.

Ratings! How Texas Auto Insurance Companies Compare

Let’s dive right in and begin with their financial strength.

The 10 Largest Texas Auto Insurance Companies’ Financial Ratings

Providers (by Size-Largest at Top)A.M. Best Rating
State FarmA++
Farmers InsuranceA
Liberty MutualA
Texas Farm Bureau Mutual GroupA-
Consumers County MutualNR
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What’s just as important as how financially secure they are? How they treat YOU, the customer! Let’s see the auto insurance ratings based on customer service in Texas.

Texas’s Auto Insurance Companies with the BEST Customer Ratings

“Customer satisfaction breeds loyalty.” — J.D. Power Business Consultant

A grand total of 861 out of 1,000 possible points puts the Texas Farm Bureau as the best auto insurance provider in Texas to win J.D. Power’s 2018 Study.

Residents of Texas ranked the Texas Farm Bureau and Allstate as being “better than most” or “among the best.”

It’s good to know the positives, but it’s also good to know the negatives, and when customers are unhappy. A bad review every once in a while? You can’t please everyone.
Multiple bad reviews? Start paying attention!

Texas’s Auto Insurance Companies with the MOST Customer Complaints

CompanyNumber of Complaints
State Farm129
Old American County118
Geico County Mutual Insurance 99
Home State County Mutual Insurance90
Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance89
Progressive County Mutual Insurance86
American Access74
Liberty County Mutual64
Loya Insurance53
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In 2017, a total of 1,402 complaints were registered against auto insurance companies in Texas.

With 129 complaints in 2017 alone, State Farm is not high in the thoughts of the people of Texas.

Texas’s Auto Insurance Rates by Company

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Texas Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Company
CompaniesAverage Annual Auto Insurance Rates
State Farm $2,879.95
Geico $3,263.39
Nationwide $3,867.57
Progressive $4,664.85
The General$4,849.18

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Allstate, rated by J.D. Powers as “better than most” in terms of customer satisfaction, has one of the most expensive annual rates. Which goes to show that, as a J.D. Power Business Consultant says, “Cost is not the sole indicator of customer satisfaction in the auto insurance industry.”

Coverage Rates in Texas by Company

Different levels of auto insurance coverage are available. Take a look at this table to get an idea of what level, and what insurer, may be best for your budget.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Coverage Level in Texas
State Farm$2,729.50$2,870.49$3,039.86
American Family$4,517.27$4,672.73$5,357.52

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Allstate is the company with the highest coverage rates, regardless of level of coverage. USAA has the lowest coverage rates, regardless of the level of coverage.

Commute Rates in Texas by Company

Your daily commute also impacts your rate. Here’s a comparison by company and annual commute miles.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Coverage Level in Texas
Companies10-mile commute.
6,000 annual mileage.
25-mile commute. 12,000 annual mileage.
State Farm$2,879.95$2,879.95
American Family$4,849.18$4,849.18

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Commute times definitely don’t affect your rates nearly as much as some other factors.

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Credit History Rates in Texas by Company

One thing insurance companies look at is your credit history. The better your credit rating, the better rates you are likely to get.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Credit History in Texas
State Farm$2,023.50$2,538.85$4,077.51
American Family$3,672.27$4,205.41$6,669.84

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Driving Record Rates in Texas by Company

How’s your driving record? DUIs, speeding tickets and accidents can all drive up your rates. The more you have, the more you’re likely to pay.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Driving Record in Texas
CompaniesClean recordWith one speeding violationWith one accidentWith one DUI
State Farm$2,561.35$2,561.35$2,934.63$3,462.47
American Family$4,418.84$5,627.66$4,418.84$4,931.37

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The 10 Largest Auto Insurance Companies in Texas

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State Farm has the largest market share in Texas. Below you can see who else rounds out the top 10 insurers in the state.
CompanyDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
State Farm $3,563,12078.29%16.83%
Liberty Mutual$1,195,73583.96%5.65%
Texas Farm Bureau Mutual$693,00477.31%3.27%
Consumers County Mutual$541,82586.45%2.56%

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Remember, when it comes to loss ratio, you are looking for companies with a higher pay loss ratio. Geico and USAA hold the spots on the list as the companies with the highest loss ratios.

Number of Insurers in Texas

Texas has a great number of providers to choose from! Domestically, Texas has 199 providers, whereas when it comes to foreign providers, there are 937! The Lone Star State is top in the nation when it comes to the number of domestic providers, and close to the top when it comes to the number of foreign providers.

Now that you’re an expert on auto insurance in Texas, let’s get you up to speed on the laws!

Laws in Texas

In order to keep your auto insurance rates low, you must follow the law. And pleading ignorance on anything involving the law won’t work anywhere in Texas.

Pleading ignorance also won’t get you out of a fine for breaking the law!

Well saddle on up and let’s get going! Let’s take a look at the laws in Texas and commit them to memory.

Texas’s Auto Insurance Laws

Okay, there are a lot of laws to know and commit to memory. But, bear with me! They are important, as they keep dangerous drivers off the road and hold the insurance providers accountable.

This means that it’s good for you as a safe and responsible Texas driver.

How Texas’s Insurance Rates and Laws are Determined

The Texas Department of Insurance has a long history, dating all the way back to 1876. They have stepped in, when necessary when it comes to making sure Texas insurance companies play by the rules and play fair.

According to Texas law, it “requires insurance rates to be reasonable, adequate, not discriminatory, and not excessive.”

In other words, insurance rates have to be affordable, and insurance companies cannot discriminate against anyone who wants insurance.

The TDI states that “Auto insurance companies in Texas set their own rates and file them with TDI for review.” The forms are regulated under Chapter 2301 of the Texas Insurance Code. Also, “companies don’t have to get approval before using their rates, but TDI can make a company refund money to policyholders if it decides the company’s rates are excessive.”

High-Risk Insurance in Texas

In Texas, a high-risk driver must apply through TAIPA to receive a type of high-risk insurance called SR-22.

Why might you, as a Texas driver, need an SR-22?

  • If you’ve been involved in multiple accidents.
  • If you’ve received multiple tickets for moving violations.
  • If you had an accident involving involuntary manslaughter.
  • If you’ve received a DUI.
  • If you are a criminally negligent driver.
  • If you drive without a license or with a suspended license.

The above events are just a sampling of reasons a motorist would be required to carry this more expensive, high-risk insurance as proof of their liability in Texas, and you will have to carry this for three years.

Your insurance provider will file your SR-22 with the Texas DMV for all vehicles that are registered under your name or that are driven by you.

Low-Cost or Low-Income Insurance in Texas

Worried you can’t afford auto insurance required in Texas but don’t want to break the law? There’s a program in place that might be perfect for you!

TAIPA not only provides high risk insurance, but also affordable minimums for Texans who’ve been rejected by other insurance companies!

Here’s a list of requirements for drivers to qualify for TAIPA:

  • Have a valid driver’s license.
  • Be a resident of the state of Texas/have a vehicle registered in Texas.
  • Certify you’ve been rejected by two insurance companies within the last 60 days.

And the best part! TAIPA offers convenient payment options!

Texas’s Windshield and Glass Repair Laws

There are no specific laws when it comes to windshields and the repair of windshields in Texas. Learn more about Texas Windshield Insurance here.

The Texas Department of Safety mentions this when it comes to windshields:

The windshield is NOT an item of inspection. However, the windshield wipers are. Be sure that the crack does not cause the wipers to tear and that the crack has not caused the windshield to become concave or convex so the wipers loose contact with the windshield.”

It is left purely up to an officer’s discretion as to whether to ticket you or not. Your car may pass inspection, but an officer can still ticket you if they determine your road vision is impaired.

It is also left up to your discretion on whether to repair or replace your windshield. If the crack is less than three inches in length, you can repair it and are allowed to repair it with aftermarket and used parts of like kind and quality. If the windshield is cracked in your line of sight, some shops might decline to repair it; if it’s too damaged you’ll have to replace it, which can cost you a few hundred dollars.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Texas

Texas takes auto insurance fraud very seriously, and it is considered a crime.

Fact: Insurance fraud is one of the most costly white-collar crimes in America, ranking second to tax evasion.

Just in 2017 alone, 490 insurance fraud reports were opened for criminal investigation, and $18 million in fraud was identified!

A common fraud scheme in Texas has to do with people selling fake automobile insurance.

Another common insurance fraud practice in Texas is auto accident fraud.

When it comes to accident fraud, watch out for:

  • Backing.
  • Phantom vehicle.
  • The “swoop and squat”.
  • An accident-only existing on paper.
  • Padding a claim with fake or inflated damages.
  • Filing a claim for an accident that never happened.
  • Reporting a vehicle lost/stolen when it is not.
  • Giving up the right-of-way to cause an accident.
  • People who cause a collision and make it look like you were at fault.

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Texas’s Laws Against Insurance Fraud

Everyone pays for insurance fraud, according to the TDI:

“The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that property and casualty based insurance fraud cost Americans $30 billion per year…the average household pays an additional $200 to $300 in insurance premiums every year to offset the cost of fraud. The ‘hidden fraud tax’ paid in the form of higher prices for goods and services, may increase the cost to $1,000 per year, per family.”

Here are four ways the state of Texas works to fight fraud and protect insurance customers:

  1. Texas law states that insurance fraud is a crime.
  2. Texas has established a fraud unit, and where you can report cases online.
  3. Texas lists the licensed status of all insurance agents and companies in the state.
  4. Texas makes sure those who are victims of insurance fraud get restitution.

In addition, the Texas Insurance Fraud Statute, Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 35, states:
“A person commits an offense if, with intent to defraud or deceive an insurer, the person solicits, offers, pays, or receives a benefit in connection with the furnishing of goods or services for which a claim for payment is submitted under an insurance policy.”
With the amount of fraud committed in Texas, no wonder some insurance bills are so high!

Texas Lemon Law

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! That’s what the Texas Lemon Law strives to help you do.

If you have purchased or leased a new car and it develops an issue that affects its ability to run properly, you may be eligible for relief under the Texas Lemon Law.

You have to allow the manufacturer a reasonable amount of time/attempts to fix the problem. What is considered a reasonable attempt?

  • The Four Times Test.
  • The Serious Safety Hazard Test.
  • The 30 Day Test.

Cars, trucks, motorcycles, motor homes, and ATVs are all covered under the Lemon Law.

Do you think you might have a lemon of a car? Learn more about what you can do at the Texas DMV Consumer Protection website.

Texas’s Vehicle Licensing Laws

Are you frustrated with how expensive auto insurance in Texas is? You aren’t alone!

But let’s face it, it’s better to pay for the coverage than to break the law and drive without auto insurance.

Besides the fact that TexasSure can be utilized by law enforcement to check whether you are insured, it’s not worth it drive without insurance. Why?

Texas DMV has instated a Driver Responsibility Program or DRP. If you commit a traffic offense, a surcharge is added to your driver record. Driving without insurance gives you a surcharge of up to $250.

The Texas DPS reviews driver records and surcharges annually:

“The amount of a surcharge can vary with each annual assessment if convictions are added or removed from the driver record. The number of points on a record can vary each year based on convictions that are added or removed. Please be aware there is a lapse in time from the date you are convicted for an offense and the date your conviction is reported to DPS by the courts. As a result, points may be added to or deducted from your record for offenses committed in the previous 12-month period.”

Teen Driver Laws in Texas

In the state of Texas, teens can get a learner’s permit, at the age of 15.

A teenager might think that they are home free once they get a license, but there are certain restrictions:

  • Cannot drive from midnight-5 a.m.
  • Cannot have more than one passenger younger than 21.
  • Cannot use a cell phone while driving.

The leash will be loosened eventually: any restrictions listed above expire at the age of 18.

License Renewal Procedures and Older Drivers in Texas

Did you know? No matter how old you are, every driver in Texas must get their license renewed every six years.

If you are 85 or older, you must get your license renewed every two years.

In addition:

  1. You cannot renew online or through the mail.
  2. You must provide proof of adequate vision with every renewal (79 or older).

These procedures, however, are a small price to pay for the freedom and mobility of driving a vehicle!

New Residents of Texas

Very Important! You have 30 days from the time you move to Texas to register your vehicle.

You must have your vehicle inspected, and you must show you have insurance coverage, the minimum being 30/60/25.

What if you want to travel to other places?

Driving in other states, Canada, and Mexico

Your insurance should cover you if you drive anywhere in the United States and Canada.

As a warning: your policy won’t cover you in Mexico because Mexico doesn’t recognize U.S. auto policies.

Some insurance companies do offer Mexico tourist endorsements to add to your policy:

This endorsement extends your liability coverage to pay costs exceeding a Mexican liability policy’s limits. It covers trips of any distance and any length of time. Ask your agent which endorsements your insurance company offers.

Driving Record Points in Texas

Racking up the points is good if you’re trying to win a game. They’re not so good when you’re talking about your driving record.

ViolationPointsLicense Suspended If
Moving violation24 or more moving violations within 12 months, or 7 within 24 months
Collision3Surcharge if points reach over 6
Various traffic violations (not limited to running a red light, speeding, and failure to yield)2Surcharge if points reach over 6
Causing an accident while uninsured-Automatic suspension
Drug and alcohol violations-Automatic suspension
Deaths due to reckless driving-Automatic suspension
Underage drinking-Automatic suspension
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Texas Rules of the Road

After reading through all of the violations, penalties, and ways you can quickly pile on the points, don’t you want to do all you can to stay above the law?

We’re here to help!! Scroll down to quickly learn the MUST-KNOW LAWS in Texas that every driver needs to follow or else they’ll pay — in more ways than one.

Fault vs No-Fault

Texas is a “Fault State” in regards to auto insurance. But what does this mean??

When a car accident occurs in Texas, one of the drivers will be found to be at-fault by the police. The at-fault driver will have to pay for medical expenses, damages, and all other costs caused by the collision.

The liability limits are as follows:

  • $30,000 for injury or death for one person.
  • $60,000 for injury or death per accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage liability per accident.

Keep in mind: This is just the bare minimum! According to the lawyers at Sutliff and Stout:

“Depending on the extent of damage to property, or injuries sustained by a person in an accident, the minimum might not cover the whole recovery amount. If the injured driver’s injuries or damages exceed the coverage amount of the at-fault driver’s insurance, then the injured driver would be able to sue the at-fault driver to collect the difference. In this situation, because Texas follows a Modified Comparative Negligence rule, an injured party would not be able to recover anything in court if it is found that he or she is at least 51% at fault regarding the accident.”

Speed Limits in Texas

Texas is one of the fastest states in the nation when it comes to speed laws.

Here are the speed limits across the state of Texas:

Rural interstates
Urban interstates
Other limited access roads
Other roads
75; 80 or 85 on specified segment of road757575
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Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws in Texas

Since September 1, 1985, seat belt rules in Texas have been primary laws, meaning that police officers can pull over drivers if anyone in the car appears to be breaking the restraint requirements. When it’s a secondary law, officers need another, bigger reason to pull the driver over.

That’s not all! Texas is one of 30 states that has laws in place prohibiting passengers from riding in the bed of pick up trucks.

Child safety seat laws in Texas mandate Texans must place their kids in safety seats if they are seven years old or younger. There are other requirements and child safety laws in Texas.

Ridesharing in Texas

On May 29, 2018, Texas Governor Greg About signed House Bill 100 into law.

Drivers for rideshares must pass a background check that covers local, state, and national seraches. It also requires a state permit.

As an Uber or Lyft driver, you also must maintain proof of registration and insurance for every vehicle you use.

Automation on the Roads in Texas

Ahead of the game! While most states only allow automatic vehicles to be tested, Texas is one of only 12 states that allows “full deployment” of automatic vehicles on its public roads.

Laws regarding autonomous vehicles in Texas — as of September 2017:

Autonomous Vehicle Laws in TexasRequirements
Driving AllowedFull deployment
Operator's License RequiredNo
Operator Required to be in the VehicleNo
Liability Insurance RequiredYes
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Keep Right and Move Over Laws in Texas

If you’re going to drive slower than the average speed of the traffic around you, you must keep right as a driver in Texas.

Texas Transportation Code 544.01 states:
If, on a highway having more than one lane with vehicles traveling in the same direction, the Texas Department of Transportation or a local authority places a sign that directs slower traffic to travel in a lane other than the farthest left lane, the sign must read “left lane for passing only.”

Texas’s Laws Against Driving Impaired

This is not a ranking to be proud of: Texas is two spots away from the top 10 worst states for drunk driving, coming in at number 12. And in 2017, Texas had 1,468 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.

DUI Laws in TexasDetails
Formal Name for OffenseDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)
BAC Limit0.08
High BAC Limit0.15
Criminal Status1st class B misdemeanor, 2nd in 5 years class A misdemeanor, 3rd+ third degree feonies
Lookback/Washout Periodunlimited/lifetime for sentencing; 5 years for 2nd+ when determining need for IID
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What the heck is a look-back period?: the look-back or washout period is the amount of time an offense remains on your record.

In regards to a DWI, Texas Is one of about a dozen states where if you are caught Driving While Intoxicated, it is on your record for the rest of your life. For subsequent offenses, you have a five year look-back period where it’s determined if an offender must install an ignition interlock.

Here’s the break down for the first, second, and third DWIs in Texas:

DWI Penalties in TexasFinesJail TimeDriver's License Revoked? Fees to Retain Driver's License
First OffenseUp to $2,000
Three days to 180 daysLoss of driver license up to a yearAnnual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license
Second Offense Up to $4,000One month to a yearLoss of driver license up to two yearsAnnual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license
Third Offense$10,000 Two to 10 yearsLoss of driver license up to two yearsAnnual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license
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So think about whether it’s worth it to get in a car in Texas if you are intoxicated.

Now, how about marijuana? Surely that’s safer than alcohol, right?

Don’t even think about it. Possession of marijuana and its use is illegal in the state of Texas.

Researchers at the TTI hope that with their research, they will learn about the safety impacts of marijuana use:

“Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2013–2014 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers show alcohol use prior to driving is decreasing, while drug use (specifically marijuana) is increasing. ‘With the passage of the 2015 law, learning more about the traffic safety implications of medicinal and legalized marijuana use is critical for the future of our state,’ says Troy Walden, director of TTI’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Education Studies.

Distracted Driving Laws in Texas

Crash data proves that driving distracted can be just as deadly as driving impaired.

In Texas, a hand-held ban is imposed on “drivers in school crossing zones and on public school property during the time the reduced speed limit applies.”

Here are the laws in Texas regarding phone use behind the wheel:

Hand-held banDrivers in school crossing zones and
on public school property during
the time the reduced speed limit applies
Young drivers all cellphone banDrivers younger than 18
Texting banAll drivers
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The Texas texting ban recently took effect on September 1, 2017. Some cities have even gone above and beyond a texting ban and have instituted a hands-free ban of their own.

Texas Can’t-Miss Facts

We have given you quite a bit of information in this Texas Auto Insurance Guide so far. Skimming through the above guide would allow you to have a good understanding of the laws surrounding auto insurance in The Lone Star State.

So you know how auto insurance works and the laws governing drivers, but do you know the risks involved with driving and owning a car in Texas?

As much as we want you to have insurance for when things go wrong, it’s more important to us that you know how to avoid having things go wrong in the first place.

The section below will give you quick, clear facts to help you know what dangers to look out for as a responsible car owner and operator in Texas.

Vehicle Theft in Texas

What car do you drive? Check out these stolen vehicles totals for 2015:

Make and ModelYearTotal Thefts
Ford Pickup (Full Size)20067,897
Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)20046,158
Dodge Pickup (Full Size)20042,898
Honda Accord19971,626
GMC Pickup (Full Size)20151,450
Honda Civic20001,371
Chevrolet Tahoe20041,148
Toyota Camry20141,030
Nissan Altima2012957
Chevrolet Impala2007898
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Seems like Texas thieves love to target pickup trucks, as they take the top three spots for the most stolen vehicles.

Most people think this stuff doesn’t happen where they live . . . hate to break it to you, but it does.

Here are the totals provided by the FBI for 2013:

Top Ten Cities in Texas With Most Vehicle TheftsNumber of Stolen Vehicles
San Antonio6,577
Fort Worth2,399
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Houston takes the top spot, as do some of the other big cities in Texas.

Texas’s Deadly Car Crash Statistics

Let’s dive right into an alarming 10-Year Trend of Deaths resulting from car crashes on Texas roadways.

Road Type2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
Rural 1,7611,6521,4621,4641,696 1,6631,7801,6221,5901,504
Urban1,6291,4371,5461,5821,711 1,7261,7501,9482,2052,205
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Big Question: “Where are these deadly crashes happening??”

Below are the ten cities in Texas with the highest death rates. The traffic death rate and the total number of deaths in 2016 are listed for each city; data collected by the NHTSA:

CityTotal DeathsDeath Rate (per 100,000 residents)
Corpus Christi309.21
El Paso679.81
Fort Worth8610.07
San Antonio19813.27
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And, here is a five-year trend for the 10 counties in Texas with the most car crashes resulting in deaths:

10 County Total1,3261,3581,445 1,6141,499
El Paso6066628158
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Okay, we have covered the WHERE, now let’s move on to WHO.

What were these people doing when they were killed? Walking, riding a bike, travelling by car (and what type?), driving a motorcycle?

Here’s a five-year trend for Texas traffic deaths by who exactly was killed:

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Now let’s answer another big question: “What types of crashes are killing all these people in Texas?”

Check out this very telling five-year trend for Texas’s traffic fatalities:

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Single Vehicle Crash1,8151,9131,8481,9821,914
Large Truck Involved535553567558649
Speeding Involved1,1811,2771,1251,0761,029
Rollover Involved1,0111,0919831,020942
Roadway Departure Involved1,8361,9121,8001,8601,832
Involving an Intersection668667709719724
State Total3,3893,5363,5823,7873,722
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As you can, see motorists driving too fast is a huge problem in Texas.

Speeding has been the cause of over a thousand deaths in Texas for three consecutive years now.

Look below to see where specifically in Texas speeding is the biggest problem.

El Paso2028211013
Montgomery County2125182112
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Still not convinced speeding is a big deal? Well, it is! Don’t do it.

Shaving a few minutes off of your commute isn’t worth killing someone!

See for yourself. Compare the speeding death counts above with the drunk driving death counts below.

Drunk Driving Deaths in Texas

Now that you know the DWI penalties in Texas including the fines and jail time, let’s look at the most serious consequence of driving drunk: death.

Check out this eye-opening trend for deaths caused by drivers impaired by alcohol in Texas:

El Paso3031333922
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You can clearly see how deadly drunk driving is by the number of lives it claims each year, but are you aware of how early this treacherous behavior is starting?

There is no age when drunk driving is acceptable, but under age (illegal) drinking mixed with less experienced teen drivers is a downright horrifying combination.

Here’s some Under Age Drunk Driving stats for Texas in 2016:

  • Under 18 DWI Arrests: 421
  • Under 18 DWI Arrest Rate: 8.4 percent
  • Under 21 Drunk Driving Death Rate: 1.9

Note: The above drunk driving arrest rate is for every 100k residents under the age of 18, while the death rate listed is per 100k Texas residents of all ages.

EMS Response Time in Texas

Let’s see how fast Texas’s Emergency Medical Services are to arrive on the scene of an accident, or how fast they’d get to your home in the event you’re hurt in a zombie apocalypse.

If you’re hurt in a car accident, the state is well equipped with medical teams to help!

EMS Response TimesRuralUrban
Time of Crash to EMS Notification10 minutes, 9 seconds4 minutes, 47 seconds
Notification to EMS Arrival16 minutes, 28 seconds8 minutes, 17 seconds
EMS Arrival to Hospital Arrival43 minutes, 22 seconds27 minutes, 42 seconds
Time of Crash to Hospital Arrival63 minutes, 38 seconds38 minutes, 65 seconds
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You fare better living in an urban area, as it takes them about five minutes to get on the scene as opposed to 10 minutes in a rural area. And in a rural area, it can take a little over an HOUR to get you to the nearest hospital — This is cut nearly in half in an urban area, as it takes about 38 minutes.

The average EMS response times in Texas listed above were provided by the NHTSA for urban fatal car crashes in 2016.

Texas Transportation

So, how many cars does the average Texan own?

Interesting Fact: In Texas, only two cars tend to grace most driveways.

In 2016, 21 percent of Texas households had one car, 42.5 percent had two, and 21.8 percent had three.

Employees in Texas find that it doesn’t take them too much time to get to work. The average commute time for Texans is 25.2 minutes, and only 2.34 percent of the Texas workforce report have commute times of 90 minutes or more.

Fun Fact: A study found longer commute times in Texas doesn’t necessarily lead to more stress, though researchers were unable to explain why.

On the topic of commutes, most Texans seem to like to go at it alone: 80.5 percent of Texans drive the herd into town alone.

While we are on the topic of traffic, let’s look at what parts of Texas have it the worst.

Texas Cities with the Most Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion seems to be a problem in Texas, and quite so. It’s a big state.

But let’s see how traffic congestion in Texas cities compares to the rest of the world.

In 2018, INRIX (a team of traffic experts) performed the largest global traffic study in history, which analyzed congestion in over 1,360 cities in 38 counties.

Six cities are on the list, with averages being between 60 to 104 hours stuck in traffic each year.

Let’s take a look at the six cities that fare the worst:

CityAnnual Hours Stuck in Traffic
Corpus Christi66
El Paso66
San Antonio60
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Though these congestion times are still high, Texas is on a positive trend! For instance, San Antonio has more than cut its congestion time in half since 2017.

Don’t wait a minute longer to protect what’s most important — start comparing auto insurance today!


  1. https://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/cb020.html
  2. https://content.naic.org/
  3. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists
  4. http://www.helpinsure.com//auto/documents/cpautoci17.pdf
  5. https://www.naic.org/prod_serv/AUT-PB-14.pdf
  6. http://texascarlaws.com/cracked-windshield/
  7. https://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/consumer-protection/lemon-law
  8. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-8/table-8-state-cuts/table_8_offenses_known_to_law_enforcement_texas_by_city_2013.xls
  9. https://dshs.texas.gov/emstraumasystems/default.shtm

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