Texas law requires drivers to show proof they can pay for any automotive accident they cause. Most drivers meet the requirement by buying auto liability insurance. If you are caught driving without car insurance, you could be fined as much as $350 for a first offense. When you buy auto insurance, your conviction for driving without insurance will increase your annual premiums by an average of 5%, according to WalletHub.
If you have been injured in a car accident in San Antonio, TX, contact a car accident attorney with the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover for help. We can determine whether the driver who hit you has insurance or other assets that we can seek as compensation for your medical bills and other losses. If you were driving without insurance, but the other driver was at fault, we can help you, too. Get in touch today for a free initial consultation.
Different Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Texas
If you are driving in Texas and are stopped by police, they may ask you to show proof that your car is insured, such as with the minimum amount of auto liability coverage required by the state. You may have an insurance card or you may show proof of insurance on your phone or a similar device.
If the other driver causes a crash and has auto liability coverage, the at-fault driver’s insurance pays your medical bills and the medical expenses of your passengers. The other driver’s insurance also pays for your car repairs up to the policy limits.
Texas law requires car owners to have at least $30,000 worth of coverage for injuries per person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 of coverage for property damage. This is called 30/60/25 coverage.
If you cannot immediately prove you have insurance, you will be ticketed. The charge, a misdemeanor, will be dismissed if you prove in court that you had insurance coverage at the time.
If you do not have insurance, you may be fined:
- First offense: $175 to $350. If the court determines that you cannot pay the fine, the court may reduce the fine to less than $175.
- Second and subsequent offenses: $350 to $1,000. You may also have your license and vehicle registration suspended for two years.
Upon a second or subsequent conviction, you will be required to maintain insurance coverage and for two years beginning from the date of the conviction file a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) with the Texas Department of Public Safety to document your coverage. Most insurance providers can issue an SR-22 to certify that you have the minimum liability insurance required by law. An insurance card or policy will not be accepted in place of an SR-22.
You will also have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee to keep your driver’s license, in addition to paying any other outstanding fees owed.
Texas used to charge an annual $250 surcharge for three years upon conviction for several traffic offenses, including lack of insurance. But the Driver Responsibility Program ended in 2019.
What To Do If You Get into A Car Accident Without Insurance In Texas
If you get into a car accident without insurance in Texas, you will be ticketed and face the penalties outlined above for driving without insurance. Regardless of who was at fault, the accident is separate from your violation of insurance requirements.
Your lack of insurance doesn’t negate the other driver’s fault if he or she caused the accident. You still have rights you need to protect, especially if you have been injured. If the other driver caused the accident, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injuries and other losses – assuming they have insurance.
At a car accident scene, if you can, you should:
- Check for injuries. Check yourself, then your passengers and occupants of the other vehicle. If you feel any pain, limit your movement. Call 911 and request an ambulance if anyone is injured. Regardless of how you feel, get a medical exam within 24 hours. Some internal and soft tissue injuries, including serious head injuries, are not always immediately apparent.
- Call police. Texas law requires reporting any car accident that causes $1,000 of apparent property damage or serious injury or death. Ask for a law enforcement officer to be dispatched to the accident scene during your call to 911. When the police arrive, answer their questions truthfully but only with facts. Don’t blame the other driver or accept blame for the accident.
- Exchange information. Drivers in car accidents are expected to exchange names, phone numbers, and postal addresses, their vehicles’ registration, and auto insurance provider. If the other driver lacks insurance, do not make an issue of it. The police will document the lack of insurance on the report.
- Document the accident. Take photos or video of the accident scene, each vehicle’s damage, skid marks, other vehicle debris, and anything that may have contributed to the accident. Ask witnesses for names and contact information, and write it down or record them saying it.
- Ask about the police report. Ask the responding officer how to get a copy of the accident report and when it will be available. This report may be the basis of your legal claim.
Schedule A Free Case Review with Our Experienced San Antonio Car Accident Attorneys
Regardless of whether you have auto insurance, you have rights after a car accident caused by another motorist. A San Antonio car accident lawyer with the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover can investigate to determine fault in a car accident and whether you are owed compensation for your injuries and other losses. If so, we will work diligently to recover maximum compensation for you. We are dedicated to providing aggressive representation for those who are injured due to the negligence of others.
Contact us today to learn about your legal rights and how he can help with your claim.