In Texas, a driver who causes a car accident is liable for the damages that result. In other words, Texas requires its drivers to be "financially responsible." Often, the way drivers establish financial responsibility is by purchasing car insurance. In Texas, you must establish financial responsibility at the following levels:
Remember that these are simply the minimum levels of financial responsibility that Texas law requires. If you cause an accident, and the damages exceed these minimums, you will still be on the legal hook for the difference.
If you purchase car insurance as a means of complying with Texas's financial responsibility requirements, you can purchase different types of coverage to protect you and your property in the event you cause an accident. Learn more about Different Types of Car Insurance.
In Texas, you are not required to carry UIM coverage; however, insurance companies are required to offer it. UIM coverage will protect you if an uninsured, or underinsured, driver causes a car accident and you end up suffering injuries and/or vehicle damage. If your losses from the accident exceed the at-fault driver's coverage, your UIM protection will pay the difference -- up to the limits of your UIM coverage. For more information about UIM coverage, you can read our articles on Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage.
An initial conviction for driving without insurance in Texas, or otherwise failing to prove financial responsibility, will cost you between $175 and $350. If you are convicted more than once, you may be fined up to $1,000. In addition, the state may suspend your driver's license and/or impound your vehicle.
In Texas, drivers can expect to be asked to show proof of financial responsibility in any of these situations: