SR22 Blog
05.04.10

SR-22: Financial Responsibility in Texas

If you cause an accident in Texas, the laws of the state require you to be able to pay for all damages, injuries and expenses incurred by everyone involved.

State Financial Requirements

Although there are various methods that you can use, as a driver, to ensure that you meet the state’s legal requirements, the most common method is to purchase liability insurance. Liability insurance is a type of insurance that will pay for everyone else’s damages and injuries if you cause an accident. It won’t pay to repair or replace your own incurred expenses, however, so you would need to take out optional cover if you want a policy that does this.

As of the first of April in the year 2008, the legal requirements for financial responsibility was set at $25,000 per injured victim, up to a maximum of $50,000 for a single accident. This means that if you cause an accident, the most basic cover that you need to have is that your insurer must pay each person at least $25,000 and do so for at least two people involved in the accident. Of course, it is always recommended to purchase more cover than this minimum if you can afford it. Your liability insurance also needs to cover property damage. The minimum applicable in this case is $25,000. This means that your insurance policy needs to pay out at least $25,000 to someone if their property is damaged as a result of an accident that you caused. It is important to note that these minimums increase regularly. As of 1 January 2011, they will increase again and all drivers in the state will be required to adhere to them.

Most drivers these days are already aware of these legal requirements. What happens, however, if you do not comply with them? Well, you would of course be breaking the law, and just as with any other criminal you could be faced with some serious penalties. If you are convicted once, you could be fined up to $350. Thereafter, your fines could increase to as much as $1,000, along with your driver’s license being suspended and your vehicle being sent to the impound.

To enforce this law, the state has various protocols in place. Your insurer gives you a card that is used to prove that you meet the basic liability insurance requirements. There are many situations in which you may be required to present this card. If you don’t present it, you may face the above-mentioned consequences. If you get your car inspected, register or renew its registration, are involved in an accident or renew your driver’s license you will be required to present your proof of insurance. If a traffic officer pulls you over he may also decide to ask you for this card, and you would need to readily comply to avoid penalization.

TexasSure

Another important aspect of the law to be aware of, is the TexasSure program. This program is an efficiency protocol that is being used to enhance the reliability of the financial responsibility law by making everything more efficient. What this program aims to do is give law enforcement officials the ability to verify your insurance compliance immediately. What this means is that if you are stopped by an officer for any reason, he will be able to electronically check if you are adequately covered by an insurance policy. This leaves little to no room for error, since all registered vehicles will be stored on the database with their information being retrievable instantaneously.

Consumer Protection

It is important to note that you are also protected, as a consumer, under the laws of the state you live in. This protection is outlined in a document known as the Consumer Bill of Rights. The law requires your insurance company to provide you with this document so that you know your rights when you purchase a policy from them. Knowing exactly what your rights are as a consumer can protect you in many situations. This is why it is important to ensure that you are issued with a copy of the Bill of Rights when you purchase a policy, and to ensure that you understand it correctly.

These laws have been put in place to ensure that all drivers in the state can cover the costs of any accidents they may cause. Thus, it is not only a legal requirement, but it actually pays you to ensure that you have at least the minimum amount of liability insurance before heading out on the road. Anything can happen at any time, and no matter how good a driver you may think you are, there is always the chance that you will cause an accident. With liability insurance, you can ensure that you never have to worry about not being able to pay for your mistakes.