Texas is not a no-fault state. In Texas, there is a fault insurance requirement for every licensed driver in the state. Per the Texas Department of Insurance, this is so that drivers must "pay for the accidents they cause." To adhere to this requirement, drivers must have the minimum amount of liability car insurance coverage, which is known as 30/60/25 in Texas. This breaks down into $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 for total bodily injury liability, and $25,000 for property damage. This is just a minimum. It is recommended that drivers insure themselves with a limit higher than required by law so they avoid paying out of pocket after an accident.
Fault vs. No-Fault Insurance
Various states have different approaches to auto insurance requirements for residents.
All 50 states have adopted either fault or no-fault requirements for insurance policies. Understanding the differences between fault and no-fault insurance will help Texas drivers understand what their insurance policy covers.
In the simplest terms, no-fault insurance requires drivers to file a claim with their own insurer after an accident, regardless of who caused the accident. It would entitle anyone in an accident to benefits, even if the crash was their fault. Supporters of no-fault insurance policies claim they enable prices to remain lower for drivers and make the process of determining fault simpler. Other supporters also claim that no-fault insurance lightens the load for overworked court systems, which must often hear insurance claim disputes after a car accident.
In the United States, no-fault insurance requirements aren't common. Only 12 states require drivers to have a no-fault policy. However, some states—such as Pennsylvania—give drivers a decision to opt out of no-fault insurance policies if they meet specific requirements.
In states with no-fault laws, injured drivers are unable to pursue damages against the at-fault driver except under specific circumstances. These circumstances often include serious injuries like disfigurement, bone fractures, or permanent disability.
Fault insurance dictates that the party who is responsible for an accident (and/or their insurer) must compensate the other party for any losses. Notably, those in fault insurance states can pursue an at-fault party for damages. The ability to sue for personal injury in fault insurance states means that insurance companies often have a greater responsibility to provide compensation to injured parties.
When it comes to car insurance, it’s important to understand the laws your state has for it. Doing so can help protect you from liability after a motor vehicle accident and enable you to recover losses from one. It also can help you make sure that you're driving legally each day on the road!
SR-22 Insurance in Texas
SR-22 is a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate. This is required under Chapter 601 of the Texas Transportation Code to prove that you have liability insurance. Many people know that Texas is a fault state when it comes to car insurance. If you didn’t know this, you can read our blog about fault insurance. To summarize, fault insurance means that drivers who cause an accident must have minimum insurance coverages that the not-at-fault parties can use to recover their losses.
Part of Texas’ insurance requirements is having an SR-22 certificate, especially if a person has certain traffic violations—such as a DUI—on their record.
How to Get an SR-22 Insurance Certificate
The term “SR-22 insurance" exists because the certificate is most often needed when a person must prove to TxDOT that they’re insured after having their driving privileges reinstated. Many people confuse SR-22 certificates as being a type of insurance since they can receive one for having adequate coverage. However, there is no SR-22 insurance. Instead, an SR-22 certificate is something that verifies a person has adequate coverage for a vehicle that they drive.
The following are situations where this may apply:
- Your driver's license has been suspended as a result of a car accident
- You received a second or subsequent conviction for failing to have car insurance
- A civil judgment has been filed against you
When one of the above applies, you must have SR-22 insurance in Texas for 2 years from the date of your conviction or judgment. If you do not file and maintain a valid SR-22 certificate with the Department of Transportation or allow yours to lapse, your license and vehicle registration may be suspended.
Filing for SR-22 Insurance in Texas
If you need to get SR-22 insurance in Texas, you'll first need to find out if your current insurance company provides SR-22 coverage. Some don't, so you may need to find an authorized insurer.
Once you've confirmed with your insurer or found one who will provide SR-22 insurance:
- You will need to pay a filing fee, which may range from $15 to $50, for your insurance company to file the SR-22 form on your behalf. Or, you can get your certificate from your insurer and mail it to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) or file it in person.
- If you want to get your license reinstated, you'll have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the DPS, which may cost about $100.
- Once your SR-22 certificate is filed with the Texas DPS, you can check their website to view your driver eligibility status. It will be updated from "ineligible" to "eligible" once your forms have been successfully processed.
The cost of SR-22 insurance will vary depending on your provider. Coverage could range from about $800 to $3,000 per year, depending on the type of vehicle, where you live, the amount of coverage you need, and other factors.
When Do You Need an SR-22 Certification?
As mentioned above, you need an SR-22 certificate after certain traffic violations. Once a person with violations is legally allowed to drive again, they need an SR-22 certificate to show they’re properly insured. Since SR-22 insurance covers high-risk individuals, premiums for it are often drastically higher than those who have a clean driving record.
Importantly, Texas requires that SR-22 insurance be purchased in 6-month increments rather than the typical month-to-month payments that insurance policies follow.
Requirements for SR-22 insurance in Texas include:
- At least $30,000 in coverage for bodily injuries per person in an accident
- At least $60,000 of total bodily injury coverage per accident
- At least $25,000 in coverage for property damage caused by accidents
There are times when a person might have to provide an SR-22 certificate to TxDOT if they don’t have a car. This happens when a person doesn't own a car but wishes to have their license reinstated. A policy for this situation is known as non-owner SR-22 insurance. Often, rates for this insurance are lower since insurers assume that those who have these policies don't drive as frequently as those who own a vehicle.
Call Arnold & Itkin if You Need Help After a Car Accident
If you’re suffering from a car accident that you didn’t cause, our car accident lawyers are ready to fight for you. Our team is ready to help you get the compensation you need whether the other party has insurance or not. We’re also ready to fight and help make sure the insurance company treats you right—a duty that some insurers don’t always honor.
If you have been injured in a Texas car accident and have questions about insurance coverage, call Arnold & Itkin today!