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Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Texas

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Texas

You're required to carry car insurance while driving in Texas.

If you don't have auto insurance, you could get a fine of up to $1,000, your vehicle impounded for up to 180 days and your driving privileges suspended for up to two years.

The state of Texas requires that all drivers carry proof of liability insurance with at least 30/60/25 coverage; alternately you can provide a deposit or cashier's check of at least $55,000 to the county judge for financial responsibility.

Insurance companies in Texas submit policy information for all their customers to TexasSure, a state-funded electronic database created to reduce the number of uninsured vehicles. This enables the Texas Department of Public Safety to be notified when a policy lapses or is canceled. It also allows law enforcement officers to check an insurance policy's status when they pull over a car.

Penalties for driving uninsured in Texas

It's essential to carry proof of insurance when you're driving in Texas. Whenever you're pulled over by a police officer for traffic violations in the state, you will have to present:

  • Your driver's license
  • A Texas vehicle registration
  • Proof of auto insurance or financial responsibility

If you just received a new insurance ID card and forgot to put it in your glove compartment, the police officer may be able to verify your insurance policy with TexasSure.

Penalties for first offense

For a first offense, you'll have to pay fines of $175–$350.

If you receive a ticket for driving without insurance, the cost of your auto insurance policy could increase, because insurers may consider you to be a higher risk. You may also have to file form SR-22 through your insurer to verify that you carry the state-required liability coverage. We recommend working with an insurance company that specializes in policies for drivers who have incidents on their record.

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Penalties for second offense

If you're caught driving without insurance for the second (or subsequent) time , the penalties are more severe. You'll have to pay fines of $350–$1,000. To put those fines in perspective, the average annual cost of car insurance in Texas for our benchmark drivers is $666.

Additionally, the court could order your vehicle to be impounded for 180 days, in which case you can apply for its release by showing evidence of financial responsibility. If your vehicle remains impounded, you will have to pay a daily storage fee, with a maximum of $21.03 per day for smaller cars and $36.80 for larger vehicles, and could also incur a $20 impoundment fee. These fees could add up to more than $3,800 over 180 days. In total, you could owe more than $4,800 for second and subsequent convictions of driving without auto insurance.

Penalties for being uninsured in an accident

If you are in a collision in Texas and do not have auto insurance, you could face fines, impoundment of your vehicle and suspension of your driving privileges.

If you are responsible for a collision that results in serious injuries or death, you face a fine of up to $4,000 and, depending on the severity, one year in jail. You will be required to file an SR-22 form for three years after the accident, and your vehicle registration and license will automatically be suspended for up to two years. Additionally, you will be 100% liable for any and all physical injuries and property damage resulting from the accident that you caused.

Penalties and fines in Texas for driving uninsured

Fines
Impoundment
Driving privilege
Other

First conviction: Traffic stop penalties

$175–$350

Second and subsequent convictions: Traffic stop penalties

$350–$1,000Vehicle can be impounded for 180 days; cannot apply for release of car without evidence of financial responsibility. Daily fees apply.

First conviction: Traffic collision penalties

$175-–$350 plus any damages for the accident if you were at faultVehicle can be impounded for 180 days; cannot apply for release of car without evidence of financial responsibility. Daily fees apply.Must file an SR-22 for three years after the accident; automatic suspension of vehicle registration and license for up to two years100% liable for other people's physical injuries and property damage if you caused the accident

Second and subsequent convictions: Traffic collision penalties

$350–$1,000 plus any damages for the accident if you were at faultVehicle can be impounded for 180 days; cannot apply for release of car without evidence of financial responsibility. Daily fees apply.Required to file an SR-22 for three years after the accident; automatic suspension of vehicle registration and license for up to two years100% liable for other people's physical injuries and property damage if you caused the accident

If you cause an accident that results in serious injuries or death:

$4,000 maximum fineOne year in jail

Appealing your fine

If you are pulled over without proof of insurance and the police officer is unable to verify your insurance policy with TexasSure, you can still receive a fine for driving without insurance. You can try to appeal the fine by pleading not guilty in court, either in person or by mail.

Once you've pleaded not guilty, the court will set a trial. If you choose to proceed to trial, you should be prepared and bring along your proof of insurance (an insurance ID card or a copy of your policy). You will have to pay for court costs, but your fine could be reduced.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

SR-22 Insurance

An SR-22 form is a certificate that proves you have the minimum required auto insurance. You only need an SR-22 if your state or court orders you to get one after a major driving violation.

Compare SR-22 Quotes

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