Texas Law requires that ALL owners and/or operators of motor vehicles must have at least the minimum amount of liability insurance. The Safety Responsibility Act was enacted to ensure all drivers are financially responsible for the death, injury, or property damage they may cause while operating a motor vehicle.
In order to comply with the Safety Responsibility Act, a driver, unless exempt, must maintain liability insurance or be self-insured under the provisions of the Act. Evidence of financial responsibility must be presented to the proper authorities at the time a person applies for a driver license, registers a motor vehicle, or obtains a motor vehicle inspection certificate. Every owner and/or operator of a motor vehicle in Texas is required, as a condition of driving, to furnish upon request, evidence of financial responsibility to a law enforcement officer or to another person involved in a crash.
The following list includes what is acceptable proof of financial responsibility in Texas.
- a liability insurance policy in at least the minimum amounts listed above, or
- a standard proof of liability insurance form promulgated by the Texas Department of Insurance and issued by a liability insurer that includes:
- the name of the insurer;
- the insurance policy number;
- the policy period;
- the name and address of each insured;
- the policy limits or a statement that the coverage of the policy complies with at least the minimum amounts of liability insurance required by this Act; and
- the make and model of each covered vehicle;
- an insurance binder that indicates the owner and/or operator is in compliance with the Act;
- a certificate or copy of a certificate issued by the state comptroller that shows that the owner of the vehicle has on deposit with the treasurer money or securities in at least the amount ($55,000) required by Texas Transportation Code (TRC), Section 601.122;
- a certificate or copy of a certificate issued by the Department of Public Safety that shows that the vehicle is a vehicle for which a bond is on file with the Department as provided by TRC, Section 601.121;
- a copy of a certificate issued by the county judge of a county in which the vehicle is registered that shows that the owner of the vehicle has on deposit with the county judge, cash or a cashierıs check in at least the amount ($55,000) required by TRC, Section 601.123; or
- a certificate issued by the Department that shows a person has more than twenty-five (25) vehicles registered in his or her name, qualifies as a self-insurer in accordance with TRC, Section 601.124.
Minimum insurance coverage must include the following:
- $20,000 against injury or death of one person
- $40,000 against injury or death of two persons
- $15,000 against property damage.
If an owner and/or operator fails to show proof of financial responsibility when required, he may receive a citation. The court will dismiss the charge if proof is provided that a liability insurance policy was in effect when the citation was issued.
Upon conviction of operating a motor vehicle without sufficient evidence of financial responsibility, when required, a driver is subject to a $175 minimum fine and not more than a $350 maximum fine. Second and subsequent convictions will result in driver license and motor vehicle registration suspensions in addition to a minimum fine of $350 and not more than a $1,000 fine. Also, a second or subsequent conviction requires the court to order impoundment of the motor vehicle being driven or operated by the person at the time of the offense, provided that the defendant was an owner of the vehicle at the time of the offense and is an owner of the vehicle on the date of conviction. The vehicle shall be impounded for a period of 180 days. Before the court orders the release of the vehicle, evidence of financial responsibility must be presented to the court.
The license and motor vehicle registration of a driver will be suspended:
- Upon conviction of a traffic violation providing for automatic suspension of a driver license, unless proof of insurance is presented to the DPS;
- If a judgment resulting from a crash has not been satisfied within 60 days of the judgment;
- If an installment agreement arising out of a settlement of a crash is in default;
- If, while uninsured, involved in a crash in which another person is killed, injured, or there is at least $1,000 damage to one personıs property and there exists a reasonable probability of a judgment being rendered against the driver;
- When required to maintain proof of financial responsibility, this proof must remain on file for two years.
More specific information about the Safety Responsibility Act may be obtained at any Department of Public Safety office or by writing to the:
DRIVER IMPROVEMENT BUREAU
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
PO BOX 4087
AUSTIN TX 78773-0330