Every US state has some law to help ensure that drivers are financially responsible for damage they may cause when they are driving. Most drivers comply with the law by purchasing the required liability insurance. If you have insurance, your insurer should keep your policy updated to comply with new regulations.
As a reminder, liability coverage actually pays for damage to the other person's property. I also covers medical expenses if an accident causes an injury. This is the type of coverage that is usually legally mandated by state law. You may also choose to purchase full coverage, or it may be required by your auto lender.
What's different about Texas Liability Requirements?
You have heard the saying. Don't mess with Texas. Well Texas has some new verification systems that should force a lot more drivers to buy required coverage.
First, required minimums increased in February of 2012. Again, if you have coverage now, your insurer should be keeping you legal. If you notice a rate increase, it may be partly because of the increased requirements.
Is Texas Enforcement Getting Stricter?
Actually, a new verification system called Texas Sure has made enforcement quite a bit easier for the police. The police may verify your coverage when they see you on the road with this system. Apparently it even goes further than this.
I traded in my old car recently so I could purchase a new car. Of course, I switched my auto insurance to my new car promptly, and then I dropped the coverage on the trade in. Within a few weeks, I got a notice that I was still the recorded owner of the old car, and the Texas Sure system alerted the authorities that I no longer had coverage.
In this case, it was probably just a case of paperwork not getting filed promptly on the dealer's end. Of course, I was concerned because I did not want to be responsible in case the car was in an accident before the records had been changed.
I cleared up with a simple, online form that I learned about in the notification letter, and all is well. This was not a real problem, but it certainly alerted me to the fact that you cannot hide the fact that you do not have required coverage on your car.
You are also required to produce your proof of insurance card, in Texas, in order to get your license or registration renewed, or in order to pass the required vehicle inspection. Of course, if you get stepped by a police officer, the first things he or she will usually ask you to do is to produce your driver's license and proof of insurance.