As the second most populated state in the country, Texas attracts droves of residents for its unique culture, delicious food, and thriving music scene. And with so many Texans on the road, car insurance is very important.
In fact, you won’t be able to register your car in the Lone Star State without it.
In this article, we’ll explain the Texas car registration and car insurance laws in detail. Once you understand them, you can hit the roads from Austin to Dallas with confidence.
Do You Need Texas Car Registration For Car Insurance?
If you buy a car in Texas, you have 30 days to register it with the Texas DMV.
However, you must purchase the proper amount of car insurance first. Without proof of car insurance, you’ll be unable to complete the initial registration process.
Why Is Car Insurance So Important?
Car insurance is legally required in most states—and for good reason. Car insurance protects you financially from the devastating costs of an accident. A bad accident can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. You don’t want to get stuck paying for that out of pocket. Car insurance ensures that you won’t have to.
Each state has specific requirements about how much car insurance coverage you need. If you choose to forgo car insurance in Texas, you may face serious consequences:
- You won’t be able to register your car
- You may incur hefty fines
- You may only be eligible for high-risk auto insurance in the future
To avoid these headaches, make sure to purchase the required amount of Texas car insurance coverage.
In Texas, these two liability policies are legally required if you want to drive and register your vehicle in the state:
- Bodily Injury Liability Insurance – All Texas drivers must have Bodily Injury Liability Insurance. The required amount of coverage is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. If you cause an accident, this policy will cover costs relating to the other drivers’ injuries, including their medical bills and lost wages, up to the coverage amount. If someone dies in the accident, it will cover their funeral expenses. Lastly, it can be used to pay for your associated legal bills.
- Property Damage Liability Insurance – The second type of liability insurance you must have is Property Damage Liability Insurance. In Texas, you need $25,000 worth of coverage per accident. This insurance will pay for any damage you cause to someone else’s property in an accident. If you need to hire a lawyer to deal with the accident, it will cover your legal bills too.
Mandatory Minimums For Optional Policies
In Texas, there are also mandatory minimums for some optional policies. These policies will be automatically included in your car insurance coverage, but you can reject them if you want to. You just have to let your car insurance provider know in writing.
Here are the required minimums for these optional policies:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – PIP insurance, also known as “no-fault insurance,” covers your medical bills and lost wages if you get into an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Your PIP coverage extends to any passengers in your car at the time of the accident. If you choose to get PIP insurance in Texas, you must purchase at least $2,500 of coverage per person.
- Uninsured Motorist Policies – In Texas, 14% of drivers are uninsured. If you get into an accident with one of these drivers, you won’t be able to seek any financial compensation from their insurance company, since they aren’t associated with one. As a result, you may want to purchase:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury – Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance covers the costs of any injuries you or your passengers experience in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. If you purchase this policy, Texas law requires you to buy at least $30,000 of coverage per person and $60,000 of coverage per accident.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage – Along the same lines, Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage pays for any damage to your property caused by an uninsured driver. If you want this policy, Texas law requires you to purchase a minimum of $25,000 of coverage per accident with a $250 deductible.
Texas State Car Registration: A Step-By-Step Guide
Now that you know what car insurance policies you need to register your car in Texas, let’s review the steps to completing your Texas car registration:
#1 Purchase Your Car Insurance
First and foremost, you must purchase your car insurance. You’ll need to provide proof of car insurance to complete your car inspection and registration.
In Texas, the average car insurance premium is $1,810 a year, or $150 per month. However, your premium will vary based on your:
- Driving record
- Vehicle type
- Marital status
- Credit score
- Zip code
- Chosen car insurance coverage amount
- Chosen car insurance provider
To find the cheapest car insurance in Texas, do your research and compare auto insurance quotes online. By shopping around, you can make sure that you get the best rate.
#2 Get Your Car Inspected
Once you’ve purchased your car insurance policy, you need to have your car professionally inspected.
This vehicle inspection ensures that your car is in good condition and has all of the necessary safety features. Your car inspector will check your car’s brakes, tires, seat belts, mirrors, window tinting, and much more. In some Texas cities, emissions testing is also required.
You can complete this safety inspection at any certified Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) inspection station, including many mechanic shops, oil change shops, and service stations. To find an approved safety inspection station near you, visit the TxDPS website.
#3 Apply for Texas Vehicle Registration
Once you’ve passed your car inspection, it’s time to officially register your car with the state. To do so, you’ll need to gather up the following documents:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of car insurance
- Proof of car ownership
- Renewal notice (which will have been sent to you in the mail)
- A copy of your vehicle inspection report (you can download it here)
- A form of payment for the registration fees (forms of acceptable payment vary county-to-county)
How to Register Your Car in Texas
In Texas, you can register your car in any of the following ways:
- Register online – Registering your car online is easy and convenient. You can do it from the comfort of your own home. You’ll also enjoy a $1.00 discount. To complete the registration application online, simply follow the prompts and submit your payment at the end. Once you’ve completed this process, you can expect to receive your registration sticker in the mail within three weeks.
- Register in person – If you’d rather complete your registration in person, you can do so at a Texas DMV location. Some Texas counties also allow you to renew your registration at approved substations. No matter where you go, make sure you bring all of the required documentation with you.
- Register by mail – If you want to register by mail, you can do so by mailing the required documents to your county’s tax office. As with the online application, you’ll have to provide an approved form of payment along with your documents. After that, all you have to do is wait for your registration sticker to arrive in the mail.
How to Renew Car Registration Texas
The Texas car registration renewal process must be completed:
- At least 90 days before your previous registration’s expiration date
- Not any earlier than six months before the previous registration’s expiration date
How to Get a Texas Driver’s License
If you’re moving to Texas from another state, you may also want to get a Texas driver’s license at this time. You have 90 days to apply for one after moving to your new residence.
Keep in mind that the Texas DMV does not issue driver’s licenses—you must apply for one at a Texas Driver’s License office. To get your new license, you will need to show:
- Proof of car insurance
- Proof of motor vehicle registration (if you own a car)
- Proof of identity
You will also need to pass a vision exam and pay any associated fees. Once you get your new Texas license, you’ll have to surrender your old driver’s license to the Texas Driver’s License office.
Online Auto Insurance: Find The Best Texas Car Insurance Rates
While many things are bigger in Texas, your car insurance premiums don’t have to be. You can get an affordable rate by comparing quotes online. By choosing the right car insurance provider, you can save hundreds of dollars over time.
If you’re ready to find the best rates in Texas, visit Online Auto Insurance. There, you can get fast, free quotes from the leading Texas auto insurance providers. If you need any assistance as you compare quotes and policies, a car insurance agent will be happy to help.
So, what are you waiting for? Find your cheap Texas car insurance on OAI today!
Texas Department of Insurance. Automobile insurance guide. https://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/cb020.html
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Fatality Facts 2018: State by state. https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/state-by-state
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Register Your Vehicle. https://www.txdmv.gov/motorists/register-your-vehicle
Texas Department of Public Safety. Drivers License office locations. https://www.dps.texas.gov/rolodex/search.asp