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Last updated: September 26, 2023

Driving Without Insurance in Texas

What happens if you lack liability insurance in the Lone Star State?

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The state of Texas requires $115,000 worth of liability coverage, which, on average, costs around $612 a year, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. If you’re caught driving without insurance, however, you may pay even more than that in fines, surcharges, reinstatement fees, and more. While skipping insurance may seem like an easy way to save money, it could cost you even more, especially if you cause an accident.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Texas

If you’re caught driving without insurance in Texas, you could face fines, surcharges, license/registration suspensions, and even impoundments of your vehicle for second and subsequent offenses.1

Penalty First offense Second and subsequent offenses
Fine $175-$350 $350-$1,000
Surcharge for three years $250 $250
Length of time vehicle impounded n/a 180 days
Impoundment daily fee n/a $15
Impoundment minimum charge n/a $2,700
Suspension of license/registration until you provide SR-22 No Yes
Length of SR-22 requirement n/a Two years
Reinstatement fee n/a $100

Driving without Texas car insurance is a misdemeanor offense that could incur thousands of dollars in fees. However, if you’re unable to pay the initial fine, the court can reduce it to a $175 maximum.


If you’ve been convicted of driving without insurance in Texas for a second time or more, the state will require that your insurance company file an SR-22, which is proof of minimum coverage. An SR-22 is also required if you’ve had your driving privileges suspended due to a car crash or if you have a civil judgment filed against you.

You must maintain the SR-22 for two years following the date of your conviction. You’ll need to pay a $100 reinstatement fee as well.2

How to Find Insurance After a Lapse in Coverage

After you have an SR-22 on file, request quotes from high-risk car insurance companies that cater to substandard drivers. Many companies do not want to cover people with bad driving records because they are more likely to have claims and cost more to insure.

If you’ve requested quotes from at least two companies and they’ve rejected you within the past 60 days, you might be eligible for the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA). Other eligibility requirements include the following:

  • You have a valid license, or you’ve requested an SR-22 to obtain a valid license.
  • You’re a resident of Texas, or your vehicle is registered in Texas.3

Note that TAIPA won’t necessarily be cheaper than other companies, especially if you have a bad driving record with tickets or accidents. However, rates should go down if your incidents occurred over a year ago. After three years, you can probably find cheaper Texas car insurance in the private marketplace. To learn more about TAIPA, talk to your insurance agent.


TAIPA only sells liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage at the minimum limits the state requires. It does not offer higher limits, or collision and comprehensive coverage.

TAIPA only sells liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage at the minimum limits the state requires. It does not offer higher limits, or collision and comprehensive coverage.

How to Appeal Your Fine

The appeals process in Texas looks different depending on whether a reporter’s record was requested or not. A reporter’s record is a statement of facts that the court reporter compiled at the municipal court trial.

If the state requested a reporter’s record and denied a new trial, here are your next steps:

  • File the appeal bond with the municipal court clerk within 10 days. You can get the appeal bond from your municipal court clerk’s office.
  • File the reporter’s record in up to 60 days or sooner.
  • File the brief within 15 days. The brief will explain the reason you think the trial court decision was a mistake, citing any relevant legal authorities.

If the state did not request a reporter’s record and denied a new trial, here are the next steps to take:

  • File the appeal bond within 10 days.
  • File the brief within 15 days from the day the clerk created the record.

While you have the right to an attorney, you do not have the right to present an oral argument, although the court may grant it to you. The appellate court will not rehear evidence; rather, they’ll determine whether the trial judge applied the law correctly. From there, the judge can make one of three decisions:

  • Affirm the decision of the trial court: You’ll pay any fines or court costs.
  • Reverse the decision and have a new trial: You’ll get a new trial at the level of trial courts.
  • Reverse the decision in your favor: The trial court will acquit the judgment and you won’t have to pay the fines.

You’ll receive a copy of the decision in the mail, and the decision becomes final after 15 days.4

More Car Insurance Laws in Texas

So you need to have insurance in Texas. What other car insurance Texas laws should you know?

Insurance Requirements in Texas

The minimum car insurance in Texas is as follows:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage per person: $30,000
  • Bodily injury liability coverage per accident: $60,000
  • Property damage liability coverage per accident: $25,0005

You can receive a ticket for not having proof of financial responsibility (insurance coverage). This ticket can result in fines and penalties, plus an impoundment fee for second-time offenders and subsequent offenders. Insurance is also required for vehicle registration, as we’ll see below.


You’ll need insurance to register a car in Texas. First, you’ll need to get your vehicle inspected, which also requires proof of insurance. Then, you’ll get your Texas plate and registration sticker in your county’s tax-assessor collector office. Aside from proof of insurance, bring the inspection report and proof of ownership.

You’ll also have to pay a fee depending on your vehicle type and weight. See fees below.6

Vehicle type Minimum weight of vehicle in pounds Maximum weight of vehicle in pounds Registration fee
Mopeds and motorcycles No limit No limit $30
Trailers No limit 6,000 $45
Cars and light pickup trucks No limit 6,000 $51
Pickup trucks 6,001 10,000 $54
Heavy trucks 10,001 18,000 $110
Heavy trucks 18,002 25,999 $205
Heavy trucks 26,000 40,000 $340
Heavy trucks 40,001 54,999 $535
Heavy trucks 55,000 70,000 $740
Heavy trucks 70,001 80,000 $840
Heavy trucks 80,000 No limit Varies


Find an inspection station here: Once your car has passed inspection, renew your registration in person at a county tax office ( You can renew your registration online:

Cancelation and Nonrenewals

Texas car insurance companies must notify you before they cancel or decide not to renew your policy. For car insurance cancellations, they have to give you 10 days’ notice before your policy expires or 30 days for nonrenewals. Companies can cancel your policy within its first 60 days for any reason, but after that period, they can only cancel your policy due to the following:

  • Nonpayment of premiums
  • Fraudulent claims
  • Suspended or revoked driver’s license/registration, which applies to anyone living in your household or using your car

The insurance company must return your unearned premiums to you within 15 days of cancellation.

Companies can only decline to renew policies if they’ve been effective for at least 12 months. They are barred from not renewing policies based on any of the following factors:

  • Age
  • Claims about flying/falling objects like gravel, although the company could raise your deductible if you’ve had three claims in the past three years
  • Claims from hitting an animal
  • No-fault accidents or incidents (unless there was more than one claim type in the past year)
  • Towing and labor claims, unless there were four claims within the past three years
  • Weather-damage claims, which fall under comprehensive coverage


Car insurance rates in Texas are 4 percent higher than the national average cost of car insurance. But if you’ve been convicted of driving without insurance, your premiums will rise even higher, not to mention the fees that the state imposes. It’s no wonder that 92 percent of Texas drivers follow the minimum liability law.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get a no-insurance ticket dismissed in Texas?

Before you get a no-insurance ticket dismissed in Texas, the peace officer must be able to verify that you have insurance. You can prove your financial responsibility by showing a paper copy of your insurance ID or SR-22 form in a hearing or trial.

What happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance in Texas?

If the person at fault in an accident has no insurance in Texas, they’ll have to pay out of pocket for the medical costs and property damage they caused. They will also have to pay fines for driving without insurance, and their license will be suspended for being involved in a car crash. They’ll have to pay a $100 reinstatement fee and carry an SR-22 for two years following the date of reinstatement, which will cause car insurance premiums to increase.

Can you sue an uninsured driver in Texas?

You could sue an uninsured driver in Texas if they were 50 perfect or more at fault in an accident. However, if you had any negligence in the accident below 50 percent, your compensation in the civil suit will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

Do insurance rates go up after a no-fault accident in Texas?

Insurance rates could still go up after a no-fault accident in Texas if the other driver’s insurance did not cover all your losses. For example, if you had to dip into collision coverage to pay for your car repairs, your insurance rates could go up unless you fall under an accident forgiveness policy.



  2. Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22). Texas Department of Public Safety. (2023).

  3. TAIPA FAQ’s. Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association. (2023).

  4. A Citizen’s Guide to Appeal. City of Austin Municipal Court. (2023).

  5. Auto insurance guide. Texas Department of Insurance. (2023).

  6. Register Your Vehicle. Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. (2023).