No More Minimum Coverage For Drivers After Jan. 1

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After Jan. 1, the state of Texas will begin forcing drivers to carry higher liability coverage, which means all who carry minimum coverage should expect their policy’s price to increase by as much as three percent.

“Everything’s going up, and you know, you have to pay,” said Gloria Starnes of Fort Worth. “With the economy the way it is, I don’t see how they can keep raising the payments on everybody. Some people just can’t hardly make it now.”

The Texas Legislature mandated the change in 2007 partly because of frivolous lawsuits.

“Every so often the state Legislature will come in and mandate that insurance companies increase the liability coverage for various reasons,” said Allstate agent Anthony Sampson of Arlington. “When the policy renews they will definitely see that change at renewal.”

Currently, liability insurance covers up to $25,000 for medical expenses per injured person, $50,000 per accident and $25,000 for damages to the other person’s vehicle.

Starting next year, lawmakers have mandated that insurance cover up to $30,000 per injured person and $60,000 per accident. Damage coverage remains the same at $25,000.

“That’s giving them a little extra protection against lawsuits, repairs, and things along that line,” Sampson said. “We try to protect the client in the sense that we don’t want them to have a situation where they do not have enough coverage.”

The end result: Drivers will see their annual premiums rise two to three percent.

“It’s such a minimum change that you may not notice it,” Sampson said, “but it will be there and there will be questions.”

About 50 percent of drivers in Texas have the minimum liability insurance.

One in five drivers is currently uninsured, despite state law requiring coverage.

The state has launched a new website,, to help drivers find the best and cheapest plan.

  • Charles Lane

    yeah…everything is going up except ssa disability patments!!!

  • callen

    Great. That should put yet more money into the fat pockets
    of insurance company executives. Way to go, Republican legislature!
    Rip us off some more why don’t you?

  • Bill Murray

    Uninsured motorist are a bigger problem then frivolous lawsuits. The state needs to get tough with these insurers that sell 30 day policies that people use to get inspections and registrations. Make it mandatory that all policies are good for a minimum period of one year

    • 80s Chick

      It would be fine for people that have the money to pay $1k up front for a year-long policy. I know I don’t have that kind of money, and most people living paycheck-to-paycheck simply don’t have that much money left over after all of the household expenses are paid.

    • 2sister

      Some of them don’t have any insurance, because the insurer has canceled their policy. My dad was driving my car, and I was a passenger. A lady rear ended me. She had an insurance card, but it turned out she didn’t really have coverage. Her insurer had let her policy lapse, because she owed them money or something like that.

  • concern driver

    This insurance higher cover is another way for insurance company to make more money put in their pocket, We need a system to identify fake insurance driver that drop their coverage, repo their car. and the state can auction them off,

  • Hemroidious

    Oh Boy! I can’t wait to pay more!

  • sarcasm

    I’m getting E-Surance. ASAP!

  • erin

    I’ve been driving for 20 years now without a single accident or moving violation. Shouldn’t I be paying LESS? The ads say I should, but my coverage really hasn’t gotten cheaper over the past 10 years…. yet if I don’t have it, I’m breaking the law. Meanwhile, some illegal immigrant can plow into me and take off back to Mexico, and I’m stuck with the bill. Nice system.

  • karenonion

    As a claims adjuster for a major company, I know that the % of uninsured drivers is more than 50% in Texas. It’s that, coupled with the claims for “injuries” in accidents that cause no more “trauma” to the body than stepping off a curb, that drives the high premiums we ALL have to pay.

  • insurancegirl

    @2sister – the insurer didn’t “let” the policy lapse. The cancelled the policy because the policy holder failed to pay their premiums. You can’t expect the insurer to provide coverage for free.

    Also, Texas does impound vehicles that are found to be uninsured. The owner is required to show proof of coverage and pay the impound fees before they can get their car back.

    Texas, has made many changes to the requirements for insurance in the last few years including an electronic verification system that allows law enforcement to confirm coverage on the spot. Until recently Texas had some of the lowest minimum requirements in the country. It is about time that we as Texans passed the legislature to bring our financial responsibilities up to the average.

  • callen

    The posters who are wringing their hands about uninsured motorists are just playing into the hands of insurance companies who want everyone to hold a policy. Look, I have an uninsured motorist rider on my own auto policy. Two cars, a truck and a boat, all for right about 50 cents a day. It is so cheap it is almost free. Get over it and let the poor get by without insurance.

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