Texas police are taking a stand against drivers with no car insurance policy. Because having liability car insurance is required by law in the state of Texas, some cities are adopting a “no tolerance” policy.
In 2009, the state of Texas linked its vehicle registrations with insurance policies to verify coverage in a program called TexasSure. According to the data collected by this program, more than 23% of drivers across the state are uninsured.
Efforts to combat uninsured motorists include heavy fines for those caught without auto insurance coverage. For a first offense, the fine ranges from $175 to $350. The fine jumps dramatically for a second offense to as much as $1,000, and the driver’s license will be suspended. On top of these penalties, drivers without insurance must pay a surcharge of $250 each year for 3 years to maintain their driver’s license.
Within the 3 counties that Corpus Christi spans, about 25% of motorists are uninsured. The numbers are actually higher now than when Texas first instituted its TexasSure program. Then, the number of uninsured registrations was at 23%. With the numbers now greater than the state’s overall numbers, Corpus Christi Police Chief Tony Briggs is among those cracking down on drivers without a car insurance policy.
Stiff fines aren’t the only weapon being used by Texas police. In Corpus Christi and other cities, police will be setting up check points to verify insurance. Those caught driving without insurance won’t just be fined. Their vehicle will be towed to the impound yard where it will be stored until insurance is obtained. Then, the owner must also pay the impound storage fee to retrieve the vehicle.
Not only is Texas taking a stand against uninsured motorists, the state is also hitting the wallets of those who have only the minimum liability car insurance. In 2011, Texas will increase the required minimum for medical coverage from $25,000 to $30,000 per year. This hike will cause an increase of about $40 a year, on average, for most policies.
This increase is leaving some drivers concerned about their auto insurance coverage. With a tight economy, everyone is looking to lower bills, not raise them. Although the increase amounts to about $3.33 per month, the increase may be enough to strain some wallets. Those feeling the strain may reevaluate their policy and start looking for another company to get low cost auto insurance. Others may drop their policy altogether, risking heavy fines.
According to one insurance agent, the increase in premiums is directly related to the hike in minimum requirements. Basically, clients are helping the insurance company pay for damage done to another person. The rate of increase will vary depending on a person’s personal driving record. A poor driving record will pay a higher rate on the new coverage, whereas those with good driving records may actually pay a little less.
The state of Texas isn’t putting up with uninsured motorists. Its strong stand against uninsured driving is designed to cause uninsured motorists to seek out low cost auto insurance. Those with the minimum required liability car insurance will see a slight change in their car insurance policy and an increase in their premiums.