The Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) issues, renews and distributes thousands of driver’s licenses each month. In January 2020, for example, TxDPS issued more than 745,000 ID cards and conducted more than 34,000 skills tests. Whether this is your first time getting a license, you need a renewal or you are a new Texas resident, getting your new ID is just part of your obligations. The other part is to make sure you have auto insurance. By law, a Texas driver must have coverage, but the question is how do you get it?
In some cases, you will have to buy your own car insurance. In others, you can receive coverage through another person’s or family member’s policy. Still, you’ll have to check in all cases to make sure you have coverage behind you.
How Does Car Insurance Work?
When you buy car insurance, you receive a guarantee of assistance from the insurer. In case of car wrecks, theft, vandalism, or other accidents the policy pays for some or all the costs of your losses.
Auto insurance also provides proof of financial responsibility for the insured driver. Under state law, Texas drivers must carry certain amounts of coverage because if they cause a wreck, then they must pay for their own damage and damage done to others. A failure to carry coverage could lead to a loss of driving privileges and other penalties.
When it comes to damage to a vehicle, then a policy typically follows the vehicle. Yet, in other cases, coverage will follow the driver. This is not true in all cases, however. Therefore, you’ll have to examine a policy closely to determine when it will apply to you.
Why You Need Coverage From the Time You Get Licensed
Once you have a driver’s license, your next step should be to get insured. A driver who has driven without insurance at any time represents a significant danger to themselves and others on the road. They might also prove to insurers that they might be unreliable in following the laws of the road.
As a result, the insurer might become increasingly reluctant to offer them a policy. Premiums might be higher, or the insurer might refuse to issue you a policy altogether. Therefore, it’s much easier just to get car insurance than to risk going without.
One piece of coverage every driver needs is liability insurance. This is coverage that will pay for third-party losses when a driver is at fault for an accident. Texas law requires this coverage of most drivers, and all policies will contain it. What each driver must do, however, is to make sure that the policy in question applies to them. Coverage will protect you only as long as you qualify for it.
Auto Insurance for Vehicle Owners
If you are a vehicle owner, then you usually have the most straightforward route to get car insurance. Because you are the vehicle’s owner, you will also probably be one of its primary operators. As a result, when you insure the car, you’ll also insure yourself. Your auto policy can provide the owner with the necessary liability insurance.
When families or individuals own more than one vehicle, it is often easy to get a multi-vehicle policy. The policy can apply to all licensed drivers and vehicles in the household. So, if you have a teenager who is getting their first license, then you can often add them to your policy as a named insured driver. This step will provide a newly licensed driver with the coverage they need.
Driving a Vehicle You Don’t Own
There are plenty of everyday situations where a driver will operate a vehicle that they don’t own.
For example, as we mentioned above a teen driver might drive a car owned by their parents. In this situation, a teen driver can receive coverage under their family’s auto policy. However, restrictions might apply. The parent might to specifically list the teen on the policy. The coverage might not automatically cover them because they live at your address.
As a benefit, many liability policies extend to whatever car someone is driving. So, if your teen needs to take a friend’s car to run an errand, then their own auto liability coverage might apply to them. However, this isn’t a guarantee. Some policies will cover the insured driver only if they are driving one of the cars also listed on the policy.
Additionally, some liability policies will extend to what they call permissive drivers. This means that if someone gives you permission to use their car, then you will have coverage under their policy. Again, however, this provision varies from policy to policy.
As a result, it is better to always have your own liability coverage, even if you don’t own a car. Even if you are not a vehicle owner, you can still get car insurance through a non-owner car insurance policy. This coverage will provide liability insurance, and you’ll have coverage without having to look to someone else’s policy.