There is a requirement in the state of Texas for any driver to prove they are financially responsible for any accidents they might cause.
Establishing Financial Responsibility
Insurance isn’t the only way to establish financial responsibility in the state of Texas; you aren’t technically required by law to purchase insurance. But you do have to meet one of the following requirements to prove your financial responsibility:
- Purchase a liability insurance policy with a licensed insurance provider
- File a surety bond with the county clerk; it must include two people, and at least one needs to own property in Texas
- Deposit $55,000 in cash or securities to the county comptroller
- Deposit $55,000 in cash or cashier’s check to the county judge
- Obtain a certification of self-insurance (usually for dealers, because you need more than twenty-five cars to qualify for self-insurance)
As most people don’t have $55,000 conveniently lying around, purchasing insurance tends to be your best bet for owning a motorcycle in Texas.
What Is a Motorcycle?
Texas has statutes that specifically define what constitutes a motorcycle and other similar vehicles:
- Motorcycle – A motorized vehicle operating on a total maximum of three wheels and containing a saddle for the rider. Tractors are not included. Texas law considers motorcycles equal to passenger vehicles regarding insurance requirements, titling, and registration.
- Moped – A motorized cycle which cannot operate higher than 30 MPH. It has less than 50 ccs of displacement and less than 2 hp.
- Motor-driven cycle – A vehicle that fulfills the motorcycle requirements but has an engine displacement less than 250 cc.
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Texas
The state has a required minimum amount of liability insurance for Texas drivers. This is part of an effort to decrease the amount of uninsured drivers on the road. Your motorcycle insurance policy needs to have full liability coverage with a minimum of the following:
- $60,000 of bodily injury coverage in total per accident
- $25,000 of property damage coverage in total per accident
- $30,000 of bodily injury coverage pertaining to each injured individual in an accident
There is no maximum insurance coverage. While these coverage amounts are the bare minimum required to own and operate a motorcycle in Texas, it’s often a good idea to get full coverage. You can learn about different types of insurance coverage in order to get a policy that works best for your unique circumstances.
Insurance and Helmets
Automobile insurance doesn’t affect the helmet requirements in Texas. But your health insurance does affect whether you need to wear a helmet. Legally, you’re required to wear a helmet unless you are over the age of 21 and have an insurance plan that covers the surgical and medical expenses associated with a motorcycle accident.
If you are under the age of 21 or you don’t have a health insurance policy that meets this requirement, you are legally obligated to wear a helmet when operating the motorcycle.
Penalties for Not Maintaining Financial Responsibility
There are several penalties you may face if you don’t maintain your minimum insurance coverage, including:
- Suspension of driver’s license
- Motorcycle impoundment
If you receive a suspension notice, you must decide if you’ll appeal within 20 days. Appealing can stop the suspension procedure until the matter has been resolved. You can lift your driver’s license suspension by providing proof of your current insurance coverage, or by paying a reinstatement fee which ranges from $175 to $350.
The Texas Department of Transportation worked with state agencies and lawmakers to create TexasSure, which is a program that verifies insurance electronically. Insurance agencies are required to submit insurance information to TxDOT directly, so that all TxDOT departments and law enforcement agencies have access to said insurance information.
You don’t need to take any action personally. But if your insurance policy changes or lapses, the TexasSure program will notify TxDOT of the change. If you fail to meet minimum standards for insurance, you’ll be contacted by TxDOT.