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How car accidents affect your Texas auto insurance rates

Car insurance is required by Texas law, and it’s also a smart way to protect your assets. Unfortunately, car insurance premiums can be expensive – even if you have a clean driving record. Have you ever wondered what might happen to your car insurance rates if you get into an accident? Find out below.

Fault Matters

States set their own insurance laws. Some states use a no-fault system, which means that each driver seeks compensation from his or her own insurance company after an accident regardless of who caused the accident. Other states use a fault system, which means that the insurer of the person who caused the accident pays for the damage.

Texas uses a fault system. As a result, after an accident, blame is assigned. If you caused the accident, your insurer will be required to pay for damages to the other driver. If the other driver caused the accident, you can make a claim against his or her insurer for damages.

If you cause an accident, you can expect your insurance rates to go up the next time your policy is renewed. However, it’s possible that your rates will increase somewhat even if the accident was not your fault.

Points Create Surcharges

The Texas DMV uses a point-based system called the Driver Responsibility Program. Drivers with six or more points must pay a surcharge. Additionally, insurers will look at your driving record when renewing rates.

Under this system, drivers who cause a crash, whether it occurs in Texas or in another state, receive three points. Points can also be issued for other driving infractions, regardless of the state where the ticket was received.

The good news is that points don’t stay with you forever. In Texas, they are removed from your record after three years.

Safety is the First Line of Defense

Of course, the best way to keep your rates down – and to avoid injury – is to drive safely.

  • Avoid things that distract you, including texting and even eating, while driving.
  • Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Don’t drive when you’re too tired to concentrate.
  • Obey the speed limit.
  • Don’t follow other drivers too closely.
  • Use your turn signal when turning or changing lanes.
  • Don’t weave in and out of lanes.
  • Don’t pass unless it is legal to do so and you have enough room.
  • Never brake check (slamming on your brakes to scare the person who’s tailgating you) or do anything else to escalate someone else’s aggressive or reckless driving. If someone is driving dangerously, give the car as much space as possible. If you believe someone’s reckless driving is putting people’s safety in jeopardy, report the driver to the police.

If you’d like to know if your Texas auto insurance rates are too high, contact the independent insurance agents at Higginbotham. We represent several auto insurance carriers and can shop the market on your behalf to identify the most competitive options.

Not sure where to start? Talk to someone who wants to listen.

A great plan starts with a conversation. Let’s talk about what you need.

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