Auto liability insurance required on Goodfellow AFB

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- According to Vernon’s Texas Code Annotated Transportation Code 601.051, Texas state law requires drivers and vehicle owners to be financially responsible for accidents they cause. There are mandatory auto insurance laws in Texas that require vehicle owners to carry the minimum amount of auto liability insurance on every vehicle they own.

As vehicle owners and drivers here at Goodfellow, Texas state law applies to us. Permanent party members, students and other authorized personnel who drive on Goodfellow are required to maintain at least the minimum liability insurance on their vehicles.

Should you cause an accident, liability insurance would cover the costs of damages to other people’s property and pay other people’s medical expenses. It does not pay for the damage to your own vehicle or for your medical expenses. Other types of coverage, such as personal injury protection, collision, etc., would help you pay for those.

Currently, the minimum liability limits in Texas are:
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death to one person per accident
- $60,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more persons per accident
- $25,000 for destruction to property resulting from the accident

According to VTCA Transportation Code 601.072, this basic minimum coverage is called 30/60/25 coverage. Due to car prices and high medical care costs, these minimum amounts might not be enough to pay for all the damages and medical bills, you could be sued to collect the difference. You might want to consider buying more than the basic limits to protect yourself financially.

Your liability policy will cover you and your family members who are living in your home, other people driving your vehicle with your permission, any family members attending school away from home, and spouses living elsewhere during a separation. Some policies, called ‘named driver policies,’ won’t cover people who live with you unless they are specifically named in the policy. Other policies might cover you and family members when driving someone else’s vehicle or a rental vehicle. Be sure to go over your policy with your agent before renting or driving a vehicle you don’t own or lease.

According to VTCA Transportation Code 601.191, being caught without proof of insurance can lead to a fine of $175 to $350 for a first time offense. The penalties become harsher with the second and third offenses, leading to the suspension of your license. Usually, you will be given time to provide proof of insurance coverage. However, if you don’t provide proof by the time specified, your license will be suspended.

Military members getting ready for deployment should ensure their insurance coverage is in order and won’t lapse before they return. Before you deploy, consider setting up automatic premium payments to avoid lapses of coverage or cancellations. If no one will be driving your vehicle while you are deployed, ask your company if it is possible to suspend coverage. Suspending coverage temporarily stops your coverage until you return home and restart it again, thus saving you money. Your policy is still technically in use and you won’t have any lapses in coverage; however you won’t be able to file claims on the policy while it is suspended. You must store your vehicle so no one else can drive it to suspend liability coverage.

For more information regarding automobile insurance in Texas, look at the Texas Department of Insurance website at http://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/tdipubs1.html.