LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – Get ready to pay more for auto insurance. At the start of the New Year Texas is changing the amount drivers are required to carry to have basic coverage.
It's the first increase in 25 years and many agents say it's long overdue.
Nearly half of all Texans carry just the minimum amount of auto insurance required by law.
Those are the drivers who will see a small increase of as much as 3 percent in premiums.
The good news -- the rest of us who carry more than the minimum, likely won't see any change.
The problem lies with uninsured drivers.
"Around 22 of 23 percent in Angelina County don't carry coverage so these are the people that really ought to be looking at carrying, if only carrying the minimum they should be carrying something to protect the public in general," said CEO of Davis Insurance Agency in Lufkin, Mike Davis, who says the increase is long overdue.
The cost of repairing a wrecked car is only going up.
"Number one, parts are more expensive. Number two, labor to do the repairs is more expensive," said Davis.
Then factor in medical bills.
"When you have a claim it is just very expensive to pay for the bodily injury that someone sustains."
The new minimum liability limits are 30,000 for each person injured in an accident, 60,000 for everyone injured in an accident, and 25,000 for property damage per accident.
Davis recommends more than the minimum coverage.
"If they've got 30/60/50 limits of liability and they get sued for 100,000 or one quarter of a million and they only get $30,000 worth of coverage, and if they lose the victor gets a judgment against them and it really effects their ability to earn property, it effects their credit ratings," explained Davis.
Even though times are hard, paying more for insurance now could save you in the future.
"It's better to pay a little more for insurance and have enough coverage then to get caught on the short end and spend the rest of your life paying for it," said Davis.
For most drivers the increase could average out to an additional 25 to 30 dollars a year.
It's a smart investment—don't forget, if you're caught in Lufkin without insurance, police will impound your vehicle.