Cheap Insurance Houston
Houston, Texas is the fourth most populated city in the nation and is the state’s financial and economic hub. Because of its strong economy and relatively low cost of living, the city continues to attract new workers. Whether you are a new resident or a local, it pays to research all of the available choices for cheap insurance Houston has to offer.
The city is probably most famous for its association with NASA and the Apollo program (“Houston….we have a problem”), but it also has a thriving art and theater scene, a number of car and auto shows, over 300 parks, dozens of museums, and the world’s largest concentration of medical research and healthcare institutions. It’s no wonder the city is growing so fast!
Houston Insurance Facts
Beyonce Knowles (born in Houston) is driving her 2007 Pontiac Solstice to a Rockets game at the ToyotaCenter when a faulty ignition switch causes her vehicle to lose control and strike the vehicle in front of her, resulting in a five-car pileup. What kind of coverage does she need?
Her liability coverage will pay for any injuries and/or property damage she causes, but chances are she will need more than Texas’ minimum requirements.
If you’re a driver in Houston, you know that the law requires you to carry insurance. Head over to our state guide for more information on Texas’ state auto insurance
The average cost of auto insurance in Houston is around $1,200 which isn’t too bad considering the city’s size. It helps that the percentage of uninsured drivers is slightly lower than the national average.
According to the Insurance Research Council, 15% of drivers in Texas are uninsured. Penalties for driving without insurance can add up! $350 is the fine for a first-time offender, but repeat violations can result in fines of up to $1,000.
Houston has many insurance options for high-risk drivers (having a history of traffic tickets/accidents, or more than one major traffic violation such as a DWI), including TAIPA (Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association) which is reserved for applicants who have been turned down by multiple insurance companies.
Before you go through a state run program though, you might want to get an online comparison quote. With so many companies competing for your business, the chances of getting an affordable rate are pretty good.
Driving in Houston
According to Texas A&M’s Transportation Commission, Houston is one of the worst cities in the country for traffic congestion (second-worst after Atlanta). Census.gov data suggests that 20% of Houston drivers have a commute of over 45 minutes.
75% of Houston commuters drive solo and, with a population over 2 million, that means a lot of people on the road every day, and an increased risk of car accidents. The average number of hours a Houston commuter spends in traffic each year is over 50. That’s more than two days
lost to traffic congestion, for an average cost of over $1,000 per worker.
Public transportation can help but the city is so spread out (almost 600 square miles, not counting the surrounding metro/suburban area), with workers commuting into and out of a number of different zip codes, most prefer the convenience of their car, even knowing that peak hour traffic will be bad.
The city is taking strides to help relieve some of the traffic pains, including new toll routes and an expanded rail system, but until those go into effect, the best way to plan your commute is to check one of the real-time traffic maps, like TranStar’s.
Houston Accident Statistics
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, HarrisCounty saw over 77,736 crashes in 2012. There were 360 fatalities and over 39,000 injuries. Major causes include speeding, weather and road conditions, and simple driver inattention.
Data like this helps insurance companies calculate their risk, so it is no wonder that Houston and the surrounding county is one of the most expensive areas for car insurance.
Crime and Auto Theft in Houston
Auto theft remains a leading contributor to rising insurance costs, as does personal property crime. Recent FBI data shows that there were over 13,000 motor vehicle thefts in 2012, with over 100,000 property crimes. That data means higher auto insurance costs, as well as higher homeowner’s and renter’s insurance.
The most commonly stolen vehicles in Houston for 2013 were:
- Chevrolet Trucks
- Ford Trucks
- Honda Cars
- Dodge Trucks
- Chevrolet Cars
More information on Houston’s crime rates can be found at the Police Department’s website.
Driving While Intoxicated in Texas is a serious offense that can result in fines up to $2,000 ($10,000 if you have a child passenger), not including the increase in insurance costs. You will spend up to 180 days in jail, and lose your license for up to 1 year.
For help understanding SR-22 filings
we have a handy guide, as does the Texas Dept. of Public Safety.
Recommended Insurance Coverage
- Because the rate of uninsured motorists is still fairly high, purchasing Uninsured Motorist Liability and Property Damage is recommended.
- Vehicle theft rates in urban areas like Houston make purchasing Comprehensive Coverage a good idea.
- Collision Coverage will protect you in the event of an at-fault collision.
- Finally, increased liability limits can usually be purchased for just a few dollars a month, but will save you from extreme financial hardship in the event you cause more than $25,000 in damage or $30,000 in injuries.
Remember, the average cost of an American automobile has risen to over $30,000 so, if you total one, Texas’ state minimum will not be adequate.
Houston Insurance and Consumer Resources
For information on Houston’s traffic law, the Governors Highway Safety Association has a list of recent law changes and the Department of Transportation has a page devoted to Traffic Operations, which is handy for new residents as well as locals.
The Texas Department of Insurance has a number of guides to help consumers check the license status of insurance agents, understand the state’s insurance requirements, and even report insurance fraud.