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Houston is the most populous city in Texas and the fourth-most populous city in the United States. It is located in Southeast Texas near the Gulf of Mexico. With a census-estimated 2014 population of 2.239 it also is the largest city in the Southern United States. Almost 75% of Houston residents drive alone to work, which makes for some of the heaviest traffic in the country. With more than 2 million people on the road residents should take the time to explore all the options for cheap car insurance Houston has available.
Cheap Car Insurance In Houston
It’s important to have the right car insurance in Houston to protect not only yourself, but your vehicle too. When looking through the options for cheap car insurance Texas offers, the more information at your disposal the better. Remember that carrying the minimum coverage required by law may not be enough to cover you personally. Make sure your policy will cover all of your assets, even if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.
Texas law requires drivers to pay for accidents they cause. Fault is ultimately determined by the state, using evidence and testimony gathered at the scene of the accident. The at-fault party is then required to pay all damages resulting from the accident.
Texas’ Car Insurance Requirements
- Bodily Injury coverage requirements are a minimum of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
- Property damage liability minimum requirements are $25,000.
- Uninsured Motorist coverage is not required, but insurance company’s are required to offer it, and explain the coverage to consumers.
The Texas DMV’s website has numerous tools to help consumers register their vehicles, renew their driver’s licenses, or even buy and sell their cars. There are also guides to help new residents get settled into the “Lone Star State.”
- Vehicle registrations are handled by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. For a handy guide, click here.
- Used vehicles must be registered within 30 days of purchase. For a guide to buying and selling a vehicle, click here.
Navigating the freeways in Houston can be tricky, so if you are new to the area, do a lot of planning ahead of time. No matter what, being safe on the road is a top priority. To keep you and your property protected, find out all you can about cheap car insurance in Houston by clicking on the “get a quote” button at the top of the page.
Houston Insurance Facts
Pop Quiz: 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?
Answer: 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 requirements.
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.