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Car insurance is one of the unavoidable expenses of owning a vehicle in Texas, as the state requires at least a bare minimum of liability insurance coverage to be carried in order to drive your vehicle on the road legally. While you can’t avoid insurance, you can take the time to search for affordable options, customize your coverage to fit your needs and your budget, and review your insurance rates regularly to ensure you’re getting the most value possible.
Whether you already own a vehicle or are looking to purchase one soon, here’s what you need to know about cheap car insurance in Houston, Texas.
What Are the Types of Automobile Insurance in Houston, Texas?
When it comes to insuring your vehicle, there are four main types of car insurance coverage. A basic understanding of each type of coverage will help you determine what types and how much of each converge you want to carry on your vehicle.
Most states require a bare minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. This type of coverage has two categories: bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Bodily injury liability insurance coverage will pay for any medical services or bills to other people involved in the accident when you’re the at-fault driver. Property damage liability covers any damages or repairs to personal property, including the other driver’s vehicle, when you cause an accident. You’ll want to check with your insurance company to ensure that you carry the minimum required by the state of Texas for liability coverage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage helps protect you from the expense of an automobile accident when the at-fault driver has either no insurance coverage or inadequate insurance coverage. This type of coverage will pay for medical expenses and sometimes property damage, over and above what the at-fault driver’s insurance limits cover.
For example, if you’re involved in an accident, and the at-fault driver has zero insurance, and you have $30,000 in medical bills, your uninsured protection will cover your medical bills up to your limit. Also, if the at-fault driver had $30,000 in bodily injury liability, but your total medical bills were $42,000, your underinsured coverage would step in to cover the additional $12,000 as long as it was within your limits.
Comprehensive insurance coverage pays for repairs and replacements to your vehicle if it is damaged due to a natural disaster such as fire or hail, as well as theft and vandalism. Comprehensive coverage is optional unless your lending institution or leasing company requires you to carry it to protect their investment. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damages once your deductible has been met.
The deductible is an out-of-pocket portion that you agree to pay in case of an accident. You can lower your insurance rates by carrying a higher deductible, but be aware that you’ll need to come up with that deductible amount in the event of an insurance claim.
Another optional coverage is collision insurance, though it may be required by your lending institution or leasing company. This type of coverage will pay for repairs and replacement to your vehicle if you hit another vehicle or object, such as a fence or mailbox. Collision insurance coverage also has a deductible involved that you can set to adjust your insurance rates.
Personal Injury Protection/Medical Payments Coverage
Personal injury protection and medical payments coverage are two additional insurance coverages available in several states, mandatory in some, and unavailable in others. Texas offers both medical payments and personal injury protection as optional coverages.
What Is the Minimum Automobile Insurance Requirement?
Every state requires different minimum automobile insurance requirements, so it’s imperative to talk to your insurance agent to ensure that you meet your state’s minimum. The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles has set forth the following minimum requirements for all Texas drivers:
- Bodily injury liability of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident
- Property damage liability of $25,000 per accident
What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Adequate Insurance Coverage?
Drivers must have proof of insurance in Texas, and anytime you’re pulled over for a traffic offense, you can be asked to provide proof via your insurance card. If you fail to produce proof of adequate insurance, penalties include:
- First offense. A fine of $175 to $350, plus the state considers you an at-risk driver and will require you to carry SR-22 insurance, which will increase your insurance costs significantly.
- Subsequent offenses. Fines of $350 to $1,000 plus long suspension periods and possible 180-day vehicle impoundment at $15 per day.
Suspension of your vehicle registration or driver’s license suspension are also possible penalties for failing to provide adequate insurance coverage in Houston, Texas.
Where Can You Get Cheap Insurance in Houston, Texas?
Once you know the required coverage, along with any optional coverage you’d like to add to your automobile insurance policy, you’ll need to know where to find cheap car insurance in Houston, Texas. Many factors are considered when determining your insurance rates, including driving history, credit history, accident history, age, location, and type of vehicle.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the average insurance rate in Texas is $1,382. The cheapest car insurance companies in Houston, Texas, include:
- State Farm: $994
- USAA: $1,045
- Farmers Insurance: $1,156
- GEICO: $1,251
- Nationwide: $1,636
- Allstate: $2,210
If you’re considering adding full coverage, or high insurance to your vehicle, it’s usually only a few dollars more per year and can save you a lot of money for repairs or replacements for your vehicle. The high coverage car insurance coverage for Houston is:
- State Farm: $1,061
- USAA $1,115
- Farmers Insurance: $1,205
- GEICO: $1,358
- State average: $1,454
- Nationwide: $1,644
- Allstate: $2,342
As you can see, the difference between the lowest annual premium and the highest annual premium for the same driver, same vehicle, and same coverage can vary by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Take the time to shop around and compare quotes from several insurance companies or agents.
You may also want to discuss higher limits for your coverage because they can better protect you and your assets if you were involved in an accident while often only resulting a minimal increase in your rates. Today, many vehicles on the road cost more than the $25,000 minimum liability coverage to replace, and if you’re the at-fault driver, you could be held liable for the balance due.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.