houston texas skyline
DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

The metro area of Houston, which has a population of nearly 7 million people, is full of commuters. The sheer vastness of the metro area makes it hard to get by without a car to drive to and from work, school or entertainment. And, if you can’t get by without a car, you can’t get by without car insurance, especially considering that there are hundreds of deadly car accidents in the city of Houston each year.

About 640 people a year die on Houston-area roads, according to a 2018 report by the Houston Chronicle, and 2,850 more are seriously injured. It’s important to have a good car insurance policy for that reason alone, and when you factor in the other statistics, like the fact that Houston ranks second for fatal crashes on federal highways out of the 12 largest regions of the country, it really drives home the point that you need to be covered by a solid policy.

You need to have good car insurance if you live in Houston, but how do you choose the right company to insure your car against fender benders and major accidents on I-10? There are a ton of different car insurance companies that offer coverage for Houston residents, after all, from the big guys like Progressive to the smaller, local companies, and it can be difficult to wade through all the options.

Luckily, we’re here for you with some information on the best Houston car insurance companies of 2019. Let’s take a look at what they are.

Best Car Insurance Companies in Houston

So now that we’ve established why the cost of insurance in Houston is so high, let’s take a look at car insurance companies that offer the best options for Houston drivers.

Texas Farm Bureau: Highest rated and most affordable

Texas Farm Bureau is often the cheapest, or one of the cheapest options for car insurance in Houston, and it’s also the best all around option, according to the 2019 rankings for car insurance satisfaction from J.D. Power. The company also rated 5 out of 5 for overall customer satisfaction. The estimate for the cost of car insurance for a 24-64 year old single driver with good credit in Harris county is $981. That’s significantly lower than the average.

The cost of insuring your vehicle with Texas Farm Bureau will vary based on a number of factors, including the amount of coverage and the type of vehicle you drive, but on average, this company comes out on top for price and customer satisfaction.

Allstate: Cheapest for drivers under age 25

Allstate ranked second-highest in Texas for customer satisfaction, according to the 2019 rankings by J.D. Power, and has an A+ financial strength rating by A.M. Best. They also earned a 3 out of 5 rating on the J.D. Power customer satisfaction score, and ranked cheapest for drivers under age 25 in the quotes.

If you’re looking for gap insurance to cover the “gap” between the cost of your car note and the value of your car, Allstate is one of the only companies to offer it in Texas.

State Farm: Most popular among Texans

State Farm insures a large percentage of Texans — 15% or so, which is the largest in the state — which should speak for itself as to Texans’ trust in the insurance company. State Farm also earned an A++ financial strength rating by A.M. Best and a 3 out of 5 rating on the J.D. Power customer satisfaction score.

But it’s not just State Farm’s high ratings that landed it on this list. It’s also the estimated cost of their premiums, which would run about $853 for car insurance for a 26-64 year old driver with good credit and no accidents, according to an estimate provided by HelpInsure. That’s much lower than the state average, making this car insurance provider is so popular in Texas.

USAA: Best and cheapest option for military members

When it comes to providing solid insurance policies for affordable prices, you can’t beat USAA. The military-focused company has a strong financial standing according to A.M. Best, and it ranked near the top of the insurance companies that serve Texas by Consumer Reports and J.D. Power.

According to HelpInsure, the average car insurance through USAA to cover a 26-64 year old driver with good credit and no accidents in Harris county is $496, which is about half of what it would cost you to insure your car through most of the other insurance companies on this list. There is a caveat, though: you have to be a member of the military or related to an active or retired member of the military to become a member of USAA and snag those awesome rates.

Progressive: Simple quote process and tons of discounts

Given the good reputation Progressive has among its customers, it should be no surprise that they landed on this list of best car insurance companies in Houston. Between the A+ financial strength rating by A.M. Best and their low rates on car insurance — HelpInsure.com estimated that it would cost about $716 to insure a 26-64 year old female driver in Harris county with good credit and no accidents — Progressive is a solid choice for Houston drivers.

Progressive also has one of the best websites for getting a quote on car insurance. It’s user friendly and easy to navigate, and they offer a ton of discounts, including one for adding a newly licensed teen driver to your existing car insurance policy. Pretty cool considering that other insurance companies raise your rates for adding a teen driver to your policy.

The cost of car insurance in Houston

The average annual rate for car insurance in Texas is about $1,110, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The cost of premiums vary vastly based on your ZIP code, but on average, Texans pay an average of 14 percent more for car insurance premiums, and those premiums are even higher on average if you live in metro areas like Houston. For example, car insurance is the highest in Houston ZIP code 77076 — about $2,706 on average — but it’s significantly cheaper in other areas. The least expensive zip codes for car insurance in Houston are 77095, 77070, 77005, 77339 and 77489.

No matter what ZIP code you live in, though, there’s one common theme: car insurance in the city of Houston will cost you. There are certain factors that are that make the cost of car insurance higher across Houston, including:

  • An extremely high rate of vehicle theft in the metro area: There were 24,481 vehicle thefts in Houston during 2018, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) Annual Hot Spots report. Houston ranks well ahead of metro areas like New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia for car theft.
  • Long commutes: Most Houston residents drive to work, and the average commute is about 26 minutes.
  • A higher percentage of uninsured motorists: About 14.1 percent of drivers in Texas don’t carry insurance even though it’s mandatory.
  • Natural disasters: After Hurricane Harvey in 2017, car insurance rates went up by an average of 8 percent, in part because over 500,000 cars were flooded during the hurricane.

Given the already high cost of car insurance in Texas, it’s important to look for an affordable policy if you live in Houston or you could end up paying a pretty penny to insure your car.

Car insurance discounts in Houston

There are a ton of car insurance discounts available in Houston, and if you do your research, you may find that you qualify for one (or more!) of them. Let’s take a look at the different discounts offered in Houston and how drivers may qualify for them.

  • Bundling/customer loyalty discounts: If you bundle your car insurance, plan on renewing your policy early, or if you have multiple cars on the same policy, you may actually qualify for a customer loyalty discount, which many of the major car insurance companies offer.
  • Demographic-related discounts: Students, homeowners and seniors, among several other groups, may qualify for demographic-related discounts in Houston. If you’re a member of one of these groups, there’s a chance your car insurance company may have a way for you to save some cash on your premium.
  • AAA/other special groups: Members of special groups or drivers with elective roadside assistance coverage like AAA often qualify for car insurance discounts. So, if you’re a current or former member of the military, a first responder, or are associated with any special groups like AAA, you should ask your insurance company about potential discounts they may offer on your policy. Pro tip: If you’re a member of the military, start with USAA specifically. They’re known for great rates on insurance and they only serve military members and their families.
  • Mileage or low-use discounts: In a commuter city like Houston where most people travel a significant distance to and from work, mileage or low-use discounts can help save you a ton of money on your policy. If you only drive to and from work, or if you have a second car that’s used solely for work purposes––for example, a work truck that’s used only while you do chores on a farm––chances are you may qualify for this type of discount, so make sure you ask your agent whether or not it’s something they offer.
  • Good driver discounts: If you’re a driver with a clean record, you may be able to save some serious cash with a good driver discount, especially given Houston’s high accident rates. Car insurance companies like drivers who have solid driving records, and they’ll often reward you for with a solid discount on your car policy if you have no accidents or tickets.
  • Defensive driver discounts: Defensive drivers are prepared for whatever issues they may face on the road, which is precisely the type of driver car insurance companies like. If you’ve recently taken a defensive driving class or another driver training course, you may qualify for a defensive driver discount, so make sure to ask your agent about it.
  • Auto-pay/pre-payment/other payment-related discounts: If you’re the type of person who likes to set up auto-pay on your accounts, you may be able to receive a discount on your car insurance policy. Same goes for drivers who plan to pay for a full year’s policy up front, or for drivers who want to go paperless on their billing and opt to receive statements via the app or by email instead. There are a ton of insurance companies that offer billing-related discounts. All you have to do is ask.
  • Discounts for extra safety features: If you regularly use extra safety features as part of your driving routine––that includes anti-theft car alarms, steering wheel or tire locks, and other theft-deterring devices, as well as airbags and motorized seat belts––or if you drive an eco-friendly vehicle, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance.

Texas state law requirements

Before we get to the best car insurance companies, it’s important to make sure we know what amount of coverage the state law requires in Texas. The minimum amount of coverage Texans must carry to be in compliance is:

  • 30,000 per person
  • Up to $60,000 total per accident
  • A minimum of $25,000 in property damage coverage

This state law is often referred to as 30/60/25, and it’s higher than what’s required in most other states. In most states, the state minimum coverage is 25/50/20. It’s important to make sure any policy you consider purchasing will cover at least the minimum required by state law.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest car insurance in Houston?

Well, that depends on who you ask and what type of driver you are. There are tons of cheap car insurance options in the city of Houston, including several smaller Texas-based companies, so your best bet is to call around or shop quotes online to find the best policy to meet your needs. Start with the big guys, like State Farm, which is known for offering lower cost insurance in Texas, and go from there. Each company will offer different discounts and rates, so being a savvy shopper will ultimately lead you to the best car insurance deal.

What factors can affect the cost of my car insurance in Houston?

There are a ton of different factors that can raise or lower your car insurance rates if you live in the city of Houston. Everything from the make and model of your car to the type of coverage and your driving record can affect your rates, which is why it’s so important to get personalized car insurance quotes. Even your ZIP code can affect how much your car insurance policy will cost you, as can your marital status and what you use your car for.

What will happen if I drive uninsured in the city of Houston?

Well, quite a bit can happen if you drive in Houston — or in Texas in general — without an car insurance policy (or with a policy that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements for the state). If you are an uninsured driver in Houston, you may be looking at a ticket and a hefty fine, which can range from $350 for a first offense to $1,000 for subsequent offenses. If those hefty fines are not enough deterrent, you should also know that driving uninsured in Houston may cause you to have your driver’s license suspended. You could also end up having your car impounded for 180 days, so don’t risk it. It’s a whole lot cheaper (and safer) to drive insured than it is to deal with the repercussions of driving without coverage.