Feel like you’re a prisoner to an underperforming, overpriced car insurance policy? Believe me, you are not the only one feeling buyer’s remorse. Because there are so many insurance companies to choose from, it can be challenging to choose the right insurer.
Discounts are basically free money
Auto insurance companies don’t list every available discount very clearly, so the following is a list of both the well known and the harder-to-find ways to save on car insurance. If you’re not getting every credit you qualify for, you’re just leaving money on the table.
- Lower Rates for Military – Being on active duty in the military could mean lower rates.
- Passive Restraints and Air Bags – Vehicles equipped with air bags or motorized seat belts may earn rate discounts of up to 25% or more.
- Pay Upfront and Save – By paying your policy upfront instead of making monthly payments you may reduce your total bill.
- Discount for Good Grades – A discount for being a good student can earn a discount of 20% or more. The discount lasts up to age 25.
- Student Driver Training – Require your teen driver to successfully complete driver’s ed class if offered at their school.
Drivers should understand that some of the credits will not apply to your bottom line cost. Most only apply to the price of certain insurance coverages like physical damage coverage or medical payments. Even though it may seem like all those discounts means the company will pay you, companies wouldn’t make money that way.
For a list of companies offering car insurance discounts in Houston, follow this link.
Finding Car Insurance in Houston, Texas
Finding a lower price on insurance doesn’t have to be difficult. Just take the time comparing price quotes online with multiple companies. This can be accomplished in several different ways.
- The most efficient way consumers can make multiple comparisons is to use a rate comparison form (click to open form in new window). This method eliminates the need for separate forms for each company you want a rate for. In just a few minutes this one form compares rates from multiple low-cost companies.
- A different way to shop for car insurance online is to take the time to go to each individual company website and request a quote. For instance, we’ll assume you want to compare Progressive, Allstate and American Family. To find out each rate you need to spend time on each company’s site to input your insurance information, which is why the first method is more popular.
To view a list of companies in Houston, click here.
- The hardest way to get comparison rates is to drive around to different agent offices. The ability to buy insurance online can eliminate the need for a local agent unless you have a need for the personal advice that only a license agent can provide. It is possible to comparison shop online and get advice from an agent in your area and we’ll touch on that later.
It’s up to you which method you use, but ensure you are comparing exactly the same quote information for every quote you compare. If you have different deductibles it will be very difficult to make an equal comparison in Houston.
Is my situation unique?
When choosing the right insurance coverage for your personal vehicles, there is no cookie cutter policy. Every situation is different so your insurance needs to address that. For example, these questions can aid in determining if your situation might need an agent’s assistance.
- How much liability do I need to cover my assets?
- Do I need to file an SR-22 for a DUI in Texas?
- When should my teen driver be added to my policy?
- Which companies will insure high-risk drivers?
- Should I buy only the required Texas minimum liability coverage?
- Should I sign the liability waiver when renting a car?
If you’re not sure about those questions, you might consider talking to a licensed agent. If you don’t have a local agent, simply complete this short form or you can also visit this page to select a carrier It is quick, free and you can get the answers you need.
Your local neighborhood insurance agent
A small number of people would prefer to sit down with an agent and there is nothing wrong with that. Professional agents are trained to spot inefficiencies and help file insurance claims. One of the great benefits of comparing insurance prices online is you may find the lowest rates and still choose a local agent.
To make it easy to find an agent, after completing this quick form, your insurance data is transmitted to participating agents in Houston who will battle for your insurance coverage. You never need to even leave your home since price quotes are sent directly to your email. How cool is that?!
Selecting an insurance company should depend on more than just the price. These questions are important to ask:
- If they are an independent agency, which companies do they recommend?
- How much will you save each year by using a higher deductible?
- Are there any hidden costs in their price quote and does it include driving and credit history?
- If you have an accident, are you able to get your vehicle repaired at the shop of your choice?
- Will you be dealing directly with the agent or with a Custom Service Representative (CSR)?
Listed below are Houston insurers that may be able to provide price quotes.
Lipton Agency – 2611 Fm 1960 Rd W # D100, Houston, TX 77068 – (281) 580-2510
James A White Insurance – 2620 Fountain View Dr # 336, Houston, TX 77057 – (713) 780-1023
Friends Insurance – 12083 Beechnut St, Houston, TX 77072 – (281) 568-1702
State Farm Insurance – 10111 Cedar Creek Dr, Houston, TX 77042 – (713) 784-2620
Farm Bureau Insurance – 15302 Stuebner Airline Rd, Houston, TX 77069 – (281) 440-8067
Allstate Insurance – 17398 Northwest Fwy, Houston, TX 77040 – (713) 937-9100
Farmers Insurance Group – 800 Tully Rd # 202, Houston, TX 77079 – (281) 558-9466
Liberty Mutual Insurance – 13201 Northwest Fwy # 400, Houston, TX 77040 – (713) 460-4650
After getting answers to your satisfaction to your questions and locked in a price quote, it’s possible that you found an provider that meets your needs to provide car insurance coverage.
Do drivers who switch really save?
Consumers in Texas can’t ignore all the ads for car insurance savings by Progressive, GEICO, Allstate and State Farm. They all seem to make an identical promise that you can save if you switch to their company.
How does each company claim to save you money? It’s all in the numbers.
All companies are able to cherry pick for the type of customer that earns them a profit. An example of a profitable customer might be over the age of 50, has no driving citations, and drives less than 7,500 miles a year. A customer who fits that profile will get the preferred rates and as a result will probably save when switching.
Potential customers who are not a match for this ideal profile must pay a more expensive rate which leads to business going elsewhere. The ads state “drivers who switch” not “everyone that quotes” save that kind of money. This is how insurance companies can confidently advertise the savings. This illustrates why you absolutely need to get as many quotes as possible. You cannot predict the company that will provide you with the cheapest rates.
Detailed coverages of your car insurance policy
Learning about specific coverages of car insurance can help you determine which coverages you need and proper limits and deductibles. The terms used in a policy can be confusing and coverage can change by endorsement. Below you’ll find the usual coverages found on the average car insurance policy.
This coverage pays for damage that is not covered by collision coverage. You first have to pay a deductible and then insurance will cover the rest of the damage.
Comprehensive coverage pays for claims like rock chips in glass, damage from a tornado or hurricane, fire damage, theft and damage from flooding. The most a car insurance company will pay at claim time is the cash value of the vehicle, so if the vehicle’s value is low consider dropping full coverage.
Coverage for medical payments
Med pay and PIP coverage kick in for short-term medical expenses for things like X-ray expenses, surgery, hospital visits and ambulance fees. The coverages can be used to cover expenses not covered by your health insurance program or if you do not have health coverage. Medical payments and PIP cover not only the driver but also the vehicle occupants and will also cover if you are hit as a while walking down the street. PIP coverage is not available in all states but can be used in place of medical payments coverage
Uninsured and underinsured coverage
This protects you and your vehicle when other motorists do not carry enough liability coverage. Covered claims include hospital bills for your injuries as well as damage to your vehicle.
Due to the fact that many Texas drivers have only the minimum liability required by law (30/60/25 in Texas), their liability coverage can quickly be exhausted. This is the reason having UM/UIM coverage is a good idea.
Coverage for collisions
Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle resulting from colliding with an object or car. You have to pay a deductible and the rest of the damage will be paid by collision coverage.
Collision insurance covers claims such as crashing into a building, sideswiping another vehicle, colliding with a tree, crashing into a ditch and sustaining damage from a pot hole. Collision coverage makes up a good portion of your premium, so analyze the benefit of dropping coverage from lower value vehicles. You can also raise the deductible in order to get cheaper collision rates.
Liability insurance provides protection from damages or injuries you inflict on a person or their property in an accident. It protects YOU against claims from other people. Liability doesn’t cover damage to your own property or vehicle.
It consists of three limits, bodily injury per person, bodily injury per accident and property damage. You might see limits of 50/100/50 which means a limit of $50,000 per injured person, a limit of $100,000 in injury protection per accident, and property damage coverage for $50,000.
Liability coverage pays for things such as repair costs for stationary objects, court costs, medical services, pain and suffering and emergency aid. How much liability coverage do you need? That is a decision to put some thought into, but buy as large an amount as possible. Texas requires drivers to carry at least 30,000/60,000/25,000 but you should think about purchasing more liability than the minimum.
More effort can pay off
When trying to cut insurance costs, make sure you don’t reduce coverage to reduce premium. There have been many situations where an accident victim reduced comprehensive coverage or liability limits only to find out that their decision to reduce coverage ended up costing them more. Your strategy should be to purchase plenty of coverage at the best price, not the least amount of coverage.
Low-cost car insurance can be bought online and with local Houston insurance agents, so you should be comparing quotes from both to have the best selection. Some car insurance companies do not offer you the ability to get quotes online and these regional insurance providers work with independent agents.
More sites with car insurance information
More tips and info about car insurance can be found at the Texas Department of Insurance website. Texas drivers can read state legal mandates and laws, find out which companies have the most complaints, and find disaster information.