Nobody I know likes paying for car insurance, in particular when they are paying too much.
Consumers have many insurance companies to buy insurance from, and even though it’s nice to have a choice, having more insurers makes it harder to compare company pricing.
It’s smart to do rate comparisons occasionally since insurance rates change frequently. Just because you found the best deal two years ago you can probably find a better price now. Forget anything you know (or think you know) about car insurance because you’re about to find out the fastest and easiest way to get good coverage at a lower rate.
Buy Cheaper Car Insurance with These Tips
An important part of buying insurance is that you know the different types of things that come into play when calculating car insurance rates. Understanding what influences your rates enables informed choices that can help you get cheap car insurance in Houston.
The list below includes a partial list of the pieces car insurance companies consider when setting your rates.
- Pay less if you’re married – Having a spouse helps lower the price on your car insurance policy. Marriage means you’re more responsible and it’s statistically proven that married drivers get in fewer accidents.
- Multiple policies with one company can save – Some insurers will give a discount to insureds who consolidate policies with them such as combining an auto and homeowners policy. Discounts can be five, ten or even twenty percent. Even if you’re getting this discount you may still want to compare rates to make sure you are getting the best deal.
- Special features that cut premiums – Driving a car with anti-theft technology or alarm system can get you a discount on your car insurance. Theft prevention devices such as tamper alarm systems, vehicle immobilizer technology and General Motors OnStar all hinder auto theft.
- High performance equals high price – The performance of the vehicle you drive makes a substantial difference in your rates. The cheapest insurance rates are usually for lower performance four cylinder passenger cars, but the final cost of insurance is determined by many other factors.
- Males pay more for insurance – Statistics show that women are safer drivers than men. However, this does not mean men are worse drivers. Women and men cause accidents in similar percentages, but the male of the species have costlier accidents. Men also tend to get cited for more serious violations like reckless driving and DUI. Male drivers age 16 to 19 are the most expensive to insure and therefore have the most expensive car insurance rates.
- Mature drivers pay less – Older drivers are more responsible, file fewer claims and are safer drivers. Youthful drivers are statistically proven to get distracted easily behind the wheel therefore car insurance rates are much higher.
- Don’t get talked into coverage you don’t need – There are a lot of extra coverages that you can buy if you aren’t careful. Coverages like vanishing deductibles, towing coverage and term life insurance are some examples. They may seem good when you first buy your policy, but if they’re wasting money get rid of them and save.
- More miles equals more premium – The higher the mileage driven in a year the more you’ll pay to insure your vehicle. Almost all companies charge to insure your cars based on their usage. Cars and trucks left parked in the garage qualify for better rates than vehicles that are driven to work every day. Make sure your car insurance declarations sheet properly reflects the correct usage for each vehicle.
Discounts are available to cut your rates
Auto insurance companies don’t always list every available discount in an easy-to-find place, so we researched both well-publicized and the harder-to-find savings tricks you should be using.
- Military Rewards – Being deployed with a military unit could mean lower rates.
- Homeowners Discount – Owning a house in Houston may trigger a car insurance policy discount because maintaining a house is proof that your finances are in order.
- Good Student Discount – A discount for being a good student can save 20 to 25%. This discount can apply up to age 25.
- Save with a New Car – Buying coverage on a new vehicle can cost up to 25% less because new vehicles have to meet stringent safety requirements.
- Driver Safety – Taking part in a driver safety course could save 5% or more and easily recoup the cost of the course.
- One Accident Forgiven – Some insurance companies allow you one accident before your rates go up if you are claim-free for a certain period of time.
- Early Signing – Some companies give discounts for signing up prior to your current policy expiration. This can save 10% or more.
- Employee of Federal Government – Employees or retirees of the government can save as much as 8% with certain companies.
- No Accidents – Good drivers with no accidents pay much less when compared to frequent claim filers.
Consumers should know that some credits don’t apply to all coverage premiums. Some only reduce specific coverage prices like medical payments or collision. Just because it seems like having all the discounts means you get insurance for free, it doesn’t quite work that way.
Quote online but still have a local agent
Certain consumers would prefer to buy from a licensed agent and there is nothing wrong with that. The best thing about price shopping on the web is the fact that you can find the lowest rates but also keep your business local.
To make it easy to find an agent, after completing this quick form, the coverage information is instantly submitted to companies in Houston who will battle for your business. There is no reason to even leave your home since price quotes are sent immediately to your email address. How cool is that?! You can find the lowest rates AND a local agent.
Choosing a company shouldn’t rely on just a cheap price. Any agent should have no problem answering these questions:
- Are they properly licensed to sell insurance in Texas?
- Do they review policy coverages at every renewal?
- Do you have coverage for a rental car if your vehicle is in the repair shop?
- Does the agency support the community they serve?
- How are they compensated?
- Are they able to influence company decisions when a claim is filed?
- Do clients work directly with the agent or are most inquiries handled by a CSR?
Two different types of car insurance agents
When searching for a local agent, you need to know there are two types of insurance agents to choose from. Houston agents can either be independent or captive.
Captive agencies write business for a single company like Liberty Mutual, State Farm, Allstate and AAA. They usually cannot shop your coverage around so they are skilled at selling on more than just price. Captive agents are very knowledgeable on their company’s products which helps them sell insurance even at higher premiums.
Shown below is a short list of captive insurance agencies in Houston that can give you rate quotes.
Southern Farm Bureau Casualty – 3200 Wilcrest Dr # 550 – Houston, TX 77042 – (713) 243-5700
Liberty Mutual Insurance – 13201 Northwest Fwy # 400 – Houston, TX 77040 – (713) 460-4650
Allstate Insurance – 1500 S Dairy Ashford St – Houston, TX 77077 – (281) 293-7077
Farmers Insurance Group – 5995 North Fwy – Houston, TX 77076 – (713) 694-5500
State Farm Insurance – 800 W Sam Houston Pkwy S # 212 – Houston, TX 77042 – (713) 464-2077
American Family Insurance – 10603 Grant Rd # 210 – Houston, TX 77070 – (281) 955-7332
Independent Agents (or Brokers)
These agents do not work for one specific company so they have the ability to put coverage amongst many companies depending on which coverage is best. If you are not satisfied with one company, they simply move the coverage in-house without you having to go to a different agency.
When comparison shopping, we recommend you include at least one independent agent to have the most options to choose from.
The following are independent insurance agencies in Houston who can help you get price quote information.
Chapman Agency – 12903 Birch Falls Rd – Houston, TX 77065 – (713) 686-9729
Evergreen General Agency – 10333 Harwin Dr – Houston, TX 77036 – (713) 988-0646
Aspen Insurance – 2600 South Loop W – Houston, TX 77054 – (713) 592-0737
Gwen Foster Agency – 5414 Katy Fwy – Houston, TX 77007 – (713) 426-3900
Milton Pitts Insurance – 2727 Allen Pkwy – Houston, TX 77019 – (713) 522-7861
For a full directory of Houston insurance agents, please go to this site.
Upon receiving acceptable answers and a good coverage price, most likely you have located an insurance agency that is a good match to properly insure your vehicles.
Do drivers who switch really save $409 a year?
Car insurance companies such as 21st Century, Allstate and State Farm continually stream ads on TV and radio. They all seem to make the same claim that you’ll save big after switching to them. But how can every company say the same thing? This is how they do it.
All companies can use profiling for the type of customer they prefer to insure. For instance, a profitable customer could be over the age of 50, insures multiple vehicles, and has excellent credit. A driver who meets those qualifications gets the lowest rates and as a result will probably pay quite a bit less when switching companies.
Potential insureds who don’t qualify for the “perfect” profile will be charged a higher premium and ends up with business not being written. The ad wording is “customers that switch” but not “drivers who get quotes” save that much. That’s why insurance companies can make those claims. That is why you need to compare many company’s rates. It’s just too difficult to predict which insurance companies will give you the biggest savings.
You may need specialized coverage
When it comes to choosing proper insurance coverage for your vehicles, there really is not a one size fits all plan. Everyone’s situation is unique so your insurance should reflect that These are some specific questions might help in determining whether or not you would benefit from professional advice.
- Can I afford to buy a different vehicle if my vehicle is totaled?
- Is my vehicle covered for smoke damage?
- Do I need higher deductibles?
- What should my uninsured motorist coverage limits be in Texas?
- Am I covered if I drive in a foreign country?
- Will my vehicle be repaired with OEM or aftermarket parts?
- Can I drive in Mexico and have coverage?
- Do all my vehicles need collision coverage?
- Are my tools covered if they get stolen from my vehicle?
If it’s difficult to answer those questions but one or more may apply to you, you might consider talking to a licensed insurance agent. If you don’t have a local agent, complete this form or you can go here for a list of companies in your area.
Learn more about car insurance in Texas
Even more information can be found at the Texas Department of Insurance website. Texas drivers can find out industry alerts, view a list of available companies, view agent and company licensing information, and read state legal mandates and laws.
What is YOUR best insurance company?
We just showed you a lot of tips how to get a better price on car insurance. The key thing to remember is the more price quotes you have, the higher your chance of finding lower rates. Consumers may even find the best prices are with the smaller companies. These smaller insurers often have lower prices on specific markets than their larger competitors like Progressive or GEICO.
Low-cost car insurance is attainable from both online companies as well as from independent agents in Houston, and you should compare price quotes from both to have the best rate selection. Some car insurance companies don’t offer you the ability to get quotes online and many times these regional insurance providers only sell through independent insurance agents.