Houston, Texas Car Insurance Guide (Coverage + Costs)
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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020
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|Population Density||3,991 people per square mile|
|Average Annual Cost of Insurance||$7,136.56|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Companies||USAA and State Farm|
|Road Conditions||Poor share: 24%
Mediocre share: 28%
Fair share: 11%
Good share: 38%
Vehicle Operating Costs: $610
Houston is one of the busiest cities in Texas. A hub for the oil and gas market, Houston’s economy has been booming over the last decade as the city continues to grow and expand. There is always something to do, from visiting the Space Center to the Houston Zoo.
However, with so many people living in Houston, making it the most populated city in Texas, you are bound to run into some traffic as you venture around the city. If you need some help navigating Houston’s traffic and making sure you are properly insured, look no further than our guide.
We break down everything you need to know about owning a car in Houston so that you can find the best insurance available. We also have you covered if you are looking for information about living in Houston, from crime rates to living costs.
If you want to jump right into comparing rates, you can enter your ZIP code in our free tool above.
The Cost of Car Insurance in Houston
One of the best ways to save on your monthly budget is to cut back on your car insurance costs. This can be harder than it seems, though. There are multiple insurers to pick from, discounts to pour over, and benefits to discuss.
Unless you are an insurance agent, this can all be a little overwhelming. To help make the process easier for you, we are going to go over car insurance rates in Houston. All of the following data is from our partnership with Quadrant.
This way, you can see at a glance which insurers will have the best rates for your particular needs and what demographic factors will cause your rates to go through the roof.
So stay with us as we dive into car insurance rates in Houston.
Does gender and age affect my car insurance in Houston?
Age is an important factor when it comes to determining your rates. A teenage driver is going to pay much more than a 60-year-old driver. So what is the most common age in Houston, and how much are they paying?
Data USA found that the median age in Houston is 33.1 years, so most drivers will be paying rates for 35-year-olds. What is this rate? Take a look at the table below to find out.
|Houston Rates by Age||Average Annual Rate|
|17 years old||$9,393.23|
|25 years old||$3,794.62|
|35 years old||$3,018.83|
|60 years old||$2,876.24|
The cheapest age to insure is 60 years old. Now that we know how age impacts rates, let’s take a look at gender and rates. In Houston, male and female drivers have the following rate differences:
- Male Drivers – $4,770
- Female Drivers – $4,500
Male drivers typically pay more because studies have shown males to be riskier drivers, as they are more inclined not to wear seatbelts, speed, or own dangerous cars. The result? When you combine age and gender rate averages, male drivers consistently pay more than female drivers.
|Married 60-year-old female||$2,791.00|
|Married 60-year-old male||$2,961.47|
|Married 35-year-old female||$2,969.61|
|Married 35-year-old male||$3,068.06|
|Single 25-year-old female||$3,683.32|
|Single 25-year-old male||$3,905.93|
|Single 17-year-old female||$8,559.72|
|Single 17-year-old male||$10,226.74|
You may have noticed that single and married are also included on the list. Married drivers can actually earn a discount for being married. This is because there are now two people responsible for car insurance payments, and married drivers tend to be safer and less likely to get into accidents.
So if you just got hitched to the love of your life, make sure to let your insurer know.
What are the cheapest ZIP codes in Houston?
If you’ve ever moved around a city, then you know what neighborhood you chose to live in has an impact on your car insurance rates. This is because there are varying risk factors, such as crime rates. Different incomes can also result in risks, such as drivers missing payments.
If you would like to see how much rates vary by ZIP codes in Houston, take a look at the table below.
|Houston ZIP Code||Average Annual Rate|
Between the most and least expensive ZIP codes, there is a roughly $2,000 difference. This means a move could cost you more than you expected. If you move into a more dangerous neighborhood, you can expect your rates to go up.
For example, Sunnyside in Houston is considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods, and its ZIP code 77051 is one of the most expensive in the city. So the safer the area you live in is, the less you will pay for car insurance.
What’s the best car insurance company in Houston?
Anyone who’s shopped for insurance knows that finding the right insurer is hard work. Not only do you have to consider coverage, but also rate, discounts, and reliability of the company.
If this all seems a little overwhelming, fear not. We are going to break down companies in Houston by looking at their rates and what factors can make rates change so drastically. If you ever been taken by surprise by a sudden price increase in your rates, this section will clear things up for you.
So keep scrolling to learn about car insurance rates in Houston.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
Before we dive into various price-changing factors, let’s take a look at the general rates of companies in Houston.
|Group||Single 17-Year-Old Female||Single 17-Year-Old Male||Single 25-Year-Old Female||Single 25-Year-Old Male||Married 35-Year-Old Female||Married 35-Year-Old Male||Married 60-Year-Old Female||Married 60-Year-Old Male||Average|
While USAA is the cheapest provider on the list, it is only for military members and veterans (and their families). This means that for everyone else, State Farm is the cheapest provider.
Of course, which insurer is the cheapest provider also depends on a driver’s demographic. Make sure to take a careful look at what insurers charge for your age and gender, as an insurer that is labeled as cheap could actually have a higher rate than expected.
Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates
Most drivers in Texas travel an average of 15,533 miles a year on Texas’s sprawling roads. This distance is actually considered a long commute by most insurers, and some insurers will charge a little extra. After all, the longer a driver is on the road, the more at risk they are of being involved in an accident.
|Group||10-Mile Commute. 6,000 Annual Mileage||25-Mile Commute. 12,000 Annual Mileage.||Price Increase|
An insurer may not charge for a longer commute but still have an expensive rate. Make sure to check the final rate rather than considering the price increase. For example, Geico charges about $150 for drivers with a long commute, but it is still cheaper than companies who don’t charge.
Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates
Finding an insurer that offers affordable coverage can be tricky, especially if you are not willing to sacrifice quality coverage for price. Luckily, there are a few insurers who offer high coverage at an affordable price.
State Farm has the cheapest rates for high coverage (USAA is the cheapest, but is only for military). High coverage at State Farm is going to cost about $4,000 less than high coverage at American Family (the most expensive provider).
So make sure to shop around, as you could get high coverage without breaking the bank.
Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates
Credit score is essential to getting an apartment, house, credit card, and car insurance. Drivers who have poor credit will find that their car insurance rates go up.
At USAA and State Farm, the cheapest companies on the list, going from good to poor credit will cost drivers about $2,000. This is expensive, but the price can be even worse at other companies.
For example, Allstate’s price increase from good to poor credit is around $3,000, and American Family’s increase is about $4,000.
Since rates are so expensive at all companies, improving your credit score is the best way to bring your rates down.
Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates
Finally, let’s take a look at a factor most drivers are familiar with — their driving record. The worst offenses are at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, and DUIs.
|Group||Clean Record||With One Accident||With One DUI||With One Speeding Violation|
Depending on what offense you have on your driving record, check around at other providers, and see if there is a cheaper rate. Make sure you also qualify for accident forgiveness (if available at your provider), as this will make sure your rates aren’t raised after your first at-fault accident.
What are some car insurance factors in Houston?
There are a few other factors beyond a driver’s personal record that influence car insurance factors. Insurers will also examine an area’s prosperity, such as average incomes, poverty, and more.
Looking at these factors will also give you a good idea of the economic status of your city and how easy it will be to find a new job. So stick with us to see what Houston’s economy is like and how this affects car insurance rates.
Houston Metro Report
Brookings Metro Report is a study that looks at the top 100 cities in the US to evaluate their prosperity and growth. Since Houston is a major US city, it made the list of top 100 cities.
The first aspect of the study we want to look at is Houston’s prosperity levels (how much wealth an area produces) from 2016 to 2017.
- Prosperity: 95th of 100 (poor)
- Productivity: -0.4 percent (86th of 100)
- Standard of Living: -0.9 percent (96th of 100)
- Average Annual Wage: -0.4 percent (98th of 100)
Unfortunately, Houston did poorly. It is ranked 95 out of the 100 cities for prosperity and has seen a slight decrease in productivity, the standard of living, and average annual wage.
In addition, Houston’s growth (value of goods, jobs, etc. produced in an area) didn’t do too much better than its prosperity levels. This doesn’t look overly great for the city, although Houston’s economy may improve in the future.
- Growth: 85th of 100 (poor)
- Jobs: +0.9 percent (71st of 100)
- Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP): +0.4 percent (91st of 100)
- Jobs at Young Firms: +0.8 percent (76th of 100)
Since Houston had some slight increases in growth, continued growth could help Houston’s prosperity levels.
Median Household Income in Houston
How much you make every year also determines how much of your budget is left after paying for car insurance. According to Data USA, the average Houston resident in 2017 earned $50,896.
This salary is less than the US average income of $60,366 and less than the Texas average income of $59,206. Unfortunately, car insurance doesn’t cost less than the Texas average in Houston.
The average cost of car insurance in Houston is $7,136. When you look at how much the average Houston resident earns, this means that most residents are spending 14 percent of their incomes on car insurance.
This is way too much, especially considering the added cost of vehicle maintenance, the vehicle itself, and gas. Worried now about what percent of your income is going to car insurance? Use our free insurance as a percentage of income calculator below.
Homeownership in Houston
Because the average salaries in Houston are lower than average, we want to check on how many Houston residents own their homes. Why do we care?
Because homeowners are often eligible for cheaper rates at their car insurance provider, especially if they bundle a home and auto policy together.
Now that you know the importance of homeownership in relation to car insurance, let’s see what the rate of homeownership is.
Data USA found that in 2017, 42.8 percent of Houston residents owned their homes. In comparison, the Texas rate of homeownership is 62 percent.
In addition to Houston’s low rate of homeownership and low salaries, the cost of houses in Houston is higher than the state average. The median value of a home in Houston is $173,600, whereas the Texas median value of a home is only $151,500.
This could be part of the reason that there is such a low rate of homeownership in Houston, as the houses are simply too expensive to buy on less than average salaries.
Education in Houston
If you want to get the best job possible to afford a house in Houston, you may be looking around for education opportunities. Luckily, Houston has a ton of universities around the city.
|University||Sector||2016 Degrees Awarded|
|University of Houston||Public, four-year or above||9,524|
|Houston Community College||Public, two-year||8,129|
|University of Houston-Downtown||Public, four-year or above||2,882|
|Rice University||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||2,260|
|Texas Southern University||Public, four-year or above||1,562|
|The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston||Public, four-year or above||1,498|
|University of Phoenix-Texas||Private for-profit, four-year or above||1,114|
|University of St Thomas (227863)||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||1,042|
|Universal Technical Institute of Texas Inc.||Private for-profit, two-year||902|
|Houston Baptist University||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||725|
|Pima Medical Institute-Houston||Private for-profit, two-year||702|
|College of Health Care Professions-Northwest||Private for-profit, four-year or above||496|
|Tulsa Welding School-Houston||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||444|
|Everest Institute-Bissonnet||Private not-for-profit, less-than two-year||439|
|Everest Institute-Hobby||Private not-for-profit, less-than two-year||343|
|Baylor College of Medicine||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||342|
|South Texas College of Law Houston||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||338|
|Everest Institute-Greenspoint||Private not-for-profit, less-than two-year||327|
|The Art Institute of Houston||Private for-profit, four-year or above||317|
|Ocean Corporation||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||296|
|Sanford-Brown College-Houston||Private for-profit, two-year||272|
|Remington College-North Houston Campus||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||248|
|Brightwood College-Houston||Private for-profit, two-year||245|
|Fortis Institute-Houston||Private for-profit, two-year||231|
|The College of Health Care Professions-Southwest Houston||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||210|
|Texas Barber College||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||188|
|American InterContinental University-Houston||Private for-profit, four-year or above||181|
|Center for Advanced Legal Studies||Private for-profit, two-year||181|
|Florida Career College-Houston Campus||Private for-profit, two-year||181|
|Fortis College-Houston||Private for-profit, two-year||168|
|Brightwood College-Friendswood||Private for-profit, two-year||166|
|Utah College of Massage Therapy-Houston||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||166|
|Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service||Private not-for-profit, two-year||157|
|School of Automotive Machinists & Technology||Private for-profit, two-year||157|
|Culinary Institute Inc||Private for-profit, two-year||145|
|The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center||Public, four-year or above||144|
|Northwest Educational Center||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||138|
|Paul Mitchell the School-Houston||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||134|
|Vet Tech Institute of Houston||Private for-profit, two-year||132|
|Texas Health School||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||118|
|Sebring Career Schools-Houston||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||116|
|Chamberlain College of Nursing-Texas||Private for-profit, four-year or above||111|
|Aviation Institute of Maintenance-Houston||Private for-profit, two-year||94|
|Astrodome Career Centers||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||93|
|College of Biblical Studies-Houston||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||90|
|Remington College-Houston Campus||Private not-for-profit, two-year||86|
|Houston Training School-Gulfgate||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||66|
|Professional Career Training Institute||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||57|
|Trend Barber College (450711)||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||49|
|Houston Training Schools-Southwest||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||39|
|MediaTech Institute-Houston||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||39|
|Houston Graduate School of Theology||Private not-for-profit, four-year or above||37|
|Houston Training Schools-Gessner||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||30|
|Jay's Technical Institute||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||30|
|Trend Barber College||Private for-profit, less-than two-year||29|
|National American University-Houston||Private for-profit, four-year or above||26|
|American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Med||Private for-profit, four-year or above||23|
|Houston International College Cardiotech Ultrasound School||Private for-profit, two-year||13|
|The Vocational Nursing Institute Inc||Private not-for-profit, less-than two-year||7|
|Interactive College of Technology||Private for-profit, two-year||5|
|Interactive College of Technology (443696)||Private for-profit, two-year||3|
The University of Houston is the largest university in the city. The Houston Community College is the second-largest school, and it is a great way to save money before transferring to a four-year university.
The community college also has one or two-year accreditations and online courses, which makes it easy to get jump-started on a new career path.
Wage by Race and Ethnicity for Common Jobs in Houston
Curios how wages vary by demographic? The table below shows how much money different races and ethnicities earn for their jobs as miscellaneous managers in Texas.
|Race or Ethnicity||Annual|
|Percentage of Income Spent
on Car Insurance
|Two or More Races||$86,431||8.25%|
American Indians in Texas are the highest paid, with 6 percent of their incomes going to car insurance. As you can see, though, salaries drop as you go down the list, resulting in increasingly higher percentages of income going to car insurance.
Wage by Gender for Common Jobs in Houston
Another common demographic that shows salary differences is gender. The table below shows how salaries are different for males and females in Texas in the exact same jobs.
|Job Field||Male Salary||Male Premiums as Percentage of Income||Female Salary||Female Premiums as Percentage of Income|
|Elementary and Middle School Teachers||$51,283||13.91%||$47,261||15.10%|
|Driver/Sales Workers and Truck Drivers||$48,944||14.58%||$35,749||19.96%|
Males in Texas earn about 1.38 times more than females. Male employees in Texas earn an average of $65,834, while female employees only earn an average of $47,183.
The result? It’s much harder for female employees to pay their car insurance bills.
Poverty by Age and Gender in Houston
Naturally, poverty also varies depending on age and gender. Take a look at the table below to see Houston’s poverty demographics.
|Houston Percentage of Males and Females Living in Poverty by Age||Male||Female|
The largest demographic that lives in poverty in Houston is females ages 25 to 34. In fact, after age 16, in every age group, there are more females than males living in poverty in Houston.
The city also has a higher-than-average poverty rate. 21.2 percent of those living in poverty live below the poverty line, which is much higher than the national average living below the poverty line (13.4 percent).
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity in Houston
The other set of poverty data we wanted to look at is poverty by race and ethnicity in common jobs. As we showed earlier, different races and ethnicities have markedly different salaries, and this can impact poverty just like gender and age.
|Race or Ethnicity||Number of People Living in Poverty (2017)|
|Two or More||9,053|
Hispanics in Houston have the highest number living in poverty, although whites are not far behind.
Employment by Occupations in Houston
We’ve covered poverty and salaries by job field, but what are the most common occupations in Houston? According to Data USA, the most common job fields are:
- Office and Administrative Support Occupations (120,629 people)
- Sales and Related Occupations (109,920 people)
- Management Occupations (104,408 people)
Remember when we talked about how Houston’s growth and prosperity isn’t great? Well, the employment rate in Houston from 2016 to 2017 dropped -1.48 percent.
This means that employment decreased from 1,120,000 employees to 1,110,000 employees. So if you are starting your job search in Houston, it may be a little harder than normal to find a job in the city.
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Driving in Houston
You can expect Houston’s streets to be fairly congested, as Houston is the most populated city in Texas. However, this can make driving a little more stressful, especially if you aren’t sure how to navigate the city’s roads.
In addition, a city needs to have well-maintained roads and clear highway access for its residents. If not, a short trip can become a disaster. So in this section, we are going to go over major roads in the city, traffic, weather, and more.
What are the major roads in Houston?
To begin, we are going to look at the major roads in Houston, from highways to road conditions. Remember, a city’s upkeep of its roads makes for either a smooth or rough commute to work every day.
The last thing you want is to be swerving around potholes all day constantly. So take a look at Houston’s road facts in the following sections.
Texas is a big state, and it requires a lot of roadway to get its residents from one place to the next. In fact, there are 25 active routes (major highways) in Texas that add 3,501 miles of roadway to the state.
I-10, I-45, and I-69 (three of the before-mentioned 25 routes) run right through Houston, which makes it easy to take a major highway in or out of the city.
Unfortunately, the toll on I-10 is right in Houston, which means you may have to pay a toll every time you use that highway. Want more bad news?
Three of the toll roads in Houston are considered the most expensive toll roads in the U.S.
- State Highway 242 connector ramp
- Fort Bend Parkway
- State Highway 249 connector ramp
However, you can make your trip through these toll roads a little easier by buying a toll tag. Houston is served by Harris County Toll Road Authority, which sells EZ TAGs.
The EZ TAG costs $40 ($15 for the device and $25 for the prepaid account). The good news is that you pay the lowest toll, which can make up for having to go through so many toll roads in Houston and offset the cost of an EZ TAG.
You can also get an EZ TAG Express ($40) or a BancPass ($40) through Harris County Toll Road Authority. However, an EZ TAG Express will not give you the lowest toll rate.
Popular Road Trips and Sites
The most populated city in Texas also has some of the most stuff to do in Texas.
- Christmas Zoo Lights – If you love animals and light displays, the Houston zoo has a display every year.
- Shark Voyage – The Houston aquarium has an underwater train ride.
- Waterparks – Houston is one of the hotter cities in Texas in the summer, making water parks an essential on the summer to-do list.
Want to get out of the city? Take a look at the list of popular road trips below.
- Abandoned Place Road Trip – The abandoned places on this list will send shivers up and down your spine.
- Christmas Lights Road Trip – A neighborhood in Houston is one of the stops this Christmas trip.
- Haunted Road Trip – Love ghost stories? Then you need to take this haunted road trip.
- Lighthouse Road Trip – If you want to spend a summer on the beach, this road trip takes you to the best lighthouses in Texas.
There is plenty to do both in and around Houston, which is perfect for anyone who likes to take adventures around their home city.
TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, did a study on what Houston’s roads are like. Take a look at the table below to see what types of roads you will be driving around on.
Looking at the data, only about half of Houston’s roads are in good or fair condition. This means that half of the roads you drive on will be mediocre or poor.
This can put a lot of added wear and tear on your vehicle, costing you more money for vehicle maintenance and repairs every year.
Does Houston use speeding or red-light cameras?
As a result of the new law, only a few Texas communities are allowed to keep their red-light cameras up (communities that can’t get out of their contracts).
Houston is not one of these communities, which means any cameras you see will be inactive. Texas also doesn’t allow speeding cameras, so you won’t’ see those around the city.
What type of vehicles are in Houston?
Every state and even city has a unique car culture, depending on the incomes, weather, and other factors. For example, car owners in Alaska are going to have vastly different vehicles than car owners in Florida.
To see what others are driving around in Houston, as well as what risks you’ll face when owning a vehicle, keep reading.
Most Popular Vehicles Owned
Curious what types of vehicles Houston residents own? According to YourMechanic, the following types of vehicles are the most popular in Houston:
|Car Type||Percentage Serviced by YourMechanic in Houston|
|Muscle Cars with V8 Engines||18.5%|
Houston residents are big fans of American made vehicles and muscle cars. In fact, the most unusually popular car is a Ford F-250 super duty truck.
This is a fairly safe car to drive in, as the Ford F-250 crew cab has a good safety rating on NHTSA. The downside to these powerful muscle cars, though, is that they don’t get great mileage. Still, you will look like a true Houston resident with a muscle truck.
Cars per Household
Most residents in Houston own two cars, according to Data USA’s information on car ownership.
|Number of Cars||Houston Household Percentage|
A small percentage of Houston residents own five or more cars, while nearly 4 percent of residents get by with zero cars.
Households Without a Car
Are you thinking of forgoing a car in Houston? The following families get by without cars in the city.
|2015 Houston Households|
|2016 Houston Households|
per Houston Household
per Houston Household
There was a slight drop in the number of households without vehicles from 2015 to 2016. Still, over eight percent of Houston households don’t own a vehicle, which is a significant number of families using public transit.
This is definitely an option, as Houston will have plenty of alternative transportation methods other than cars for the public’s use.
Speed Traps in Houston
Speeding in Houston puts you at a high risk of getting caught by a speed trap. SpeedTrap.org lists Houston among the top 10 worst cities in Texas for speed traps.
Where are you most likely to get caught? Madrid Law Firm says that speed traps in Houston are most commonly found at:
- Parker Road and Exeter
- Moorwick and Wickchester
- Wescott southbound approaching Memorial Drive
- Mykawa between Airport and Belfort
- Silverstone and Airport Blvd
You will also find speed traps at school zones, sudden speed changes, and any road notorious for speeding cars. So keep a light foot on the gas when driving around Houston.
Vehicle Theft in Houston
The FBI found that in 2017, criminals stole 11,596 stolen vehicles in Houston. This is a very high number. Since the only city that came close to this number in 2017 was Dallas (7,913 vehicle stolen), Houston is officially the worst city in Texas for vehicle theft.
This makes sense, as Houston is the most populated city in Texas, which means there are a lot more cars to steal. You can lessen your chances of your vehicle being stolen by parking in a locked garage and by living in a safer neighborhood with less theft.
So what is the safest neighborhood in Houston? According to Neighborhood Scout’s research, the safest Houston neighborhood can be found at Dogwood Acres/Walden Woods.
There are also nine more safe neighborhoods determined by Neighborhood Scout.
- Westheimer Parkway/S. Ferry Road
- Sandtown Circle/Sandtown Lane
- Clodine Reddick Road/Beechnut Boulevard
- Porter Heights
- River Terrace
- Echo Mountain Drive/Mills Branch Drive
- Telge Road/Northwest Freeway
Since living in a safer neighborhood can also be more expensive, you may be wondering why you should shell out more money for a house or apartment in a safer neighborhood.
Well, in Houston, you have a one in 96 chance of being the victim of a violent crime. These aren’t good odds. In Texas, you have a one in 243 chance, so Houston is riskier to live in than most of Texas.
The table below shows just how many violent crimes occur in Houston.
|Houston Violent Crimes||Murder||Rape||Robbery||Assault|
|Rate per 1,000||0.12||0.57||3.79||5.98|
Unfortunately, Houston has a high number of crimes occurring in the city. The city itself only has a crime index rating of four, which means it is only safer than four percent of all U.S. cities. That’s not a ringing endorsement of Houston’s safety as a city.
We’ve only looked at violent crimes so far, though, so let’s take a look at what property crimes also occur.
|Houston Annual Crimes||Violent||Property||Total Crimes|
|Number of Crimes||24,330||95,926||120,256|
|Crime Rate |
(per 1,000 residents)
Yikes. Houston’s overall crime rate per 1,000 residents is 51. This is high and reinforces the importance of moving into as safe a neighborhood as possible.
How is traffic in Houston?
In a city as populated as Houston, you can expect to spend some time each day in heavy traffic. How long you spend in traffic depends on the time of day, what route you take, and other factors.
Because of this, it helps to be prepared for what you’ll face in Houston’s traffic. From time wasted to traffic dangers, it is all covered here. Let’s jump into Houston’s traffic facts.
Traffic Congestion in Houston
Let’s start with looking at how long you’ll be sitting in traffic. The table below shows Inrix’s data on Houston’s traffic. Inrix is a traffic scorecard that looks at the 200 worst cities for traffic.
|2018 Impact Rank (2017)||Hours Lost in Congestion||Year Over Year Change||Cost of Congestion (Per Driver)||Inner City Travel Time (Minutes)||Inner City Last Mile Speed (mph)|
Traffic in Houston costs drivers an average of $1,365 a year, which is a lot of money to spend on just sitting in traffic.
So exactly how much time will you spend sitting in traffic every day? According to Data USA, the average commute time in Houston is 26.5 minutes or 53 minutes a day.
In comparison, the US average commute time is 25.5 minutes (or 51 minutes a day). So Houston’s commute time isn’t as bad as initially thought. Of course, how long your commute actually is will depend on how far you live from work and how busy your route is.
Not all the time spent sitting in traffic will be in your own car, though. According to Data USA, the most common commute methods are:
- Driving Alone – 77 percent
- Carpooling – 10.4 percent
- Working at Home – 4.36 percent
Quite a few people in Houston work from home, which means they don’t waste any time on a commute in Houston. The remaining percentage of commute methods are walking, bicycling, riding a motorcycle, using a taxi, or using Houston’s public transit system.
The Federal Highway Administration found that the busiest highways in Houston are:
- Route 6
These highways are also the largest highways in Texas, as there are 12 lanes on every highway. This means that you will be driving on a six-lane highway when you take these routes, so it might be time to brush up on your merging skills.
As for which of these routes are the worst of the worst, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute says the most congested stretches are:
- 610 Loop (from I-10 to I-69) – An average of 1.6 million hours are wasted in traffic per mile.
- Southwest Freeway (from 610 Loop to Highway 288) – An average of 1.3 million hours are wasted in traffic per mile.
Because these areas are so congested, leave early if you want to get to work on time.
How safe are Houston’s streets and roads?
Now that you know how long you will be sitting in traffic, let’s look at the risks you’ll face while driving in these conditions. To give you an accurate picture of road risks, we are going to look at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) data on crashes in Houston (Harris County).
|Harris County All Crashes||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018
The number of crashes in Houston rose in 2016 and 2017, before dropping again in 2018. To see what caused these increases and decreases in fatalities, we are going to look at the main causes behind crashes in Harris County.
|Houston Fatalities by Crash Type||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018
|Single Vehicle Crash||216||220||263||243||205|
|Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC = .08+)||210||170||211||202||171|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||177||166||175||174||138|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection-Related)||103||89||102||116||116|
In 2018, the leading causes behind fatalities were single-vehicle crashes, drunk driving crashes, and roadway departure crashes, although speeding and intersection-related crashes are also culprits.
Not all of these fatalities, though, are drivers or car passengers. Car accidents also claim the lives of the following types of people.
|Houston Person-Type Fatalities||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018
|Passenger Car Occupant||146||124||147||149||134|
The number of pedestrian deaths has actually increased slightly in Houston, so take care when walking near or on roadways.
The NHTSA has also collected data on what the most dangerous interstate types are in Texas. Take a look.
|Freeway and Expressway||293|
|Other Principal Arterial||1,101|
|Total Fatal Crashes||3,722|
Interstates and arterial roads see the highest numbers of crashes. This is because they are both high traffic roads. Basically, an arterial road is any high-traffic road (like a highway).
A minor arterial road is still high-traffic, but it doesn’t handle as much traffic as a highway or interstate. A collector arterial road simply takes local traffic to arterial roads.
Since these high-traffic roads have quite a few crashes happen, we want to look further into highway traffics with the US Department of Transportation’s data on highway and railroad crash incidents.
|Highway User Speed||Calendar Year||County||Highway||Highway User Type||Rail Equipment Type||Non-Suicide Fatality||Non-Suicide Injury|
|0||2012||Harris||Tidwell Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2012||Harris||Cullen Boulevard||Pick-up truck||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|5||2012||Harris||Boccard #2||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2012||Harris||Collingsworth Street||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2012||Harris||Heights Boulevard||Pedestrian||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2012||Harris||Laura Koppe Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2012||Harris||Richey Road||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2012||Harris||Oil Traveling West Main||Truck-trailer||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|20||2012||Harris||Holmes Road||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2012||Harris||Campbell Road||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2012||Harris||Rankin Road||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||2|
|15||2012||Harris||Market Street Road||Truck-trailer||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|5||2012||Harris||C. E. King Road||Automobile||Special MOW Eq||0||1|
|0||2012||Harris||Sherwin Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||Sand Crossing/Delta||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||Parker Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||Private Crossing||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||Sawyer Street||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||Ashland Chemicals||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||West Little York||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||San Jacinto Street||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||Oil Tanking East Main||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2013||Harris||Cavalcade Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||Harris||Campbell Road||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2013||Harris||2244 Collingsworth||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2013||Harris||Bellaire Boulevard||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2013||Harris||Cesar Chavez Boulevard||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2013||Houston||Coe Dairy Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|33||2014||Harris||Hillcroft Street||Automobile||Freight Train||1||0|
|60||2014||Harris||Jacintoport Crossing||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2014||Harris||Pvt-Pt. of Houston||Automobile||Yard/Switch||0||1|
|0||2014||Harris||W. Bellfort Avenue||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Silver Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2014||Harris||Market Street Road||Truck-trailer||Yard/Switch||0||1|
|2||2014||Harris||Fields Road||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Hillcroft Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||2|
|0||2014||Harris||Belfort Drive||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|2||2014||Harris||Mississippi Street||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Rankin Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|26||2014||Harris||Blalock Drive||Automobile||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|10||2014||Harris||Coronation Drive||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2014||Harris||Hirsch Road||Pedestrian||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2014||Harris||Campbell Road||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2014||Harris||Gate 8||Automobile||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Airport Boulevard||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Up Private Yard Road||Van||Cut of Cars||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Haviland||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|20||2014||Harris||Howard Drive||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Orem Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|20||2014||Harris||Canal Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|5||2014||Harris||Oil Tanking West Main||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Rankin Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2014||Harris||McFarland Street||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||Harris||Hillcroft Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2015||Harris||Durham Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2015||Harris||Shaver Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2015||Harris||Trentham Place||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2015||Harris||Scott Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2015||Harris||Market Street||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2015||Harris||Gate 8||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2015||Harris||Clay Road||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|20||2015||Harris||Altic Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|5||2015||Harris||Private Plant Crossing||Truck-trailer||Yard/Switch||0||0|
|0||2015||Harris||Griggs Road||Truck-trailer||Light Loco(s)||0||2|
|5||2015||Harris||Jensen Drive||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2015||Harris||Jensen Drive||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2016||Harris||Long Drive||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2016||Harris||Lyons Avenue||Pedestrian||Freight Train||0||0|
|5||2016||Harris||Oil Tanking West Main||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|20||2016||Harris||Lyons Avenue||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|10||2016||Harris||5800 Long Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2016||Harris||Fondren Road||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2016||Harris||Kempwood Drive||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2016||Harris||Lyons Avenue||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2016||Harris||Long Street||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|19||2016||Harris||Parker Street||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|10||2016||Harris||Long Drive||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2016||Harris||Oil Tanking East Main||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|3||2016||Harris||In the Yard||Pick-up truck||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|5||2016||Harris||Jacinto Boulevard Crossing||Truck-trailer||Cut of Cars||0||0|
There have been numerous railroad and highway crashes in Harris County. Read through the list to see if any roads you recognize are a hotspot for crashes.
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
Every year, Allstate finds which 200 cities have the best drivers in America. This analysis is based on factors like claims and hard-braking. Take a look at where Houston ranked below.
Houston ranked near the bottom of the 200 cities, which isn’t great. Only an average of 7.66 years pass between claims in Houston, which means drivers are getting into accidents fairly frequently.
Ridesharing is a great way to get to the airport or for a night out with friends. Houston has the following rideshare options in the city:
- Taxi – This option is a little cheaper than Uber or Lyft.
- Lyft – This option is similar, if not the same, in price to Uber.
- Uber – Another economical option that is similar to Lyft.
While all the options are similar in price, Uber or Lyft will become expensive if you purchase the luxury rides from either company. To compare costs, you can check prices on free sites like RideGuru.
E-star Repair Shops
Esurance E-star repair shop program helps drivers find a reputable shop in their area for repairs or basic upkeep. The table below shows some of the shops in the Houston area.
|Shop Name||Address||Contact Info|
|CARSTAR Premier||9520 Richmond Ave.|
Houston, TX 77063
|email: [email protected]
P: (713) 952-3777
|Charlton’s Body Repair||1131 Staffordshire Rd.|
Stafford, TX 77477
|email: [email protected]
P: (281) 499-1126
F: (281) 499-1694
|Greenfield Collision Center||15920 Kuykendahl|
Houston, TX 77068
|email: [email protected]
P: (281) 580-1994
F: (281) 580-3205
|Miller Auto & Body Repair||4816 N. Shepherd Houston, TX 77018||email: [email protected]
P: (713) 864-7820
F: (713) 864-6280
|Russell & Smith Ford Honda||1109 South Loop W|
Houston, TX 77054
|email: [email protected]
P: (713) 663-4216
F: (713) 663-4110
|Service King Galleria||5919 Westheimer Road|
Houston, TX 77057
|email: [email protected]
P: (713) 243-1400
F: (713) 266-4316
|Service King Humble||450 E. FM 1960|
Humble, TX 77338
|email: [email protected]
P: (281) 446-6660
F: (800) 214-2373
|Service King Pearland||2330 Smith Ranch Road |
Pearland, TX 77584
|email: [email protected]
P: (713) 795-3100
F: (800) 214-2373
|Service King Southwest Freeway||10475 Southwest Freeway |
Houston, TX 77074
|email: [email protected]
P: (713) 773-5000
F: (713) 772-1746
|Sunrise Paint & Body Inc.||4211 Cook Rd. |
Houston, TX 77072
|email: [email protected]
P: (281) 933-7473
F: (281) 933-9426
There are plenty of shops to choose from in Houston, making it easier to find a shop after an accident.
What is the weather like in Houston?
If you live in Houston, you are going to need plenty of sunscreen. According to the US Climate Data website, weather averages in Houston are as follows:
|Houston, Texas, Weather||Details|
|Annual high temperature||78.3°F|
|Annual low temperature||59.8°F|
|Average annual precipitation (rainfall)||45.28 inches|
|Days per year with precipitation (rainfall)||106 days|
|Annual hours of sunshine||2,633 hours|
|Average annual snowfall||-|
Houston doesn’t have an average snowfall every year because snowfall is incredibly rare. After all, the average low temperature is nearly 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
However, Houston has had a high number of natural disasters occur in the city. There have been a total of 29 natural disasters in Houston: storms, floods, hurricanes, tropical storms, fires, tornadoes, and winds. These natural disasters have occurred much more often than the US average of 13 natural disasters.
Because Houston has a history of natural disasters, it is smart to make sure your car is protected in case it is destroyed by a fire, flood, or other natural disasters. Comprehensive coverage will protect your assets if your car is damaged in a natural disaster, even if it’s just a tree falling on your car.
This coverage also covers animal collisions and vandalism/theft. This is great, as Houston isn’t exactly the safest city to live in. So if you come out to find all your tires have been stolen or your car is missing, comprehensive coverage will help you out.
Is public transit available in Houston?
Because Houston is such a large city, it offers public transit for its residents. Houston has both buses and rails through METRO, the public transit system in the city, which provides both buses and rails. The standard price to ride a bus or a rail is $1.25.
However, this price will vary based on what zone you live in at Houston, although it won’t be a drastic price difference. You may also get a discount if you are a student, senior (65+), Medicare cardholder, or disabled. If you have children who are under the age of five, they will ride for free.
Are other alternative transportation options available in Houston?
Houston offers B Cycle, which is a public bike rental system around Houston.
All you have to do is download the app and pay with a credit or debit card to unlock your ride. There are three different memberships that a person can sign up for.
- Guest Pass – $3 for a 30-minute ride.
- Monthly Membership – $13 per month. Unlimited rides. The first 60 minutes of a ride is free, but then it is $3 for any additional 30 minutes after this.
- Annual Membership – $79 per year. Unlimited rides. The first 60 minutes of a ride is free, but then it is $3 for any additional 30 minutes after this.
An annual membership also allows members to use a B Cycle in any city, which is great if you find yourself riding bikes a few times a week. If you rarely use a bike, however, a guest pass may be the best option.
Is parking easy in Houston?
Houston has plenty of street parking in the city, and drivers pay using a ParkMobile app or at a pay station. This means that you can pay with coins, bills, debit cards, or credit cards. The three main ways you can pay are:
- Pay-by-Plate – Enter your license plate number and pay at the pay station. You don’t have to set a receipt on your dashboard.
- Pay-by-App – Use ParkMobile to pay without having to walk to a pay station.
- Pay-and-Display – Put the receipt on your dashboard if you didn’t enter your license plate number while paying.
There is a parking limit on-street spots, generally two hours or more (depending on what parking zone you are in). You can find the time posted on the pay stations, but if you need to park longer than the posted time limit, you should park at a parking lot or garage with longer time limits.
Houston does have a hopper pass if you need to move from zone to zone. The pass allows you to move to a new zone when your time is up without having to buy a new pass. You can use this pass from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Some more good news is that parking is free on Sundays and holidays in Houston. If you want satellite parking if visiting the city or leaving the city, you can find it at METRO stations, hotels, airports, and most college campuses (if a student).
As for electric vehicle owners, there are plenty of places to park and charge. There are 284 electric vehicle charging stations in Houston, and 122 of these charging stations are free.
How is the air quality in Houston?
City air quality can be poor, especially with so many cars contributing to pollution in the city. Breathing in polluted air has a negative impact on human health, especially for people sensitive to poor air quality, such as people with asthma.
To see what Houston’s air is like, we are going to look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air quality data.
|Houston-The Woodlands – SugarLand Air Quality Index||2016||2017||2018|
|Days With AQI||366||365||365|
|Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||22||22||26|
|Very Unhealthy Days||0||0||2|
There has been a slight increase in unhealthy and very unhealthy days in Houston. This isn’t good. Hopefully, Houston will take note of the problem and work on reducing pollution in the city.
Military and Veterans
Not all insurers offer military discounts, and those who do may not offer enough of a discount to make it worth switching. To help military and veterans find an economical insurer, we are going to go through everything military in Houston.
From veterans living in the city to discounts by providers, it is all covered here. So stick with us to find out about the military in Houston.
The first thing we want to look at is Data USA’s information on veterans by service period in Houston. In 2017, the following numbers of veterans were living in the city:
- Vietnam – 20,569 veterans
- Gulf War (2001–) – 17,611 veterans
- Gulf War (1990s) – 10,103 veterans
- Korea – 4,514 veterans
- World War II – 1,911 veterans
Most of the veterans living in Houston served the Vietnam war, although a large number also served in the Gulf War (2001–).
Now that we know how many veterans are in Houston, let’s take a look at where active military personnel can serve.
The bad news is that there are no military bases within an hour’s drive of the city. If you want to serve in the coast guard, though, the United States Coast Guard Air Station Houston is about 40 minutes from Houston. This station watches over both the Texas and Louisiana coasts.
However, if you want to serve at a military base, Houston won’t be the best place to commute from.
Now that you know what the military culture is like, take a look at the table below to see what providers offer military discounts in Texas.
|Insurance Company||Percentage Saved by Discount (when known)|
|Liberty Mutual (must be active duty)||4%|
*USAA also provides a military garaging discount.
The next table shows the rates for USAA compared to other insurers’ rates, as USAA is a company solely for military members and their families.
|Group||Annual Premium||Compared to State Average (+/-)||Compared to State Average (%)|
USAA is over 60 percent cheaper than the average car insurance rate in Texas. This is impressive and definitely makes USAA worth checking out as a provider.
Unique City Laws
Are you familiar with all of Houston’s important laws? If you are new to the city or just started driving, there a few laws that may trip you up. The bad news is that breaking one of Houston’s local laws will result in a fine and possibly other penalties.
The good news is that by reading this section, you can avoid a ticket by following the local laws. So keep reading to learn about everything from hands-free laws to parking laws in the city.
Let’s start with Houston’s hands-free laws. In Texas, all drivers need to obey the following bans on cellphone use:
- All drivers are prohibited from using handheld devices when in school crossing zones and public school properties during school zone times.
- All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.
- Drivers 18 years and younger are prohibited from using any cellular device while driving.
These bans are taken seriously, as enforcement is primary. So any officer who sees you breaking one of these bans while driving can pull you over and issue you a ticket.
The next law we want to cover is for owners of food trucks. If you want to own and operate a food truck in Houston, you will need to be licensed by the city.
Part of earning this license is passing food safety inspections for mobile food units. You will have to complete a food safety inspection every year. Make sure also to follow driving laws once you are cleared to operate in Houston. Basically, this means making sure not to block fire hydrants with your food truck when stopping to sell food.
While we are on the subject of moveable units, let’s talk about tiny home laws in Houston. Unfortunately, Houston has some strict zoning laws and building requirements that make having a tiny home in Houston difficult. This means that building a tiny home in Houston will require strict attention to detail and some creative planning to make owning a tiny home in Houston legal.
The final unique city law we want to cover is wrong-direction parking. In Houston and all of Texas, it is illegal to parallel park facing the wrong direction on the street. So make sure that your passenger side is facing the curb and you aren’t’ pulling into oncoming traffic.
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Houston Car Insurance FAQs
We’ve covered a lot of roadway in this guide, but there are still a few questions we would like to address. The following questions are ones frequently asked by drivers and residents of Houston, or those soon to be living in Houston. Keep reading to get answers to any questions you may still have.
What happens if I get into a car accident in Houston?
Houston, as a part of Texas, must follow Texas’s at-fault car insurance laws. This means that if you caused the accident, you are responsible for the other driver’s accident costs. Likewise, if the other driver caused the accident, he or she will be responsible for your accident bills.
What is Houston’s weather like?
Hot. It rarely snows in Houston, and the average low temperature is about 60 Fahrenheit. So make sure to buy plenty of shorts and sunscreen.
Is Houston a safe place to live?
Houston is not one of the safest cities in Texas. It only has a crime index rating of four, so it is only safer than four percent of all US cities.
How big is the City of Houston?
Part of the reason for Houston’s poor safety rating is that it is one of the largest cities in the US. It is the most populated city in Texas and the fourth most populated city in the US. Since there are more people packed into an area, there are also more crimes happening.
Where is the closest airport to Houston?
The closest airport from the center of Houston is the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. This airport is roughly 30 minutes from downtown Houston, which isn’t a bad airport commute distance at all.
Did we answer all your questions? We hope you are ready to buy insurance for your Houston car and drive around the city. If you would like to start comparing rates at insurance providers today, you can enter your ZIP code in our free online tool below.