Advertiser Disclosure

Cheapest Auto Insurance in Houston for 2020

Feb. 21, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Finding cheap auto insurance in Houston can be a challenge. Car insurance prices in Houston run about $20 a month higher than the average in Texas, NerdWallet’s 2020 rates analysis found.

For Houston drivers, shopping around for the cheapest auto insurance can really pay off.

We looked at average auto insurance rates for the Houston metro area from eight of the largest insurers in Texas. For every type of driver we checked, at least one company — and sometimes as many as three — showed rates in Houston that were cheaper than the Texas average.

For single drivers, Texas Farm Bureau car insurance was typically the cheapest option in Houston, although it requires a membership fee of $35 to $50 a year. But Geico came out ahead for couples and families. And a different company might be cheapest for you, since each insurer uses different factors in setting insurance rates.

That’s why it’s important to compare car insurance quotes from multiple companies. To give you an idea of what to expect, we checked rates for various types of drivers in Houston.

Cheapest for good drivers in Houston

For drivers in Houston with good credit and clean driving histories, these are the cheapest insurance companies and average rates for full coverage policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $1,167 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,366 per year.
  3. Republic Group: $1,552 per year.
  4. Auto Club of SoCal: $1,674 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,813 per year.
Drivers with no recent accidents or violations can get cheaper car insurance rates for having good credit. For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. In terms of driving and credit history, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including comprehensive and collision, along with state-required coverage. Prices shown include a good driver discount, when available from the insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage in Houston

For Houston drivers who prefer the state’s minimum required coverage, here are the cheapest companies and their average rates:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $539 per year.
  2. Geico: $671 per year.
  3. Auto Club of SoCal: $784 per year.
  4. State Farm: $901 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $1,076 per year.
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers (earning them a discount if the insurer offers one) who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more. If you're looking for the cheapest possible insurance you can get, though, you'll still want to get quotes from at least three auto insurers.

Cheapest for good drivers with poor credit

For drivers in Houston with blemished credit and clean driving histories, here are the cheapest insurers and their average rates for full coverage auto policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $2,216 per year.
  2. Auto Club of SoCal: $2,725 per year.
  3. Geico: $2,766 per year.
  4. Republic Group: $2,799 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $2,884 per year.
If you have a spotty credit history, it's important to shop around to find the cheapest auto insurance rates you can. Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent at-fault crash, but prices vary by insurer. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record and associated good driver discount, if the insurer offered one. They had poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" car insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

For Houston drivers who were at fault in a recent accident, here are the cheapest auto insurers and average rates for full coverage policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $1,360 per year.
  2. Republic Group: $1,552 per year.
  3. Geico: $2,192 per year.
  4. State Farm: $2,422 per year.
  5. Auto Club of SoCal: $2,650 per year.
After a relatively minor crash, some auto insurers will charge a lot more than others for coverage. To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and one recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation — and you still may be rejected for coverage from certain companies, including those above. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest insurance after a DUI in Houston

After a DUI, here are the cheapest auto insurers and their average rates for full coverage in Houston:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $1,708 per year.
  2. Republic Group: $2,013 per year.
  3. Geico: $2,152 per year.
  4. Auto Club of SoCal: $2,680 per year.
  5. State Farm: $3,225 per year.
A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, generally results in higher auto insurance premiums than before. NerdWallet analyzed rates for 40-year-old drivers and standard “full coverage” car insurance with a recent DUI conviction to see which companies were cheapest. Be warned that you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. Rates can vary by hundreds between carriers after a DUI, and some penalize for longer than others, so it’s important to shop around for the best available price right after you see a price hike and each year after that.

Cheapest insurance after a ticket in Houston

These are the cheapest car insurance companies and their average rates for drivers in Houston with a recent speeding ticket and full coverage policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $1,167 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,599 per year.
  3. Republic Group: $1,667 per year.
  4. State Farm: $2,117 per year.
  5. Auto Club of SoCal: $2,273 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket will result in higher car insurance rates from most companies for three to five years. To see who has the cheapest rates, we calculated average car insurance rates for 40-year-old drivers with “full coverage” insurance and a recent ticket for speeding 16 mph over the limit. Though these larger companies were the cheapest we found on average, others may be cheaper for you, so be sure to get at least three quotes before deciding on a carrier.

Cheapest for couples and families in Houston

When you add drivers and vehicles to a policy, a different company may be cheapest for you. Because of this, it’s wise to compare insurance quotes after big changes in your life, such as a marriage or a new teen driver in the house. To see who’s cheapest in Houston, NerdWallet analyzed rates for a 50-year-old husband and wife insuring two vehicles with and without a teen driver on their policy.

Cheapest for a married couple in Houston

For a 50-year-old Houston couple, both with good credit and clean driving records, here are the cheapest auto insurers we found for full coverage on two vehicles:

  1. Geico: $1,807 per year.
  2. Texas Farm Bureau: $1,847 per year.
  3. Republic Group: $2,258 per year.
  4. Auto Club of SoCal: $2,581 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $2,707 per year.
Couples who live together can save on auto insurance by combining policies, whether they are married or not, because they can earn multi-car and multi-driver discounts. Once they tie the knot, rates can dip further, but not because of discounts — insurers see married people as less risky and so charge them lower rates. Our hypothetical 50-year-old couple’s clean driving record also earns them both a good driver discount.

Cheapest for families with a teen in Houston

For a 50-year-old married couple plus an 18-year-old driver, these are the cheapest insurers we found in Houston for full coverage on two vehicles:

  1. Geico: $3,460 per year.
  2. Texas Farm Bureau: $3,805 per year.
  3. Republic Group: $4,277 per year.
  4. Auto Club of SoCal: $5,070 per year.
  5. State Farm: $5,224 per year.
Adding a teen with two years’ driving experience to a married couple's policy is sure to cause a big jump in rates. Since different insurers tend to see a teen’s inexperience in different ways, we analyzed rates to see which companies had the cheapest car insurance for teens. These rates are averaged for 50-year-old couples with male and female 18-year-old drivers.

Cheapest for young drivers in Houston

People in their 20s often pay higher car insurance rates than drivers with more experience. But young drivers can still save by comparing insurance quotes and choosing the least expensive company. To get you started, NerdWallet checked rates for 25-year-olds to see which insurers were cheapest on average in Houston.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

For a young Houston driver with good credit and a clean driving history, here are the cheapest companies and average rates for full coverage car insurance:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $1,254 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,720 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,963 per year.
  4. Republic Group: $1,997 per year.
  5. Auto Club of SoCal: $2,039 per year.
Drivers in their 20s can have a hard time finding cheap car insurance, and that's even truer when they need full coverage. The rates above are averages for 25-year-old male and female drivers with comprehensive and collision coverages, which are often required for drivers with active auto loans or leases. These rates reflect a good driver discount. Young drivers, like all drivers, should check several quotes to find the cheapest for the coverage levels they need.

Cheapest minimum coverage for young good drivers

For 25-year-old drivers seeking minimum coverage in Houston with good credit and no recent tickets or moving violations, these are the cheapest companies and average rates we found:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $584 per year.
  2. Geico: $816 per year.
  3. Auto Club of SoCal: $927 per year.
  4. State Farm: $973 per year.
  5. Allstate: $1,176 per year.
Since young people often have fewer assets to protect with liability insurance, they can usually get away with lower coverage limits. For an age group with relatively high insurance rates on average, that's good news, keeping rates as low as possible. For this price set, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers who have clean driving records, good credit and bare-bones insurance coverage.

Poor credit and minimum coverage

For young drivers in Houston with spotty credit histories and clean driving records, here are the cheapest insurers and their average rates for minimum coverage policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $1,108 per year.
  2. Auto Club of SoCal: $1,509 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,571 per year.
  4. Allstate: $1,666 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $1,749 per year.
Poor credit is common for younger folks just starting out, who may still be building their credit files. That can increase rates further, so it's extra important to shop around and compare as many insurance quotes as possible to find the cheapest you can get. For these prices, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with no recent accidents or violations (earning them a good driver discount), minimum coverage car insurance, and credit in the "poor" tier as reported to an insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a crash

For 25-year-old Houston drivers with a recent at-fault accident on their records, here are the cheapest auto insurers and their average rates for minimum coverage policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $671 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,186 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,321 per year.
  4. Republic Group: $1,372 per year.
  5. Auto Club of SoCal: $1,532 per year.
To get prices for this group, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with good credit and a recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Since car insurance is often pricier after a crash, and especially so for young drivers, we assumed minimum required insurance in the state to contain costs for our hypothetical driver. Depending on your situation, you may still be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. If you've caused a crash, no matter your age, be sure to check auto insurance quotes just after the third and fifth anniversaries of your incident, when insurers often adjust rates downward.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a DUI

For young Houston drivers with a recent DUI conviction, here are the cheapest companies and average rates for minimum coverage auto policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $817 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,159 per year.
  3. Auto Club of SoCal: $1,559 per year.
  4. Allstate: $1,714 per year.
  5. Republic Group: $1,746 per year.
Young drivers with a recent DUI on their records will need to be diligent to find the lowest car insurance rates they can get — it's likely that many companies' rates will be quite expensive. Depending on the circumstances, you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. But spending the time to shop around for quotes can help you find the lowest price from a company available to you. For this analysis, we averaged rates for male and female 25-year-old drivers with a recent DUI conviction. They had good credit and minimum required car insurance, which helps keep rates down.

Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

For a 25-year-old driver Houston with a recent speeding ticket, here are the cheapest auto insurers and average rates for minimum coverage policies:

  1. Texas Farm Bureau: $584 per year.
  2. Geico: $911 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,141 per year.
  4. Allstate: $1,196 per year.
  5. Auto Club of SoCal: $1,298 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket is never fun, and neither is the higher car insurance bill you may receive months later. At that point, it's time to shop around for better rates, and it wouldn't hurt to repeat on your third and fifth ticket anniversaries, when insurers may adjust rates downward. We analyzed rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent speeding violation for going 16 mph over the speed limit to see prices for this group.

Cheap for military families

The cheapest car insurance for military, veterans and their families may come from USAA, which isn’t available to the general public. Although we don’t rank it alongside companies available to everyone, USAA was among the three cheapest options in Houston for every driver category above.

Recap: Cheapest car insurance in Houston

  • Good drivers: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Minimum coverage: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Poor credit: Texas Farm Bureau
  • After an at-fault crash: Texas Farm Bureau
  • After a DUI: Texas Farm Bureau
  • After a speeding ticket: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Married couples: Geico
  • Families with a teen: Geico
  • Young good drivers: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Minimum coverage for young good drivers: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers with poor credit: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a crash: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a DUI: Texas Farm Bureau
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a ticket: Texas Farm Bureau

» MORE: Best cheap car insurance in Texas

Average car insurance rates in Houston by county

Car insurance prices varied by hundreds of dollars across the sprawling Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area. Here are the average annual rates we found, ranked from most to least expensive, for a 40-year-old with good credit and a clean driving record, buying full coverage.

  • $1,753 in Harris County, home to downtown Houston and suburbs like Pasadena, Texas.
  • $1,622 in Fort Bend County, where Sugar Land, Texas, is the largest city.
  • $1,588 in Chambers County, which includes part of Baytown, Texas.
  • $1,575 in Liberty County, northeast of central Houston.
  • $1,566 in Waller County, which includes a snippet of Katy, Texas.
  • $1,535 in Montgomery County, which includes Conroe, Texas, and most of The Woodlands.
  • $1,519 in Galveston County, home to the city of the same name.
  • $1,465 in Brazoria County, the coastal county south of Galveston, which includes most of Pearland, Texas.
  • $1,368 in Austin County, the least populous of the nine counties in the Houston metro area, with Bellville, Texas, as its county seat.

Minimum car insurance requirements in Houston

With rare exceptions (see below), Houston drivers are required to carry liability insurance. You’ll often see the minimum requirements written in shorthand as 30/60/25. This means in Texas you must buy at least:

  • $30,000 bodily injury/death liability coverage per person.
  • $60,000 bodily injury/death liability coverage per accident.
  • $25,000 property damage liability coverage per accident.

If you cause an accident, liability insurance kicks in to pay for others’ injury treatment and property damage, up to your limits. It doesn’t pay for your own injuries or vehicle repairs.

In many cases, the legal minimum insurance won’t be enough to cover costs if you cause an accident. If you total someone’s luxury car, for example, their repair costs could easily exceed a $25,000 ceiling. Any damage that surpasses your limits has to come out of your own pocket. That’s why for most drivers it’s wise to select higher limits, such as 100/300/50.

Auto insurance alternatives in Houston

If you’re having trouble getting insured in Houston, look into the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association. It can help connect you with a company that will cover you.

There are legally acceptable alternatives you can choose to prove your financial responsibility, including:

  • Filing a surety bond with the Department of Public Safety. You must file the bond jointly with at least two people, called “sureties,” who own property in the state. The property offered in the bond must be worth at least as much as the insurance amounts mandated under the state’s minimum liability car insurance requirements.
  • Making a $55,000 deposit with the state comptroller in either cash or securities.
  • Making a $55,000 deposit with the county judge where your vehicle is registered, in either cash or cashier’s check.
  • Qualifying for a certificate of self-insurance through the Department of Public Safety. You promise to pay up to the same amount covered by minimum liability insurance requirements if you cause an accident with one of your cars. This option applies if you own 25 vehicles or more.

For more help finding cheap car insurance in Houston, try NerdWallet’s car insurance quotes comparison tool.

METHODOLOGY

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas, Metropolitan Statistical Area as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The MSA encompasses nine Texas counties:

  • Austin County.
  • Brazoria County.
  • Chambers County.
  • Fort Bend County.
  • Galveston County.
  • Harris County.
  • Liberty County.
  • Montgomery County.
  • Waller County.

The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

If required, minimum additional coverages were added. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.
  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.

We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across the Houston MSA with the same policy outlined above. To see rates for families with a teen, we added an 18-year-old licensed two years ago, averaging rates for male and female teens. For couples and families we added a 2016 Nissan Rogue S to create a two-car household. Rates for each vehicle assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.

These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

About the author