Houston, Texas, is known for many things, NASA, our energy industries, and size, to name just a few, but we’re also known for our aggressive drivers, bumper-to-bumper freeways, and crazy weather. Your auto insurance policy should work to protect you against some of these common perils, but your policy may not, depending on what type of policy you have. Let’s review the most common auto insurance claims in Houston, Texas, and what coverage you need to stay protected.
What are the most common claims in Houston, TX?
According to TxDOT, there are about 1.3 million cars on the road in Houston, Texas, on any given day, with an average of 160 accidents per day in Houston, TX alone in 2020. Houston also faces its fair share of natural disasters, with hail, wind, and flood damage being the most common claims made by drivers that aren’t accidents.
The most common claims made by drivers in Houston, Texas, are from auto accidents, objects on the road, hail, theft/vandalism, and weather-related events such as wind or flooding. Let’s break down the average cost per claim and what coverage is needed to stay protected.
|Type of Claim||Average Cost per Claim||Type of Auto Insurance Coverage|
|Auto Accident (Includes liability and physical damage)||$7,6321||Bodily injury and property damage are covered under liability, whereas physical damage to you and your vehicle are covered under comprehensive and collision.|
|Projectiles/Object on Road||6292||Collision|
|Theft||Varies based on ACV||Comprehensive|
Source: Type of claim data was obtained from Progressive, our agency’s #1 auto insurance provider. 1: Average cost per claim data was obtained from the Insurance Information Institute’s 2020 auto report. 2: Progressive claims database for TGSI customers 3: KXAN News
Auto accidents were the highest recorded claim in Houston, TX, in 2021 with an average claim of $7,632.
The five most common types of auto accidents in Houston last year were:
- Accidents in an intersection
- Lane change
- Road accidents (lane swerving, coming around a curve too fast, etc.)
- Parking lot accidents
It’s not shocking to see that getting rear-ended is the number one auto insurance claim filed in Houston, Texas, because Houston ranks #3 for worst traffic in the country, according to Metromile.
Does my auto insurance cover car accidents?
Yes, your auto insurance will cover just about any car accident. If you have a state minimum policy, your insurance carrier will pay for any bodily injury or physical damage to someone else’s property. Still, it would not pay for you or your vehicle. Consider your financial situation, and if you have the money to pay for any damages to your car out of pocket, should you carry a state minimum policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), in 2020, the average collision claim was $3,588, and the average comprehensive claim was $1,995. Collision coverage will pay for anything considered a car accident (Ex. colliding with a loose tire on the freeway). Comprehensive coverage will cover any damage from something other than a collision, like hail or flood damage.
Average cost of car insurance in Houston, Texas
The average Houstonian pays $1,007 per year, or $84 per month, for a full coverage auto insurance policy, including liability, comprehensive, and collision. The average Houston driver with a state minimum policy pays $470 per year or about $40 per month. Carrying a basic insurance policy makes sense for some situations, but still, considering the average comprehensive and collision claim averages about $5,583, it makes more financial sense to purchase a fully rounded auto insurance policy for $537 more per year or $44 more per month for complete coverage.
The only situation where it makes sense to carry a liability-only policy is when you’re paying for more coverage than what your car or parts are worth. A quick way to decide to drop coverage is to take your car’s value, subtract your deductible, and then deduct the cost of the six-month policy. You may not need that extra coverage if you get a negative number. The best way to decide is to talk to your TGS Insurance agent about the best option for you and your financial situation.
Does my auto insurance cover road debris?
Colliding with a projectile or loose object on the road was the #2 reported claim in Houston, Texas, in 2021 with an average cost per claim of $629. Your auto insurance policy will pay for any damage your vehicle sustains due to road debris and/or projectiles. This is anything that causes a safety hazard on the roads, such as fall trees, tree branches, rogue tires or bumpers, misplaced construction barriers, flying rocks, etc., basically anything foreign to the roadway. The average claim for road debris and projectiles is $629 and includes repairs for any damage due to (but not limited to) broken windshields, bumpers, or mechanical issues. To protect yourself against road debris, you’ll need comprehensive coverage as part of your auto policy.
Does my auto insurance cover hail damage?
Yes, your auto insurance policy will cover hail damage if you have comprehensive coverage and depending on where you live, it may be a necessity to protect you and your car. Houston, Texas, experienced 185 hail events in 2021 alone, with Texas reporting 688 hail events within the same year. As a result, Houston drivers paid an average of $4,000 per claim as a result of hail damage in 2021. (Yikes!)
Hence, as a Texas driver, it’s imperative you carry comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle, or you’ll be left with one hefty bill. Some drivers may opt not to repair their car if it’s been damaged by hail, but that’s a costly decision that will cost more in the long run. Two things can happen if you opt not to repair hail damage:
- Destroy your car’s value (Yes, even with barely-there damage)
- Your vehicle can go from repairable to totaled in separate hail events
Either result could cost you hundreds (if not thousands) if you don’t have comprehensive coverage. However, it’s worth noting that comprehensive coverage isn’t worth it if your coverage amount is more than what your car is worth.
Does my auto insurance cover theft?
In 2021, Texas was ranked in the #2 spot for most vehicle thefts, totaling at a whopping 84,276 stolen cars according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Houston, Texas alone reported over 26,877 vehicle thefts in 2020, averaging about 74 per day. According to MotorBiscuit, there’s a 1 in 5 chance your car will be recovered and about 30% of vehicles come back damaged, with an average of $1,000 worth in damages.
The most common reasons for vehicle thefts are:
- Joyride (opportunistic)
- Used in another crime
- Parted out for cash at a chop shop
- Re-sold on black market (If a rare, classic, or exotic car)
Your auto insurance policy will cover a stolen vehicle if you have comprehensive coverage. Most car insurance companies cover vehicle theft under actual cash value (ACV), which means you’ll be compensated based on the current market value of your car. For a higher auto premium, you can get replacement cash value (RCV), which means you’ll be compensated for the cost of a new car. If your policy limits don’t cover any payments left on your loan or lease, you may want to consider purchasing gap coverage. Gap coverage will cover a percentage of the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and the ACV. Depending on your carrier, this is usually $5 to $10 per month.
Does my auto insurance cover weather damage?
Claims involving damage due to weather hold the fifth spot for one of the most commonly filed claims in Houston, Texas in 2021, with the average claim totaling at $5,096. Hail is the most reported type of damage that Houston drivers see, but because it happens so frequently we thought it deserved it’s own category outside other weather-related claims!
The most common weather-related claims in Houston, TX include:
- Falling objects (Ex. tree limbs)
Drivers in Houston, Texas, know all too well that our city gets hit with many of these events a few times during the year. Flooding, for example, occurs in Houston 4 to 5 times a year. Hurricanes have hit south Texas more frequently over the past few years, with 21 reported tropical storms and hurricanes since 2010. Houston is the #1 city in Texas for natural disasters, with over 25 federally declared disasters within the past 40 years. This type of damage is covered by your auto insurance policy if you have comprehensive coverage. So if you want to keep your car protected, comprehensive coverage is a must!
Auto insurance companies with the best ratings in Houston, TX
Choosing an auto insurance company shouldn’t be based solely around the premium and coverage because the carrier’s reviews and financial ratings are just as important! Your carrier should be able to back you up should the time come that you need to file a claim. Here are the top five best-rated auto insurance companies in Houston, Texas:
|Carrier||Best Known For||Financial Rating (A.M. Best)||Carried By TGS Insurance|
|Allstate||Expansive coverage options and discounts||A+ (Superior)||Yes|
|Nationwide||Excellent claims service||A+ (Superior)||Yes|
|Progressive||Competitive comprehensive and collision coverage policies and lots of coverage add-ons||A+ (Superior)||Yes|
|Safeco||Excellent claims service and coverage options||A (Excellent)||Yes|
|Travelers||Great bundling options||A+ (Superior)||Yes|
Allstate, Nationwide, Progressive, Safeco, and Travelers are all known for an easy and seamless claims experience, but Nationwide and Safeco are more widely recognized for theirs. Each company holds a solid financial rating from A.M. Best- the premier credit rating agency for the worldwide insurance industry. A strong financial rating means that the carrier won’t have any issues receiving a claims payout.
When to file an auto insurance claim
You should always file a claim promptly when you get into an accident with someone else, even if the accident seems minor. In some cases, delaying or failing to let your insurance company know you got into an accident with another party could result in denied coverage.
When not to file an auto insurance claim
You don’t have to file a claim with every auto incident unless it involves someone else. The two most common reasons to not file an auto insurance claim are when the mishap only involved you and your car and the repairs are worth more than you can afford, or the claim may raise your insurance premium.
How to save money on auto insurance
The best way to save on auto insurance is to shop your policy across five to eight providers to compare cost and coverage, but that can be a tedious and confusing process, especially if you don’t understand the right auto insurance policy. This is where an independent agency can help.
TGS Insurance only partners with the best, with over 35+ A-rated (or better) insurance carriers on our roster. Texas and Arkansas drivers alike can always expect an excellent auto insurance policy from TGS Insurance packed with savings and great coverage, all from a carrier that can payout when needed. We’re carrier-agnostic, which means we work for you, not the insurance company. So you can rest-assure every policy you purchase with us has been carefully crafted based on your needs and nothing else!
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