The Best Texas Auto Insurance Companies
Texas auto insurance rates are right in line with the national average — $1110 per year, compared to $1,009 nationwide. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your car, your coverage, and your address. Use our tool to find your best rates:
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As the saying goes, “everything’s bigger in Texas” — and that holds true for auto insurance coverage. The Lone Star State has some of the highest minimum requirements in the nation (trailing only Alaska and Maine), but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be enough to pay off all your expenses after an accident. Even if you’re not the one at fault in a crash, there’s a 1-in-7 chance that the other driver won’t be insured, in which case you’ll pay your bills yourself unless you’ve purchased uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Texas does require insurers to offer at least $2,500 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to offset medical bills, but that, too, is optional. Comprehensive insurance is also a smart addition to your policy in a state that ranks #1 for monetary losses from “catastrophes” like hail storms and hurricanes.
Texas Minimum Liability
Texas mandates only that you insure yourself against bodily injury and property damage liability, so it’s your choice whether to add coverage for yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle. The state’s liability minimums can be expressed in the shorthand 30/60/25 (the format we’ll use throughout this review), which means the following:
- $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $60,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 property damage coverage per accident
As we mentioned, these amounts are on the high side relative to the country as a whole, but there are still instances in which they won’t be enough to fully cover you. For example, if you accidentally hit and total a luxury car, replacing it could easily cost more than the $25,000 legal minimum for property damage coverage. If the other driver is injured, his or her medical bills could also exceed the $30,000 bodily injury minimum. In each case, you’d be responsible for making up the difference yourself, which is why it’s always a good idea to buy as much insurance as you can afford.
Your premium cost depends largely on personal factors: your age, credit score, how much you drive, and the type of vehicle you’re insuring, among other things. But because different providers will charge the same individual more or less for the same coverage, the only way to nail down your cheapest rate is to compare personalized quotes. Still, there are other important factors besides price, so our reviews of Texas’s top five auto insurers is a good place to begin your search.
How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in Texas
We started by identifying Texas’s five biggest auto insurers by market share, and compared their financial strength, coverage options, and customer service, using methodology similar to our review on nationwide providers. Then we checked J.D. Power and Consumer Reports to see how each company’s customers scored them, both overall and on their claims experiences specifically. Next, we looked at the Texas Department of Insurance’s “Complaint Index” for each company — a measure of how consumer complaints filed against them compare to the state average. And finally we collected quotes for six hypothetical drivers, taking note of each company’s available endorsements and discounts.
Texas Auto Insurance Reviews
GEICO was our favorite out of the companies we researched, although it services only about 11 percent of insured Texas drivers. Not only does it have the lowest rate of customer complaints among our top picks, but it also quoted the cheapest premiums for four of our six hypothetical drivers. For drivers under 25, Allstate was cheaper, but we should point out that our quote-gathering didn’t take into account discounts, of which GEICO has many — including one of up to 15 percent for being a good student.
In terms of claims satisfaction, J.D. Power preferred GEICO to every other company in the running, and Consumer Reports readers also scored it at the top, along with State Farm. To top it all off, GEICO boasts the best financial strength ratings out of all five companies we looked at. The only drawback to GEICO (and it’s hardly even worth mentioning) is that it doesn’t offer so-called “gap” coverage designed to negate the effects of depreciation if you total a new car.
On average, State Farm offered us the most expensive quotes we got, but the company’s strong record of claims-handling and elite financial strength were enough for us to justify ranking it second. It also apparently has many satisfied customers in Texas, judging by its 17.7 percent market share — the largest in the state. And it outperformed every company on our list except GEICO in both complaint index and customer service scoring by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports.
Still, the State Farm quotes we received were shockingly high when compared to GEICO and Allstate: typically around 3 times as expensive. While that’s likely a dealbreaker for most, it’s worth checking personalized quotes yourself, especially if you’re a teen driver (for which they seem to offer more discounts than the others). Another point in State Farm’s favor is its website, which is good at helping you understand which coverages best fit your specific needs. We would’ve liked a Live Chat feature, but there are plenty of contact alternatives, including a mobile app.
Allstate is a close second to GEICO in terms of pricing, and came out cheapest for drivers under 25 according to our quotes. Both J.D. Power and Consumer Reports readers rated it just a hair lower than GEICO and State Farm overall, but equal with GEICO at the top for claims satisfaction. So we were puzzled to see its complaint index was the highest by far among the top five, and the only one higher than the average for all Texas insurers. Since the most common consumer complaint is that the payment is too low, it seems likely that Allstate is stingier in its claims determinations than most companies. Its financial strength, while not quite top-tier, is good enough that you’ll never have to worry about getting paid; the bigger question is whether you’ll be satisfied with the amount. Still, there’s no denying that Allstate is popular in Texas, with the second-most market share of any company at roughly 12 percent. It’s also one of the only companies to offer “gap” insurance for new cars, something State Farm, GEICO, and Farmers don’t. And if your Allstate quote is lower than your other options, it could mean the difference in whether you can afford comprehensive and/or UIM coverage, two especially valuable add-ons in Texas.
Farmers has the fourth-largest market share in Texas (9.5 percent), and a Consumer Reports overall score of 89 (above average and tied with GEICO and State Farm). But Texans are slightly less impressed with their Farmers claims experiences than they are at GEICO and Allstate, according to J.D. Power. Consumer Reports readers with Farmers also expressed a bit more annoyance with the timeliness of their payments than the other companies we looked at, and its complaint ratio, while still well below average for Texas as a whole, was higher than GEICO’s and State Farm’s. Farmers’ financial strength is a couple notches lower than the rest too, which doesn’t mean it’s about to go bankrupt anytime soon — it’s just the difference between “quite stable” and “completely rock-solid.”
The bigger drawback for Farmers, at least in Texas, is its high premium prices. It is the second most expensive provider on our list in 5 out of 6 driver profiles for which we got quotes, but roughly average for young drivers. It’s still worth getting a quote from Farmers though, since every person’s insurance profile is different. It also offers the second-most discounts behind GEICO.
Progressive is another solid option for Texas auto insurance, but lags slightly behind our top picks in both financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings. The differences are small enough that they likely have no impact on most customer’s experiences, but they nonetheless make it hard to justify Progressive over State Farm, GEICO, or Allstate on the basis of anything except price, where it was about average. We did like how easy it was to get a quote through the website though, and also the Live Chat option, something only Progressive and GEICO offer.
Progressive has a slew of available discounts — more than any insurer we reviewed except GEICO. There’s even one for adding a newly licensed teen driver to your existing auto policy (surprising given that teenage drivers are among the riskiest to insure). But a policy loaded with discounts isn’t necessarily cheaper than a non-discounted policy, and the Texas Department of Insurance’s data on premiums show that Progressive is, on average, the most expensive for young drivers among the top five in Texas.
Personal Injury Protection must be offered in Texas, but you can refuse it.
When you apply for auto insurance in Texas, providers are legally required to offer you $2,500 in Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP). This type of coverage is mandated in so-called “no-fault” states, but it’s optional in Texas (although you do have to refuse it in writing). If you select it, 100 percent of the coverage amount will be available for your medical bills following an accident, regardless of who was at fault. While you may be covered under your own health insurance for those costs, PIP has the added benefit of covering up to 80 percent of your lost income if you’re unable to work following an accident. It’s a nice protection, but keep in mind that $2,500 won’t go that far in such a case. While most companies will let you raise the limit, it’s one of the costlier options to add, so if you’re on a budget you’ll have to weigh its value to you against things like comprehensive and UM coverage.
Hurricane Harvey has contributed to higher Texas auto insurance rates.
Texas is one of four states that have seen the highest increase in auto premiums over the last seven years, according to Consumer Reports. While part of that jump is due to increased repair costs for the added technology in new cars, extreme weather also plays a role, with Hurricane Harvey a recent glaring example. Over half a million vehicles flooded in Texas during that storm, significantly raising insurers’ annual losses for 2017, and in turn, causing around an 8 percent jump in premiums this year. Add the fact that Texas is number one in the nation for hail damage losses, and its position at the top of the rate hike leaderboard is easier to understand. Unfortunately, the trend in more expensive premiums also means more drivers will stop short of fully insuring themselves, so it’s always smart to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.