Every driver is required by Texas law to carry liability auto insurance as a minimum. Liability insurance rates depend on the type of car (sports car, truck, sedan, etc.), driving history, age of driver, gender of driver, and distance driven to work as well as in which area of Houston one lives and commutes. Average prices range between $200 – $500 for six month coverage. Additional coverage, such as collision or comprehensive is optional and can sharply increase the price.
To obtain car insurance in Texas, you must have a Texas driver license. You will also be asked to provide your Social Security number. Insurance companies use the Social Security number to obtain credit history and driving history. If you do not have a Social Security number, you may still be able to get car insurance but you will be graded as a very high risk resulting in a high insurance premium.
Coverage can be short or long-term. Rental companies will sell you their car insurance with a rental car. If you own a vehicle and carry insurance on that vehicle but must rent a car (due to your car being in the shop for repairs, for example), you are not required to purchase the insurance offered by the rental company. The coverage is often less than your own and it is only advisable if you want to keep any possible accidents off your own insurance’s record to avoid a raise in premium, should something happen. If you don’t own a car and don’t have a policy with any insurance carrier, you must take the insurance coverage offered by the rental company; they will provide full coverage and cover you in any type of accident.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
In the event of an accident, it is first recommended to clear the street as long as the car is drivable. Once in a safe location, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, also record the type of vehicle and license plate. If you have a camera with you, it is highly recommended to take pictures of the accident location and the damage on both vehicles. Also record the information of any witnesses which may have been in your car or seen the accident and who are willing to step forward.
Then, you must call the police whose officer will file a police report that can be obtained later and will assist with the insurance claim. In the city limits call the Houston Police Department (713-844-3131); outside the city limits but in Harris County, call the Harris County Sheriff’s department (713-221-6000). If in doubt or if someone is injured, call the emergency hotline 9-1-1.
A note about police reports: Do not rely on the police’s findings for having a claim go in your favor. Insurance companies and their adjusters will have final say as to whether they will pay the claim or whether they believe the other driver was at fault in which case they will not pay and you may have to go to court or pay with your own money. In general, however, insurance companies do settle with each other and going to court is not often needed. The better you document the accident yourself, the more proof you will have later to show your adjuster.
This is a list of some of the common motor vehicle insurance companies that can be contacted for quotes: