Auto Insurance in Houston, TX (The Complete Guide)
Texas requires 30/60/25 of bodily injury and property coverage. The average rate for auto insurance in Houston is $251.57/mo. Save now and compare quotes below.
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UPDATED: Oct 27, 2020
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|Houston, Texas Statistics||Details|
|City Density||3,977 people per square mile|
|Average Cost of Insurance||$3,018.83|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Company||USAA|
|Road Conditions||Poor Share: 24%
Mediocre Share: 28%
Fair Share: 11%
Good Share: 38%
Vehicle Operating Cost (VOC): $610
In the mid-1990s, Houston Texas rose to national prominence and earned the nickname “Clutch City” because of the stellar, championship-level play of its Houston Rockets team. Led by NBA Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon, the Rockets captured the 1993-4 and 1994-5 NBA titles.
Also in the mid-nineties, Houston remained in the national consciousness (at least in professional sports) due to Killer B’s lineups of the Houston Astros. Consisting of Hall of Fame players Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio along with Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, Derek Bell, Sean Berry, and Chris Burke, the Killer B’s were notable for their collective play on the diamond and their alliterative surnames.
Two decades later, the city has remained famous for another set of Killer B’s: Beyoncé, Barbecue, and The Beard.
So, whether you’re looking for the best barbecue joints in Houston or trying to find a bar where you can boogie to the ballads of Queen Bey, you will want to make sure you have the most affordable car insurance rates to get around Clutch City. Learn more here: where can I compare several affordable auto insurance rates.
Compare premium prices today by entering your zip code in our FREE online tool above.
The Cost of Car Insurance in Houston
Keep reading to learn about the cost of auto insurance in Houston and to see which companies may have the best deals for you.
You might find yourself asking how does my Houston, Texas stack up against other top US metro areas’ auto insurance rates? We’ve got your answer below.
Male vs. Female vs. Age
Age may be nothing but a number, but it does impact your auto insurance rates. Auto insurance prices for teen drivers and drivers in their early twenties are significantly higher than for drivers in their thirties and sixties.
These states are no longer using gender to calculate your car insurance rates — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. But age is still a major factor because young drivers are often considered high-risk. TX does use gender, so check out the average monthly car insurance rates by age and gender in Houston, TX.
The median age in Houston is 33.1 years of age, meaning that most Houston drivers will not be paying the astronomical rates of young and novice drivers.
Houston, TX car insurance rates by company and age is an essential comparison because the top car insurance company for one age group may not be the best company for another age group.
The best age to be to get the most affordable car insurance in Houston is 60.
|City||Age 17||Age 25||Age 35||Age 60||Cheapest Rate||Cheapest Age|
Teen drivers pay more for car insurance because statistically teenage drivers have much higher risk factors. The younger that drivers are, the less experience they have. According to Anne T. McCartt, Senior Vice President of Research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):
“The combination of driving inexperience and immaturity is a lethal combination. It leads for a much higher crash risk for new teen drivers.”
In Houston, it pays to be married because car insurance is cheaper if you’re married than single. For example, a married 35-year-old female will save over $200 annually on premiums with Geico and State Farm than a single 25-year-old female.
|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 you weren’t able to choose your birthday or your gender, you can choose an insurance provider that offers fair rates to all genders and age without discrimination. Continue reading to discover which insurers fit that description in the city of Houston.
Cheapest Zip Codes in Houston
Your neighborhood is a major factor in the quality of rates you will be offered by insurance companies. The rate of crime, the susceptibility to flooding and other natural disasters, and the proximity to major roadways of a given neighborhood have a great impact on how companies set their premium prices.
ZIP codes will play a major role in your car insurance rates because factors like crime and traffic are calculated by ZIP code. Check out the monthly Houston, Texas auto insurance rates by ZIP Code below:
Within this context, let’s take a peek at the CHEAPEST neighborhoods by zip codes in Houston.
|Zip||Average Annual Rate|
The most expensive rates are in the 77036 zip code with an average annual rate of $8,150.71. The most affordable rates are in the 77059 zip code with an average annual rate of $6,254.85. The large disparity in premium prices between the two neighborhoods can be partly explained by the large disparity in the median ages.
The median age in the 77059 zip code is 45.2; while the median age in the 77036 is 29.6.
What’s the Best Car Insurance Company in Houston?
No two car insurance companies are built the same. Each company has its own actuarial departments that all value consumer demographic data a little differently. That’s why it is important to do a thorough comparison of the various companies in your area based on your specific situation to get the best rates for you and your family.
Which Houston, TX car insurance company has the best rates? And how do those rates compare against the average Texas car insurance company rates? We’ve got the answers below.
Shopping for auto insurance in Houston is no different. We will take a look at how various providers in the city rate with their premium prices so that you can pick the company that provides the best value for you.
Let’s continue our fact-finding mission.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
Take a look at the table below to see how various top insurers compare in providing affordable insurance in Houston. Which company stands out among the rest in offering the cheapest premiums?
|Car Insurance Provider||Average Cost of Insurance|
USAA has the cheapest average rates for all demographics in Houston. This should come as no surprise because Houston is one of the most military-friendly cities in the USA. According to Military.com, Houston stands out because of its “appreciation, stability, and military friendliness.”
Houston is also ranked as the #2 city in America for Veterans. Because Houston has distinguished itself as a metropolitan area that is enticing for military members and their families, companies such as USAA that cater to members of the armed forces have increased their visibility and impact in the city.
Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates
How long you drive and how often you drive not only affects the amount of time you spend at the gas pumps, but it could also affect the amount of money you’re paying for your car insurance.
|Insurance Provider||10 miles commute / 6000 annual mileage.||25 miles commute / 12000 annual mileage.||Average|
Both Allstate and Geico cost over $140 more depending on the length of your commute. If you have a longer commute, you may want to avoid both of these providers.
Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates
The level of coverage you choose for your vehicles depends on how much protection you need and how much personal liability you’re comfortable with assuming. Shop around. Having a high level of coverage doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay a high premium.
Your coverage level will play a major role in your Houston car insurance rates. Find the cheapest Houston, TX car insurance rates by coverage level below:
For only an additional $20 per month, you can go from low coverage to high coverage with USAA. With Allstate and State Farm, you can make a similar upgrade in coverage for an extra $35 per month. Revisit your budget to see if the added monthly cost makes sense for you and your family to receive a greater level of protection.
Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates
Fair or unfair, credit affects your auto insurance rates you receive in many states. Texas happens to be one of those states where credit history is among the leading risk factors considered by the actuaries at insurance companies.
Your credit score will play a significant role in your Houston, TX car insurance rates unless you live in these states where discrimination based on credit is not allowed: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Find the cheapest Houston, TX car insurance rates by credit score below.
|Company||Good Credit||Fair Credit||Poor Credit||Average|
In many cases having poor credit will cost you almost twice as much for coverage as someone with good credit. For example, a driver with good credit will pay $3,684.52 annually for coverage with Nationwide; while a driver with poor credit will pay $5,295.97 for the same amount of protection.
Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates
Being a good driver isn’t just beneficial for your physical health, it also helps you to stay fiscally healthy. The more reckless you are as a driver, the higher your auto insurance rates will be (not to mention the number of fees you’d incur for potential violations).
Your driving record will play a major role in your Houston car insurance rates. For example, other factors aside, a Houston, TX DUI may increase your car insurance rates 40 to 50 percent. Find the cheapest Houston, TX car insurance rates by driving record.
|Group||Clean record||With 1 speeding violation||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI||Average|
Having a DUI on your record is the most egregious offense to most auto insurers. A DUI will raise your rates the most, but speeding violations and accidents will also adversely influence your rates.
Car Insurance Factors in Houston
The are many ingredients involved in cooking up your car insurance rates.
Factors affecting car insurance rates in Houston, TX may include your commute, coverage level, tickets, DUIs, and credit. Controlling these factors will help you maintain cheap Houston, TX car insurance.
To see how much car insurance costs in Houston, TX, we are going to look at multiple reports to see how much you SHOULD be paying for car insurance.
When a city is prospering economically, it will naturally attract more people. Houston is a burgeoning metropolis that has been experiencing steady economic and job growth over the past several years, especially with military members. In this section, we’re going to hone in on Houston’s growth and prosperity.
What exactly is prosperity? According to Brooking’s Metro Monitor, prosperity is defined as:
“Prosperity captures changes in the average wealth and income produced by an economy. When a metropolitan area grows by increasing the productivity of its workers, through innovation or by upgrading workers’ skills, for example, the value of those workers’ labor rises.”
Growth in the Houston area is as follows:
- Jobs: +25.7% (3rd of 100)
- Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP): +47.4% (3rd of 100)
- Jobs at Young Firms: +12.7% (4th of 100)
Houston ranks as the 2nd fastest growing city in the US
This data means that the job market in Houston is growing rapidly, meaning that many job seekers are flocking to Houston to take advantage of the increasing opportunities.
Here are the prosperity numbers for Houston:
- Productivity: +17.2 percent (4th of 100)
- Standard of Living: +15.9 percent (4th of 100)
- Average Annual Wage: +18.4 percent (4th of 100)
Houston ranks third in the nation for prosperity.
All this data on growth and prosperity mean that Houston has become an attractive destination for job seekers and new residents alike.
Median Household Income
With hundreds or thousands of dollars going to car insurance every year, you may be wondering just how much of your income is being eaten up by car insurance.
To help give you a better idea of car insurance costs, let’s start by taking a look at the median household income in Houston according to Data USA.
The median household income in Houston in 2017 was $50,896. This amount is significantly less than the average income in Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area which is $63,802 and is slightly lower than the average income in the United States which was $60,336.
So how much of this income goes to car insurance? Well, the average annual cost of car insurance in Houston is $4,770.73.
This means that the average Houstonian spends 9.37 percent of his or her income on car insurance. To see what percentage of your income is going to your car insurance premiums, use the tool below.
Be sure to shop around by comparing and contrasting multiple insurance carriers to ensure you are not giving away too high a percentage of your income to the insurance companies.
Homeownership in Houston
In general, owning a home can help you to receive lower car insurance rates. While there may appear to be no direct correlation between these two things, insurers consider homeowners to be more reliable and responsible.
In Houston, though, only 42.8 percent of residents are homeowners. In the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metro area, the average percentage of homeowners is 60.7 percent. This means the city of Houston proper has a much lower rate of homeownership than the rest of its surrounding area.
What is the average value of the home in Houston? The median property value in Houston is $173,600.
The average property value in Houston is substantially higher than the median property value of $151,500 for the state of Texas.
Education in Houston
Houston is home to a number of fine institutions of higher learning. First and foremost is the University of Houston, which is the alma mater or the famed Phi Slama Jama basketball teams of the early-to-mid-eighties led by Hakeem (then Akeem) Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.
Nowadays, both the Cougars football program with its new offensive-minded head coach Dana Holgorsen and basketball teams are getting national recognition as perennial Top 25 programs in the NCAA.
Houston Community College and the University of Houston-Downtown also boast growing enrollment numbers and increased scholarship and degree programs.
|Education Level||Most (#1) Common Concentration||Number of Degrees Awarded||Second Most Common Concentration||Number of Degrees Awarded||Third Most Common Concentration||Number of Degrees Awarded|
|<1 Year Postsecondary Certificate||Quality Control and Safety Technology||202||Dental Assisting||194||Welding Technology||308|
|1-2 Year Postsecondary Certificate||General Costmetology||438||Dental Assisting||373||Medical Assistant||1,814|
|Associates Degree||General Business Administration & Management||254||Registered Nursing||147||General Sutides||5,048|
|2-4 Year Post-secondary Certificate||Diesel Mechanics Technology||202||Auto-body & Collision Repair Technology||156||Automobile Mechanics Technology||544|
|Bachelor's Degree||General Psychology||825||General Business Administration & Management||772||Other Multidisciplinary Studies||909|
|Post-baccalaureate Certificate||General Business Administration & Management||216||Other Theology & Religious Vocations||0||N/A||N/A|
|Masters Degree||General Business Administration & Management||1,133||Accounting||206||Curriculum & Instruction||202|
|Post-Masters Certificate||Orthodontics||7||Maxillofacial Surgery||6||Endodontics||5|
|Research Doctorate||General Education Leadership & Administration||62||General Chemistry||49||Bio-engineering & Biomedical Engineering||37|
Houston has several dozens of educational options for undergraduate and graduate studies.
Wage by Gender in Common Jobs
Income disparity among the genders has been a major topic of conversation in the news cycle recently because, in many workplaces in America, men are paid substantially higher for the same work as women are.
Unfortunately, Houston, TX falls in line with this disturbing trend. On average, males in Houston earn 140 percent more than females.
- Houston Female Average Salary — $47,183
- Houston Male Average Salary — 65,834
Poverty by Age and Gender
The poverty rates in Houston are more severe to females than males. Females age 25-34 are the largest demographic living in poverty in the city, followed closely by females age 35-44. The city of Houston as a whole has a poverty rate of 21.2 percent which is significantly higher than the national aver of 13.4 percent
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity
Let’s examine the poverty rates in Houston by race and ethnicity. The ethnic and racial group most affected by poverty in Houston is the Hispanic population. Over a quarter of a million Hispanic people living at or below the poverty in Houston. Whites living in poverty are a close second with an estimated 248,530 residing in impoverished conditions.
Employment by Occupations
Despite the growing job opportunities for military veterans in Houston, the employment numbers overall declined 1.48 percent from 2016 to 2017.
The most common fields of employment for residents of Houston are Non-Farming/Ranching/Agricultural Management positions, Building Cleaning & Pest Control Workers, and Truck Drivers. Houston also has an unusually large amount of Painters and Non-Carpentry Construction Workers.
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Driving in Houston
Driving in major cities can be a hassle. From congested roads to potential tolls to an inordinate amount of one-way streets, finding the best course of navigation can be a source of great consternation.
Keep reading so that you can plan the best routes in and around the city of Houston.
Roads in Houston
Here’s what you need to know about driving in the city of Houston.
Here is a basic overview of the major roads and interstates in and around Houston
|Name of Route||West End / East End||Branch Routes||Total Mileage||Texas Cities it Passes through|
|I-10||West End - Santa Monica, CA |
East End- Jacksonville, FL
|12||2,460.34||El Paso, Fort Stockton, Kerrville, San Antonio, Houston, Beaumont, Orange|
|I-45||West End - Dallas, TX|
East End- Galveston, TX
|1||284.1||Galveston, Texas City, Houston, Huntsville, Corsicana, Ennis, Dallas|
|I-69||West End - Port Huron, MI|
East End- Indianapolis, IN
|5||700.78||Corpus Christi, Houston, Humble, Stafford, Sugar Land|
|I-610||West End - Houston, TX|
East End- Houston, TX
|N/A||37.97||Houston, Bellaire, Jacinto City, Galena Park|
While I-610 (or The Loop) gets most of the publicity (and infamy) in Houston, be sure to find one or more backup routes to make for a smooth commute in the case of traffic or road closures.
Popular Road Trips/Sites
Everything is big in Texas and Houston is its biggest city. The bigness of Houston is only matched by the diversity of its people and popular attraction sites. Clutch City has a plethora of pleasurable destinations for whatever your proclivity may be.
Obviously, the top tourist attraction in Houston is the Space Center Houston, a part of the NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. From tours to space camps to interactive exhibits, the space center has opportunities for fun and learning as vast as the universe itself.
Another fun destination for tourists and residents alike is the Kemah Boardwalk. This attraction is a family-friendly place filled with exciting rides, music, and shopping.
For a more in-depth look at other top locales in Houston, take a look at this helpful Travel Guide by Expedia.
For you foodies, here is a video with helpful tips and places to visit for the cuisine.
How do Houston’s roads compare to that of other cities in Texas or other major cities in general? Are they in good condition or could they use a little extra work? Let’s find out.
|Houston Road Conditions||Details|
|Vehicle Operating Costs (VOC)||$610|
By the end of summer 2019, this particular work on Houston’s I-45 should be completed. One can only hope.
Does your city use speeding or red light cameras?
The city of Houston has had a love-hate relationship with red light cameras, turning them on and off several times between the periods of 2007 and 2014.
As of today, they have been removed or are inoperable in Houston.
Vehicles in Houston
Did you know that the most unusually popular car in Houston is the Ford F-250 Pickup Truck?
Maybe you did or maybe you could’ve made a reasonable guess that that would be the case. But we have some stats about vehicles in Houston that we bet you didn’t know. Here are some obscure facts about cars in Houston:
- 47 percent of cars owned in Houston are American-made vehicles.
- Approximately 0.7 percent of vehicles are hybrids.
- Muscle cars make up 18.5 percent of the vehicle population in Houston
- There is a 0.5 percent population of Subarus in the Houston area
– How Many Cars Per Household?
How many cars on average do the citizens of Houston own?
Well, most Houston residents own two cars, followed by ownership of one car. A whopping 6.83 percent of Houstonians own four motor vehicles.
Households Without a Car
Some Houstonians who own four or more cars, yet there are others who do not own any. Below are the statistics from 2015 and 2016 on households who rely on transportation methods other than cars.
|2015 Households without Vehicles||2016 Households without Vehicles||2015 Vehicles per Household||2016 Vehicles per Household|
With Houston being such a large and spread-out city, having over eight percent of its population without a vehicle could be problematic. However, many of those residents probably enjoy not having the hassle of a car payment and/or insurance bill as well as the stress of driving in traffic. They also can take advantage of public transportation as well as ridesharing services offered in the city.
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Speed Traps in Houston
Deshaun Watson is known for his speed on the gridiron. And Tony Kemp is known for his speed on the baseball diamond. But you better think twice if you’re considering becoming known for your speed while driving on the roads in Houston, TX.
Houston is ranked as the number 1 worst city in all of Texas for speed-traps.
Speed-traps are areas on the road in which hidden law enforcement officers are located to detect vehicles that are exceeding a speed limit, usually by the use of radar.
There are approximately 45 speed-traps hidden around the city, with an approximate 77 percent acknowledgment rate for these traps.
So, do yourself a favor and slow down. Avoid getting a pricey ticket. Leave the speeding to the professional athletes at NRG Stadium and Minute Maid Park.
Vehicle Theft in Houston
Worrying about automobile theft and vandalism is an unfortunate by-product of car ownership. In Houston, the threat of vehicular larceny is
According to a 2013 crime report by the FBI, Houston had 2,180,606 citizens living in the Houston area, and over 13,595 vehicles stolen.
Unfortunately, Houston has the most car thefts in the state of Texas. But not every neighborhood in the city is rampant with crime.
Here is a list of some of the safest rated neighborhoods in Houston:
- Dogwood Acres / Walden Woods
- Westheimer Parkway / S Ferry Road
- Sandtown Circle / Sandtown Lane
- Clodine Reddick Road / Beechnut Boulevard
- Porter Heights
- River Terrance
- Echo Mountain Drive / Mills Branch Drive
- Telge Road / Northwest Freeway
Being the fourth largest city in the USA, Houston is one of the worst cities for traffic congestion due to its densely populated area.
We’ve gone through and collected some traffic congestion data to help you know just how congested the Houston area can be.
|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)|
|77 (82)||98 (118)||+ 6%||$1,365||4||15|
Houston ranked as the sixth most congested city according to the metrics used by Numbeo.
|Traffic Index||Time Index (in minutes)||Time Exp. Index||Inefficiency Index||CO2 Emission Index|
Houston is ranked by the TomTom traffic Index as the 17th most congested city in North America and 117th most congested city in the world. Residents of Houston tend to spend approximately 24 percent more travel time while driving through Houston.
That additional travel time equates to 32 minutes per day, adding up to at least 121 hours per year in traffic in Houston.
In the U.S., the average commute time is 25.5 minutes. Houston’s commute time is a full minute longer at 26.5 minutes.
Almost two percent (1.96 percent to be exact) of Houston residents experience a super commute of 90 minutes or longer. That is a long time to have to drive to and from work.
So how do most Houston residents get to work? Driving alone is by far the most popular mode of transport in Houston; however, carpooling is also a preferred method in Clutch City.
Route 6 in Houston is a 12-lane highway that is among the busiest in the United States of America. I-45 from Beltway 8 North to Loop 610 and U.S. 59 from Loop 610 West to Texas 288 are also notorious for their congestion.
How Safe are Houston’s Streets and Roads?
Houston is a large and spread-out city, but its downtown roads are often congested. So, exactly how safe is it to drive on the streets and highways of Houston?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected data on Texas’s county crash statistics. Let’s take a look at what the data tells us about Houston and its surrounding areas (Harris County).
Tragically, over 200 fatalities came at the expense of a DUI-involved accident.
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
Another aspect of Houston we want to look at is how Houston’s drivers compare to the rest of the U.S. According to Allstate’s report, Houston is the 164th safest city to drive in in 2018.
|2018 Best Drivers Report Rank||Average Years Between Claims||Relative Claim Likelihood )Compared to National Average)||2018|
2017 to 2018
|164||6.9||44.40%||N/A||167||+ 3||167||156||Houston - The Woodlands - Sugar Land, TX||8|
In fact, the average amount of time that passes between claims in Houston is 6.9 years, which is more frequent than the national average of 10 years between claims.
Ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft have increased in popularity seemingly every year. Houston has not been immune to the ridesharing epidemic, as more and more of its citizens are taking advantage of those services.
Here are the most common ridesharing services available in Houston:
EStar Repair Shops
If you’ve ever been in an accident and in need of quality repairs, an EStar repair shop can be your saving grace.
A program from Esurance, Estar repair helps drivers find the best repair shop in their area. We’ve included the top 10 repair shops in the 77002 zip code of Houston.
|Name of E-Star Repair Facility||Address||Contact Information||Distance (from 77002 zip code)|
|RUSSELL & SMITH FORD HONDA||1109 SOUTH LOOP W|
HOUSTON TX 77054
P: (713) 663-4216
F: (713) 663-4110
|MILLER AUTO & BODY REPAIR||4816 N SHEPHERD|
HOUSTON TX 77018
P: (713) 864-7820
F: (713) 864-6280
|SERVICE KING GALLERIA||5919 WESTHEIMER ROAD|
HOUSTON TX 77057
P: (713) 243-1400
F: (713) 266-4316
|CARSTAR PREMIER||9520 RICHMOND AVE|
HOUSTON TX 77063
P: (713) 952-3777
|SERVICE KING SOUTHWEST FREEWAY||10475 SOUTHWEST FREEWAY|
HOUSTON TX 77074
P: (713) 773-5000
F: (713) 772-1746
|SERVICE KING PEARLAND||2330 SMITH RANCH ROAD|
PEARLAND TX 77584
P: (713) 795-3100
F: (800) 214-2373
|SUNRISE PAINT & BODY INC.||4211 COOK RD|
HOUSTON TX 77072
P: (281) 933-7473
F: (281) 933-9426
|CHARLTON'S BODY REPAIR CF||1131 STAFFORDSHIRE RD|
STAFFORD TX 77477
P: (281) 499-1126
F: (281) 499-1694
|SERVICE KING HUMBLE||450 E FM 1960|
HUMBLE TX 77338
P: (281) 446-6660
F: (800) 214-2373
|GREENFIELD COLLISION CENTER||15920 KUYKENDAHL|
HOUSTON TX 77068
P: (281) 580-1994
F: (281) 580-3205
There’s no truth to the tale that Houston is derived from the Latin word meaning humidity, but you wouldn’t blame anybody for believing it.
|Houston Weather Averages||Details|
|Annual High Temperature||78.3°F
|Annual low temperature||59.8°F
|Average annual precipitation - rainfall||45.28 inch|
|Days per year with precipitation - rainfall||106 days
|Annual hours of sunshine||2633 hours
|Av. annual snowfall||N/A|
While snow may not be much of an issue in Houston, Harris County residents have to be mindful of the various natural disasters that are common to the area. Houston has a greater number of natural disasters in the area than the average United States city.
There have been 22 major disasters, and of those, six were declared as emergencies. Here is the breakdown of the cataclysmic events:
- 6 – Storms
- 15 – Floods
- 15 – Hurricanes
- 7 – Tornadoes
- 3 – Tropical Storms
- 2 – Fires
- 2 – Winds
Because Houston is a gulf-coast city, so it is susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Additionally, like the majority of Texas, Houston lies in the infamous “Tornado Alley,” where tornados appear seemingly like daffodils.
Below is a table with the best options for public transportation in Houston.
|Transportation Option||Cost||Routes / Details (if listed)|
|METRORail||$1.25||-Red Line : (25 Stations) Northline Transit Center to Fannin South
-Green Line: (9 Stations) Downtown to Magnolia Park Transit Center
-Purple Line: (10 Stations) Downtown to Palm Center Transit Center
|METRO Bus System||Local Service Fare: $1.25|
One-Way Fare: ranges from $2-4.50 depending on distance
|- Local services runs mostly on city streets
- Park & Ride Service is for long-distance commuting
- METRO's 28 Park & Ride lots provide bus service to key destinations
|Taxi||$6||flat taxi fare for all trips in the downtown area|
|Ridesharing Services||depends upon service||depends upon service|
|SuperShuttle||ranges from $23- 200 depending on destination||-Shared Ride
Parking in Metro Areas
Parking downtown in any major city in the nation can be like trying to navigate a mobile obstacle course, and Houston is no different.
There are several parking garages within the city limits containing over 100,000 parking spaces in downtown Houston. On-street parking accounts for 2,200 available spots; while 24,000 spots are represented by surface parking lot spaces and 75,000 by garage spaces.
On-Street Parking facts you should know:
- On-street metered parking is available during the day and on most downtown streets
- You can park up to three hours, and after that, you will have to move your vehicle
- Meters are FREE after 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is free all day Sunday
In addition, there are many parking tips given by the city of Houston, and they are as follows:
- Pay close attention to street signs – as some metered areas turn into tow-away zones during certain times of the day
- Avoid spots with red markings – if a curb is painted red/there are red stripes on the street, that means the designated spot is off-limits at all times
- Be careful of time limits – most meters downtown have a 3-hour time limit, and after that, you will need to move your vehicle
- Avoid commercial meters – these meters (usually painted in red) designate parking spots for commercial vehicles only
- Utilize hi-tech parking meters – most of the downtown area have smart meters that are easy to use
- Purchase a Downtown Hopper pass – you pay a one-time daily fee which allows you to move from block to block or meter to meter throughout the downtown area without having to pay the meter each time.
Air Quality in Houston
The quality of the air in a city can have a drastic effect on the quality of health of its citizen. When vehicles were first invented, they expelled toxic fumes unchecked as the traversed the roadways.
Thankfully, there are much stricter air-quality control regulations for cars today. This doesn’t mean that air pollution caused by cars is no longer a concern. Pollution can have a serious effect on people’s health.
The State of Texas requires most gas vehicles registered in certain counties to pass a vehicle emissions test as well as all vehicles in the state to pass a safety inspection. The last thing you want is to breathe in harmful fumes while driving!
Let’s take a look at the air quality index in the Harris County area. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has collected years’ worth of data on air quality, some of which we have included below.
|Year||Number of Days with AQI||Number of "Good" Days||Number of "Moderate" Days||Number of "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" Days||Number of "Unhealthy" Days||Number of "Very Unhealthy" Days|
Because of the city’s recent encounters with devastating natural disasters combined with the dozens of gas and oil companies in and around the city, the quality of Houston’s air pollution is something that requires strict monitoring for years to come.
As mentioned earlier in this feature, Houston is one of the most favorable cities in America for active and retired military personnel.
Keep reading to learn about Houston’s special relationship with its veterans and their families.
Veterans by Service Period
The state of Texas is home to scores of military bases throughout the state. Many of those servicemen and servicewomen eventually migrate and settle in Houston.
Houston has the largest population of Vietnam Veterans as residents and employees.
The three most common service periods for veterans in the Houston area are:
- Vietnam: 20,569 veterans
- Gulf War (2000s): 17,611 veterans
- Gulf War (1990s): 10,103 veterans
The following insurance providers offer military discounts to drivers:
- Liberty Mutual (must be active duty)
- Safeco (both active and retired)
- USAA (you, your spouse or your parents must be active or retired military to get USAA auto insurance)
While all the above insurers offer discounts and special promotions to military personnel, USAA, by a wide margin, has the best rates for military families, costing 58 percent less than the state average.
Unique Houston Laws
In Houston, there have been a few new driving laws that have come out over the past few years. We’ve put together some information for these laws in Houston that drivers will want to know.
Texting While Driving:
In September of 2017, a law went into effect that prohibits texting while driving. There are a few exemptions for this law, which include using a navigation device or stereo controls. A first-time offender can receive a fine of $25 to $99 while a repeat offender can expect fines of about $100 to $200.
A recent study found that Texans text and drive the most during the 4:00-afternoon drive hour, averaging seven texts during that peak-time driving hour.
Good Samaritans and Civil Liability:
Good Samaritan laws were put into effect to encourage citizens to act in the best interest of saving or helping a person in danger without fear of subsequent litigation. This will protect anyone trying to assist a baby, a disabled person, or an animal locked in a hot car from being sued for causing damage to a vehicle in the attempt to rescue the endangered party.
Studies show that from 1998 to 2018, more than 114 people had died after being left in a hot vehicle from heatstroke.
With the existence of this law, hopefully, we’ll see more acts of heroism and fewer lawsuits.
Verification of Driving Without Car Insurance:
This law requires law enforcement officers to make a valid attempt at verification of an existing insurance policy before they can issue you a ticket for driving without the required insurance.
What exactly does this mean? Well, let’s say you’re driving around in Houston and you get pulled over for something by law enforcement.
You have your insurance with you, it’s just hidden beneath some papers in your dashboard. So with this new law, it helps to protect you if you don’t immediately produce your insurance to law enforcement.
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Houston Car Insurance FAQ’s
Here are answers to some of the most common car insurance questions about the city of Houston:
If I’m moving to Houston, can I keep my current driver’s license?
If you’re moving to the Houston area from another city in Texas, you’ll need to simply update your license to your new living address.
If you’re moving to the Houston area from another state, you’ll need to visit your local DMV office to transfer your license. Requirements vary from state to state, but in more cases, some of the following requirements will apply:
Over 18 moving to Texas will require proof of:
- Identity (a valid out of state license can be used as a supporting document)
- Citizenship or lawful presence
- Social security number
- Vehicle registration in Texas (if the applicant owns a vehicle titled in his/her name)
Minors (Under 18) moving to Texas will have to meet the following requirements:
Applicants under 18 who have a valid driver license or valid learner license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory or Canadian province do not have to take the knowledge exam. Applicants who surrender a valid license/permit from another state will be issued the equivalent Texas version of the document surrendered (i.e. A Texas learner license for another state’s learner license).
Applicants under 18 from a country other than the U.S. or Canada are required to take and pass the knowledge exam. This includes France, South Korea, Germany, and Taiwan because the reciprocity agreement with these countries does not apply to minors.
Should I even own a vehicle in Houston?
The short answer is yes.
Houston is such a large and expansive city that having your own form of transportation will be the ideal scenario in most cases.
Houston does offer other forms of transportation such as city buses, trollies, and shuttles; however, according to the majority of its citizens, the public transportation system and taxicabs are not the most reliable. If you’re still not in favor of personal car ownership, your best bet to get around the city may be using ridesharing services such as Lyft and Uber.
Can the higher temperatures in Houston affect my car?
Yes, they can. Houston is susceptible to high heat temperatures and humidity levels.
So how exactly does this affect your vehicle then? Well, with higher temperatures and more humidity, it’ll force your vehicle to work harder in order to produce power. Therefore, the cumulative wear and tear on your car’s parts may be greater in hotter weather than in cooler climates.
Be mindful of this during the dog days of summer.
Should I take commute into consideration when I chose where to live?
Yes, yes, and yes. Houston is not an easily navigable city by walking. Additionally, it is densely populated with a heavily congested downtown.
So, before purchasing a home or renting a place in Houston, consider whether or not you’ll have to combat the downtown traffic to get from your place of residence to your place of employment.
Is it worth it to get an EZ tag?
It depends on how often you’ll be accessing toll roads, but in general, it is a good idea to purchase an EZ tag. For an initial $30 deposit, you get an electronic tag on your windshield, which allows you to drive directly through the toll without stopping.
You’ll also receive $0.25 discount on the $1 toll. The EZ tag office will also notify you when your $30 is about to expire and when it’s time to replenish your account.
You now have all the information you need to make an informed decision about purchasing auto insurance and driving your vehicle in Houston, TX.
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