Auto insurance rates in Texas increased—on average—a moderate 1% across the 12 largest car insurance companies in the state. However, some companies did register significant rate changes, the most notable being the 8% decrease from the State Farm group and the 9% increase from the Nationwide Corporation.
Auto Insurance Company
|DWP ($mm)||Approved Rate Change %||2017 Loss Ratio %|
|State Farm Group||$3,563||-8%||80%|
|Berkshire Hathaway Group||$2,638||7%||90%|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$2,363||0%||69%|
|Farmers Insurance Group||$1,843||5%||68%|
|United Services Automobile Association Group||$1,713||2%||90%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$1,196||7%||86%|
|Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Group||$693||3%||78%|
|Consumers County Mutual Insurance Company||$542||4%||87%|
|Nationwide Corporation Group||$473||9%||67%|
|American Family Insurance Group||$33||7%||79%|
|Top 12 Companies||$17,125||1%||79%|
The size of rate increases was much lower this year compared to the previous two years, which averaged 9% year-over-year in rate hikes. Most of the rate hikes among the largest carriers were often in the double digit percentages in the two previous years. These coincided with some of the highest loss ratios—which represent the claims insurers pay out as a percentage of the premiums they receive—of about 81% in 2016-2017 vs. 69% from 2013-2015.
The one exception was the Travelers Group—the 12th largest in Texas with $28 million of direct written premiums—which did not register any rate change approvals for the past three years. From 2013-2015, it had one of the lowest increases in auto insurance costs in Texas.
Select Highlights from Approved Rate Filings in Texas in 2018
Beginning in the first half of 2018, Allstate reclassified widows and widowers as married when calculating auto insurance rates. Insurers typically apply a marriage discount for married couples. Widowed individuals, then, would appear to lose the discount and be penalized. With this update, the marriage discount will be reinstated for widowed drivers in Texas.
Nationwide was also approved for a request to simplify its insurance score reports in Texas, effective November 2018. It previously calculated rates based on the driver in the household with the best score report, but now it is only using reports for the primary insured driver and their spouse. For drivers in a typical nuclear family with teenagers, this likely won’t have much of an impact. If the policyholder’s driving household had people with better score reports, however, then they might see an increase in their rates based on this factor.
Select Highlights from Rate Filings Submitted but Not Yet Approved in Texas
The Chubb family of insurance companies submitted a request in October 2018 to recoup the cost of the auto theft prevention fee. This is a fee that Texas levies on each carrier for each motor vehicle it insures each year to fund grants for local law enforcement to reduce car theft. While other insurers may have already passed this along to their policyholders, Chubb is requesting this be effective Oct. 5, 2018. Chubb policyholders may see a $2 surcharge on their premiums should this go into effect.
Dairyland County Mutual Insurance Company of Texas requested in September a rate increase of 3%. The insurer estimates that this would impact nearly 40,000 policyholders, with an average premium increase of $36 if approved. The carrier is also adding one ZIP code that was previously missing in its coverage area: 75072. Drivers living in that area of McKinney, Texas, will now have an additional carrier for their quote comparisons.
What Should Consumers Do When Their Rates Increase?
One of the best things drivers can do is to compare quotes from different insurers. This gives consumers optionality and lets them choose which premium makes sense for their budget. While it takes time to get a quote, increasing the number of companies you quote from increases your chances of not overpaying for the same coverage.
We also recommend updating your profile and circumstances with your existing insurer to see if you're eligible for savings. Newly married couples in Texas can combine insurance under one policy to become eligible for marriage and multiple car discounts. New membership at a professional association can also mean a reduction in premiums with some insurers.
Unfortunately, there are larger factors in insurers' rates that are out of consumers' control in the Lone Star State—even if they didn't submit claims. Insurers raise rates for a number of reasons, whether it’s to cover more payouts and higher claims from your neighborhood or because there’s a higher risk of car theft in the area. By comparing quotes and updating your information for discounts, drivers can help manage their own car insurance costs.