All of those incessant car insurance ads that we constantly see on television and hear on the radio may have a point after really can save on car insurance just by shopping around.  That's the conclusion of Mark Hanna with the Insurance Council of Texas, who says there are some 200 companies in Houston alone that offer auto insurance.  "If you look around, you'll see that there can be a difference in many, many hundreds of dollars for just one auto insurance policy," he tells KTRH.  However, despite all of those funny commercials that stick in your head, Hanna says very few people actually change car insurance companies.  "Since it's so complicated and no one wants to read their insurance policy, they get with one company and they stay with that company basically forever."

There are many factors that drive auto insurance rates, but chief among them for parents is younger drivers.  "Females under 21 and males under 25," says Hanna.  "That's just a fact of life, they have more accidents because they haven't been behind the wheel long enough."  Even if you don't have young people on your policy, Hanna explains there are still reasons to check your policy now and then.  "The type of car you buy, the mileage you put on your vehicle each year, putting your auto insurance with your homeowner's insurance, it all is factored into your rate," he says. 

Nevertheless, price is not the only item you should consider when shopping for insurance.  "There are two or three companies that consistently get more complaints than any other companies offering auto insurance out there, and consumers need to be aware of those companies," says Hanna.  Beyond talking animals and funny slogans, one of the most important things to look for when buying insurance is service, according to Hanna.  "If I was going to buy an auto insurance policy, I want to be able to speak to a warm body, I want to be able to ask that person questions about my coverage...low rates, but also great service is what I'm looking for," he says.  There are hundreds of car insurance companies available through the Texas Department of Insurance.