Automobile Insurance 

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    You may be able to save a significant amount of money on your car insurance by simply shopping. The State of Texas has developed some easy to use resources to help you save money. Find out more by visiting OPIC's "Shopping For Auto Insurance" page,

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Auto Highlights

OPIC is looking for Public Members to serve on the Governing Committee for TAIPA (Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association)

If you believe you may be interested, please read the following:

About TAIPA: TAIPA is a nonprofit corporation composed of all licensed insurance companies who sell automobile insurance in Texas.  TAIPA is responsible for assigning eligible applicants to licensed insurance companies in order for the applicant to show proof of financial responsibility as required by the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act. 

TAIPA Governing Committee:  TAIPA is administered by a 15-member governing committee under its plan of operation. Five of these members are public members who are nominated by the Office of Public Insurance Counsel and selected by the Commissioner of Insurance. 

TAIPA Public Members:  Public members serve two-year terms. You may not serve as a public member if you, an individual related to you within the second degree of consanguinity or affinity, or an individual residing in the same household as you are:
  • required to be registered or licensed under the Insurance Code;
  • employed by or acts as a consultant to a person required to be registered or licensed under the Insurance Code;
  • the owner of, or has a financial interest in, or participates in the management of an organization required to be registered or licensed under the Insurance Code;
  • an officer, employer or consultant of an association in the field of insurance or;
  • required to register as a lobbyist under Chapter 305 of the Government Code.
The Office of Public Insurance Counsel may also nominate, and the Commissioner of Insurance may appoint, up to three additional persons who meet these qualifications to act as alternates for public members.

Interested in Applying?:If you are interested in applying to serve on the TAIPA Governing Committee as a public member, please click here for an TAIPA Application.  Please send your completed application to David Nardecchia, Senior Specialist at the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, via email at dnardecchia@opic.texas.gov or by fax (512) 322-4148.
You can also apply directly to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI).  For information on applying directly with TDI click here, http://www.tdi.texas.gov/committee/gr/index.html.

Did You Have Storm Damage to Your Home or Auto and Need Help Understanding Your Insurance Coverage?

The information below is intended to provide some basic information for anyone with insurance questions related to the recent flooding and storm damage experienced in Texas.

Homeowners Coverage

·       Wind, including a tornado:  A typical homeowners policy covers damage caused by wind, including tornadoes.
·       Hail:  A typical homeowners policy covers damage caused by hail.

WIND and HAIL NOTE:  If your home is located in one of Texas' 14 coastal counties, or parts of southeastern Harris County, your homeowners policy MAY NOT cover damage caused by wind and hail. If your home is located in the above area, your wind and hail coverage may be written through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA.) If so, for additional information contact TWIA at 1-800-788-8247 or visit its website at www.twia.org.

·       Flood:  A typical homeowners policy DOES NOT cover damage caused by a flood.

FLOOD NOTE:  To protect your home from damage caused by flood, you will need to purchase a separate flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by FEMA.  Flood policies typically have a 30-day waiting period before you will have coverage.  This link has a summary of coverage, https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pdfs/Summary_of_Coverage_English.pdf 

For additional information, contact NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD 29 (356-6329) or visit its website at www.floodsmart.gov.

Auto Coverage

If you purchased comprehensive (commonly referred to as “other than collision”), your personal auto policy may cover damage to your auto caused by flood, hail, or wind (including a tornado).  Comprehensive coverage typically pays for damage to your auto caused by events other than a collision, including theft, fire, flood, hail, and wind.  Comprehensive coverage also pays for a loss to your auto from contact with birds or animals or breakage of glass. 

Auto Note:  If you only purchased auto liability insurance and did not purchase comprehensive coverage for damage to your auto, your personal auto policy will not pay for damage to your auto caused by events such as flood, hail, or wind.  Auto liability insurance pays for injuries to other people or property of others that you, or a covered person, cause in an auto accident. 

Do You Need to File a Claim or Have Coverage Questions?

If you have damage that may be covered under your insurance policy or questions about your coverage, contact your agent or company as soon as practical.  

·       Be sure to keep a record of all contacts you have with your agent or company.  
·       Be prepared to answer questions about the extent and severity of the damage. 

Are You Temporarily Out of Your Home Due to Damage Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance Policy? 

If so, ask your agent about coverage that may be available to you for your additional living expenses (ALE).  Homeowners insurance policies pay for your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home because of a covered loss.  You will need to provide documentation regarding your expenses.

Flood Note:  Flood policies DO NOT cover your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to a covered flood loss.

IMPORTANT: If you are making repairs prior to settling your insurance claim,  only make repairs necessary to protect your home and property from further damage, such as covering broken windows and holes to keep rain out. 

•       Don't make permanent repairs until instructed by your insurance company. 
•       Save all repair receipts. 

Tips That May Assist You With Your Claim

•       If you are temporarily out of your home, make sure your insurer knows where they can reach you.
•       Inspect your property and cars for damage.
•       Inventory your damage.
•       Photograph or video the damage.
•       Don’t throw away damaged property until your insurance adjuster has seen it.
•       Get your insurance company’s approval before you make any permanent repairs.

Try to be present when the insurance adjuster inspects the damage. Be sure your address is visible. If you moved out of your house temporarily, leave a note or a plywood sign with your temporary address, phone number, and name of your insurance company.

For additional information, contact the Office of Public Insurance Counsel at 512-322-4143.

What is a C.L.U.E. Report and What is in it?

The information contained in a C.L.U.E. report for you, your car, your home, or a home you may purchase can have a negative impact on the cost of insurance for that auto or home.   C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) is a claims history database generated by LexisNexis® that enables insurance companies to access certain consumer information, such as claims information, when they are underwriting or rating an insurance policy.  C.L.U.E. reports are used to underwrite and rate new policies or property.  The C.L.U.E. report contains up to 7 years of claim information, including the date of loss, type of loss, amounts paid, and a description of the property covered.

You can obtain a copy of your C.L.U.E. report from LexisNexis at 1-866-312-8076 or at: https://personalreports.lexisnexis.com.  Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, C.L.U.E. reports can be accessed only by the owner, insurer, or lender for the property.  You can ask the owner of the property you wish to purchase order the C.L.U.E. report for that property.  If you discover an error on your C.L.U.E. report, you should contact LexisNexis® directly and report the problem. LexisNexis® will then contact the insurance company on your behalf, ask for clarification on the matter, and notify you of the results within 30 days.    
 
To view a news story revealing mistakes on C.L.U.E. reports, please visit:  http://www.click2houston.com/news/mistakes-on-insurance-reports-lead-to-massive-price-increases/34299658
Office of Public Insurance Counsel - Auto