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Shopping for Auto Insurance

You may be able to save a significant amount of money on your auto insurance if you simply shop.  The State of Texas has developed some easy to use resources to help you shop for auto insurance. 

Companies charge a wide range of premiums for auto insurance in Texas.  Companies base auto insurance premiums on multiple factors including credit history, driving record, where you live, how you use the vehicle, and the coverage limits you select.  The coverage limits are the maximum amount the company will pay for injuries and property damage resulting from an accident.  A policy with coverage limits of 50/100/50 will pay up to $50,000 for a single person’s injuries, up to $100,000 for injuries to multiple people, and up to $50,000 in property damage.  You can find sample auto insurance premiums at www.helpinsure.com.  For example, sample premiums for a policy with 50/100/50 limits for a person living in Travis County with good credit, no violations, and using the car to go to and from work can range from $143 to $844. 

Of course the insurance coverage provided for these amounts can also vary significantly.  Comparing policies will help you identify policies that meet your insurance needs.  You can compare different companies’ policies and find explanations of key insurance provisions and terms at www.opic.state.tx.us.  Some ways policies differ can include:

·         Does the policy cover any person using the auto or only those named in the policy?

·         Does the policy cover autos you purchase after the policy begins?

·         Does the policy cover autos owned or regularly used by a family member?

After reviewing sample premiums and comparing policies, you should research the companies you are considering.  Check the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) website at www.tdi.texas.gov to verify the company is licensed, view its financial information, and to see the number of complaints TDI has received on the company.  You can also contact TDI at 1-800-252-3439 for this information.

Finally, you should contact an insurance agent, or the company directly, to get actual premium quotes and discuss the policies you are considering.  Company contact information may be found at www.helpinsure.com or TDI’s Company Lookup on its website.  Questions you should ask include:  

·         Who is and is not covered under the policy?

·         What autos are and are not covered under the policy?

·         What types of usage of your auto are not covered under the policy? 

·         What are the coverage limitations for additional equipment or components?

·         What discounts or credits do you offer?

Hopefully these tools will help you save some money and find insurance that meets your needs.  Insurance is a complicated subject that most people do not want to talk about.  We do.  Please contact the Office of Public Insurance Counsel with any insurance questions you may have.  You can contact us at www.opic.state.tx.us or at 512-322-4143.

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