All Texans are impacted by insurance scams. Learn how to protect yourself.
General Insurance Scams
Unlicensed insurance. It is illegal to sell insurance in Texas without a license. Surplus lines carriers are the only exception. But surplus lines carriers must still register with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to do business in Texas, and they must be licensed in their home state or country.
Before you get insurance from an agent or company, do your research. Use TDI’s License Lookup Tool to verify an insurance company, agent, agency, or adjuster. When you check a company’s license, be sure you know the company’s exact name. Unlicensed companies often use names that are similar to the names of licensed companies.
Telephone and email scams. Be wary of phone calls and emails from people claiming to be your insurance company or agent wanting your personal info. Some common scams include:
- Someone claims to be your insurance agent, or from your insurance company, and threatens to cancel your policy if specific actions aren’t taken, or if you don’t give personal information over the phone. Your insurer won’t call you to notify you of policy cancellation. They are required by law to deliver or mail you written notice of cancellation at least 10 days before cancelling a policy.
- Be wary of insurance companies or agents trying to sell you an insurance policy over the phone. While a legitimate company or agent may call you, unlicensed insurers often use this method.
Fraud against seniors. Seniors are often targets of insurance fraud, especially life and health insurance scams. Be cautious when an insurance company or agent you don’t know contacts you out of the blue. Make sure you and elderly loved ones don’t fall for high-pressure sales tactics, requests for personal and financial info, or offers to cash in on existing annuity or life insurance policies. Learn more about insurance scams against seniors.
Auto Insurance Scams
Staged auto accidents. The most common auto accident scam occurs when a person intentionally causes an accident to file a fraudulent or inflated insurance claim with your company for repairs and injuries. If you get into an accident, document as much info as you can while at the scene of the crash, take pictures/videos, and get other drivers’ contact and insurance info. Learn more about staged auto accident scams.
Towing and auto repair scams. Be wary of tow truck drivers that you or the police didn’t call that show up at the scene of an accident. Always do your research about a repair shop when getting your vehicle repaired after an accident. Use the Better Business Bureau (BBB)’s website for info about choosing businesses and to read their company profiles.
Health Insurance Scams
Medical identity theft. Be careful not to give out your personal medical info and health insurance policy info. When you get a medical bill, review the explanation of benefits (EOB) to ensure no unauthorized prescriptions or services are listed. You can also check your credit report to make sure no new lines of credit have been opened for the purpose of getting medical care.
Health insurance marketplace scams. Be cautious when someone claiming to be an insurance company or agent calls, emails, or sends mail to you unsolicited. Take your time choosing a health plan – don’t buy anything from anyone who tries to talk you into making a quick decision. Do your research before buying health insurance. Use TDI’s License Lookup Tool to verify an insurance company or agent. Never sign anything you haven’t read and don’t fully understand.
COVID-19 scams. Beware of calls and emails offering COVID-19 vaccines, testing, or vaccination cards in exchange for your financial info over the phone. Also look out for someone from a COVID-19 vaccine site or your insurance company wanting your medical or financial info over the phone. Real vaccine sites and your insurer won’t ask for this info over the phone.
Residential Property Insurance Scams
Offers to waive the deductible. Beware of contractors offering to waive the deductible. Your deductible is part of your insurance agreement. It is a crime for contractors to offer to waive the deductible without your insurer’s consent.
Contractor fraud after a disaster. After a disaster, contractors often go door-to-door in damaged neighborhoods offering cleanup or repair services. While many of these people are honest and reputable, some may not be. Do your research before choosing a contractor to make repairs. Never pay the full amount up front and don’t sign contracts with blank spaces. Learn more about avoiding contractor fraud after a disaster.
Offers to increase coverage during a disaster. Beware of unsolicited calls or emails to increase your homeowners or windstorm insurance coverage during the middle of a disaster. Never give financial or personal info over the phone – your insurer won’t call you to make coverage changes.