Skip to Top Main Navigation Skip to Left Navigation Skip to Content Area Skip to Footer
Topics:   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z All

10 steps to find the right auto insurance

Shopping for auto insurance is like shopping for any major item. It's a good idea to shop around to find the policy that best meets your needs and budget. Certain coverage is required by state law, and other types are optional.
car insurance

1 Liability insurance is required.

State law requires people who drive in Texas to pay for accidents they cause. Liability insurance pays to repair or replace the other driver's car and pays other people's medical expenses if you’re at fault in an accident.

In Texas, you must have at least $30,000 in liability coverage for each injured person, up to a total of $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 for property damage per accident. This basic coverage is called 30/60/25.

2 Decide how much liability coverage you need.

Because of car prices and the high cost of medical care, the minimum amounts might not be enough to pay all of the costs if you're at fault in an accident. Other drivers could sue you to collect the difference. Consider buying more than the minimum limits to protect yourself.

3 Decide what kinds of other coverage you need.

Liability insurance doesn't pay to repair or replace your car or to treat your injuries. Other types of coverage to consider include:

  • Collision – pays for damage to your car.
  • Comprehensive – pays for damage from fire, hail, vandalism, or theft.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist – pays for auto damage, medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses if the driver who caused the accident didn’t have enough insurance or didn’t stop.
  • Medical payments – pays medical bills resulting from an accident.
  • Personal injury protection – pays for medical bills, plus 80 percent of lost income and the cost of a caregiver for an injured person.

4 Get price quotes from several companies.

  • Use TDI’s HelpInsure to get sample prices and compare policies. It also provides information about a company’s complaint record, financial rating, and recent rate changes to help you find a good company and a good price.
  • Once you’ve narrowed your search, contact your top choices to get price quotes. Use our worksheet to compare companies and policies.

5 Look at a company's complaint record.

A good way to check a company’s customer service is to look at its complaint record, which is measured by a complaint index. A value of 1 is average. Less than 1 means it gets fewer complaints than the average insurance company, and a number higher than 1 means the company gets more complaints than average.

6 Decide on a deductible.

A deductible is the amount you have to pay before the insurance company will pay. For example, if you have a claim for $1,200 and a deductible of $500, the insurance company will deduct $500 and pay you $700. The higher your deductibles, the lower your premium.

7 Ask about discounts.

Most companies offer discounts if you reduce the chances of a loss. Common discounts include taking defensive driving or driver’s education courses, maintaining a good driving record, having more than one car on a policy, and having other policies with the same company.

8 Verify the company's license.

Once you decide on a company, check to make sure its license is up to date. You can get this information by calling TDI's Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439 or by checking TDI’s Company Lookup feature.

9 Avoid gaps in coverage.

Never cancel a policy until you get your new policy or a written statement that proves you have coverage. Keep shopping if a company turns you down. If you have trouble finding insurance, ask an insurance agent about getting coverage through the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association.

10 Know where to get help.

We have staff ready to answer your questions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday. Call us at 1-800-252-3439. We also have publications on a range of insurance issues.

 

For more tips like these:

Like TDI on Facebook      Follow TDI on Twitter      Sign up for email updates      Subscribe to TDI's YouTube Channel



For more information, contact:

Last updated: 3/2/2018