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Shopping smart: Tips for buying auto and home insurance – Texas Department of Insurance

  • Attorney Daniel Albert

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Insurance coverages and rates vary from company to company. When buying insurance, it pays to shop around.
Texas has a Consumer Bill of Rights for auto and home insurance. Your insurance company will give you a copy when you get or renew a policy.
Learn more: How to shop smart for insurance | Your annual insurance review
There are eight basic auto insurance coverages. You must have liability coverage in Texas. If you still owe money on your car, your lender will require you to have collision and comprehensive coverage. You can choose whether to buy the other coverages.
Insurance companies use a process called underwriting to decide whether to sell you a policy and how much to charge you. The amount you pay for insurance is called a premium.
Most companies consider these things when deciding your auto insurance premium:
Learn more: 10 steps to find the right auto insurance
Most homeowners policies in Texas include these six coverages:
Learn more: 10 steps to find the right home insurance
Homeowners policies provide either replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage. To be fully protected, make sure your policy has replacement cost coverage.
Learn more: Home policies: Replacement cost or actual cash value?
Depending on where you live and the type of property you own, you might need to buy other coverage:
Learn more: Do you have enough home insurance? | Do you need flood insurance?
Most companies consider these things when deciding on your homeowners premium:
Learn more: How your credit score can affect your insurance rates
If you own a condo unit, you can buy insurance to protect your property. Condo insurance usually covers the contents of the unit that you own, like appliances, furniture, fixtures, and your personal belongings. It may also cover common property that you are responsible for under the rules of your condo association.
Most condo policies in Texas include these six coverages:
If you live in a rented house or apartment, you can buy renters insurance to protect your property. Renters insurance pays to repair or replace your clothes, furniture, and other things you own if they’re stolen or damaged.
The property owner’s insurance will pay to repair the house or apartment building if it’s damaged. But it won’t pay to replace your property.
Most renters insurance policies include these four coverages:
Renters insurance might duplicate other coverage. For instance, if you’re still a dependent, your parents’ homeowners policy might cover your personal property.
Learn more: Do you need renters insurance?
If you can’t find a company willing to sell you a policy, you might be able to get coverage through the Texas FAIR Plan Association or the Texas Automobile Insurance Plan Association (TAIPA). FAIR Plan and TAIPA coverage is more expensive that coverage from a standard insurance company.
The Texas FAIR Plan Association sells homeowners and condo insurance. You can get FAIR Plan coverage if you can’t find a Texas-licensed company to insure you and at least two companies have turned you down.
To get Texas FAIR Plan Association coverage, talk to your agent.
You can get TAIPA coverage if two insurance companies have turned you down.
TAIPA sells liability, personal injury protection, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages. It doesn’t sell collision or comprehensive coverage or higher liability limits than state law requires.
To get TAIPA coverage, talk to your agent.
An insurance company may not:
Learn more: 5 ways we can help you
Question? Call us at 800-252-3439.

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