The Texas Department of Insurance recently published the following facts about auto insurance. Since each company is a little different, I thought it would be a good idea to expand on the video from an insurance agent perspective.
Mexico doesn’t accept U.S. auto insurance
Yes, believe it or not, our neighbors to the South have very different rules when it comes to insurance. As a result, your auto insurance will have very limited coverage (if any) when you cross into Mexico. As a result, I normally suggest finding a company located near the boarder if you’re looking to drive into Mexico. Even if your Texas auto insurance policy says it will cover within so many miles of the U.S. – Mexico Boarder, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make a mistake here, not only could you wind up paying for a claim out of your pocket, but you could also wind up in a Mexican jail.
Going green could save green.
Many insurance companies now offer a number of “Green” incentives. If you go paperless, companies like Progressive will offer a discount for using their online services. Also, if you rideshare, walk, or bike to work, the reduced commute could also result in lower rates. Always discuss daily commutes and annual mileage when looking at your rates.
While driving less is a traditional means for saving money on car insurance, insurance companies are now getting a little more innovative. Thanks to technology, car insurance companies have begun using devices to collect data on driver habits. As a result, companies like Progressive and Safeco have introduced programs that provide immediate discounts in exchange for a little work on your part. The next time you’re shopping for car insurance, you may want to ask whether your company offers additional discounts through electronic means as well.
Don’t feel rushed to sign a release after an accident
Under Texas Law, an insurance company that accepts liability (or fault) must promptly pay your claim. The insurance policy prohibits them from doing otherwise. As a claimant, you are not required to sign a liability waiver in order to receive damages. If you feel that you are being pressured to sign a release in order to get paid by an insurance company, you should advise claims adjuster that it is unlawful to pressure a claimant into signing a release after a claim.
You Pick the repair shop
After a car accident, it is in the best interest of all parties involved to quickly settle your claim. Keep in mind that you still have consumer rights; even if the other person’s insurance company is paying damages. While many car insurance providers have a network of claims and repair facilities, where you get repairs is up to you. Keep in mind that an insurance company can only suggest or provide you a list of authorized facilities. Regardless of who you choose, the repairs should be done in a manner that correctly repairs all damage caused in your accident or occurrence.
You can challenge the settlement offer.
Let’s give the insurance company the benefit of the doubt here. The person adjusting your claim and offering a settlement is a human. If they make a mistake or offer you too little for your settlement, you have the right to challenge the company’s offer.
While challenging the initial claims settlement offer if within your rights, that right comes at a cost. In order to challenge an offer, you will have to hire your own appraiser. Also, you’ll have to pay half the costs associated with the independent reviewer. Before going through this step, contact the Texas Department of Insurance Consumer Help Line at 800-252-3439.