Shopping for car insurance is just like any other major item - it’s a good idea to shop around. There are a few things you should know when looking for the right policy for you, especially if you need to make a change.
What to know about making changes to your auto insurance policy
We told you about ways you can try to save money on your car insurance by allowing companies to track your driving with an app. By tracking your driving habits, you could qualify for lower rates and that might involve switching to a new company.
Question: Are there any penalties for changing auto insurance companies mid-policy?
Answer: No. The Texas Department of Insurance explains that you have the right to cancel your policy at any time. You should receive a refund of the remaining premium.
The refund will be paid to *you* unless you used a finance company to pay for your insurance. In that case, the refund will be paid to that company and the amount will be taken off what you owe on your loan. Keep in mind, if an insurance company wants to cancel your policy, they must mail notice at least 10 days prior to cancellation. Your specific policy may provide for even greater notice.
Did you know Insurance companies check your claims history?
Most insurance companies use the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) to learn your claims history. This will include the date, type, and loss of claims. A company can charge you more or refuse to sell you a policy based on the information in your CLUE report. You can get a free copy of your report each year. Call LexisNexis at 866-312-8076.
Finding discounts for auto insurance
When shopping around for insurance you should check in often for any potential discounts you might be able to get on your auto insurance. For example, if you are now working remotely you could receive a “low mileage” discount. Other common discounts include taking driver’s education or defensive driving, having good grades for students, and having a good driving record.
You should also be allowed your choice of repair shop
There are other rights you may not know about when it comes to car insurance in Texas. TDI’s website says when it comes to using your car insurance after an accident, you have the right to choose the repair shop and replacement parts for your vehicle. An insurance company may not specify the brand, type, kind, age, vendor, supplier, or condition of parts or products used to repair your automobile. Investigator Joel Eisenbaum looked into the shortage of car parts last year and this is still the case for many dealerships, so you may want to ask specific questions about car parts and how the repair shop is planning to fix your vehicle.
Need help with an insurance question?
If you have a question or complaint about your auto insurance call the Texas Department of Insurance Help Line at 800-252-3439. The helpline is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday.
The state’s Help Insure website helps you compare car insurance company rates. The Office of Public Insurance Council also has a calculator you can try.