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Helpful Tips

Helpful Tips

  • Shopping for insurance is like shopping for any major item. It's a good idea to compare companies and products to find the best price, quality, and customer service. The Texas Department of Insurance maintains and to help you learn more about insurance and to start shopping.

    • is brought to you by the Texas Department of Insurance and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel, HelpInsure helps you to compare policies from Texas insurance companies, including those in the nation’s top 25 insurance groups. After you answer a few questions, policies sold in your area, their rates, and coverage types will be available for you to compare.

      • 512-676-6000

    • is a resource to help you find and understand health insurance coverage. You can search common types of policies, see proposed company rate increases, find statewide health resources, and learn about comparing the cost and quality of health plans.

      • For answers to general insurance questions, call the Help Line at 800-252-3439.

Once you’re ready to shop for insurance, keep these tips in mind:

  • Get quotes from several companies. Rates can vary among companies, so get several. When comparing prices, make sure you understand the benefits and coverages.

  • Include independent agents in your search. Some agents represent only a single company or company group. Independent agents usually represent several companies and can give you more than one quote at a time.

  • Look at factors other than price. Buy only from licensed insurance companies and agents. Also, make sure the companies you're considering are financially stable and have good customer service.

  • Decide what coverages you want and need. For auto and homeowners insurance, review your limits annually to ensure that you have enough coverage to replace your car and house if they’re destroyed. For health insurance, make sure the plan you get offers the benefits and coverages you need. Also ask whether the plan will allow you to see your current doctors and covers your current prescriptions.

  • Take your time. Don't be pressured into buying a policy. Ethical agents won’t pressure you into buying a policy before you know what you want and need.

  • Understand how cost-sharing works. You can save money on premiums by buying a policy with higher deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. But understand that you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you have a claim. For health insurance, you’ll have to pay more each time you go to the doctor, fill a prescription, or get a covered health service.

  • Ask your agent about discounts. Most home and auto insurance companies offer discounts that will lower your premium. Ask if you’re eligible for any discounts the company offers.

  • Answer questions truthfully when you apply for insurance or ask for a rate quote. If you give wrong information, the company could give you an incorrect price quote, reject your insurance application, cancel your policy, or deny your benefits.

  • Never sign a blank policy application, and check any information the agent fills in on the form.

  • Don’t pay cash to an agent. Make payments by check or money order payable directly to the insurance company or HMO, not the agent.

  • Always obtain a receipt for your payment and keep record of it.

  • Make sure you have uninterrupted coverage. Never cancel a policy until you get your new policy or a written binder. A binder proves you have coverage until the company issues your policy.

  • Keep shopping if a company turns you down. Different companies have different criteria for accepting customers.

  • Know your rights. All auto and homeowners policies in Texas must include a Consumer Bill of Rights that explains your legal rights and responsibilities. Read it carefully.

For More Information or Help:

For answers to general insurance questions, for information about filing an insurance-related complaint, or to report suspected insurance fraud, call the Texas Department of Insurance Help Line at 800-252-3439. The help line is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central time, Monday - Friday.