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Auto Insurance Information
What is auto insurance?
Most consumers believe auto insurance is something you are forced to buy when you own a car. The “must have” in order to obtain a driver’s license, renew your car license plates and so on... When in reality, auto insurance is so much more when done appropriately.
There are several parts to an auto insurance policy. Let’s explore them…
· Liability– this would be the “must have” required by the state of Texas. Did you know the limits are adjustable? Let me explain… the State of Texas requires you carry the lowest limits of 30/60/25. However, at CMI of Texas, we strongly recommend starting at limits of 50/100/50. Read below to understand…
- The first number (up to $30,000) is the total your policy will pay out PER PERSON medical in the car you hit. The second number, (up to $60,000) is the TOTAL MEDICAL your policy will pay for the entire accident. The third number, (up to $25,000) is the amount your policy will pay for PROPERTY DAMAGE. This could include the car you hit/totaled, the mailbox you destroyed or the fence you went through.
· Personal Injury Protection / Medical Benefits- covers you and anyone in your car for up to the dollar amount shown on the declarations page if you are injured in an automobile accident. Your health insurance carrier in Texas CAN DENYcoverage if your damages are related to an automobile accident. This coverage is VITAL.
· Comprehensive / other than collision– We refer to this coverage as the act of God coverage. Things such as windshield breakage, fire, theft, vandalism, hail damage, flooding… hitting an animal… anything out of your control. Minus your deductible.
· Collision – The coverage for your car when you cause an impact. It pays to repair your car minus your deductible.
· Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist- This coverage comes into play 76% of the time in Texas. It pays exactly as liability above only for YOU when someone hits you that does not have insurance, or maybe they don’t have ENOUGH insurance. Let's explain.
- Let’s assume you drive a Chevy Tahoe valued at $65,000 and someone runs a red light and totals your Tahoe. Let’s also assume the responsible party only carries the minimum required liability limits of 30/60/25 as discussed above. Clearly, $25,000 is not enough to replace the Tahoe valued at $65,000. Therefore, your UNDERINSURED motorist coverage would pay the remaining $40,000 or up to the limit on your declarations page. This example is the exact reason CMI of Texas recommends starting at 50/100/50.
· Loss of use / Rental– This coverage provides you with transportation should your car be involved in a comprehensive or collision loss. This coverage is sometimes misunderstood… It does not provide a rental car for maintenance issues or simply renting a car.
Auto insurance can be purchased in 6-month intervals or an annual policy depending on the carrier.
Why do you need auto insurance?
It's really all about protecting yourself financially.
- If you're in an accident or your car is stolen, it costs money, often a lot of money, to fix or replace it.
- If you or any passengers are injured in an accident, medical costs can be extremely expensive.
- If you or your car is responsible for damage or injury to others, you may be sued for much more than you're worth.
- Not only is having insurance a prudent financial decision, many states require you to have at least some coverage.
Misconceptions surrounding auto insurance
· Full coverage covers me completely.
- FALSE – Not all policies include ALL the coverages. In addition, the limitations of the coverages can vary from carrier to carrier. Remember, auto insurance is not a “replacement” policy. They are paid as actual cash value – meaning – what your car is worth at the time of the loss.
· When I ask for full coverage, I am getting all the coverages discussed above.
- FALSE – Not all agents quote ALL the coverages . Make sure you review exactly what coverages are being offered.
- Some agent’s definition of full coverage is liability, comprehensive and collision.
· When I ask for liability only, my quote includes underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage.
- FALSE – Most agents will only quote liability when you ask for liability only. Another way of saying this would be “only what the state requires me to have”.
- **** underinsured/uninsured motorist is NOT required by the state; however, you MUST sign to reject this coverage.
· I don’t need PIP or Medical coverage – I have coverage at work.
- FALSE – again, your health plan can deny the coverage due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident. You may be able to go to the doctor and use your benefits. However, you will soon receive a letter in the mail asking you to verify if your injuries were sustained in relation to an accident.
As you can see, auto insurance can protect you from the unexpected. It was designed with you, the consumer in mind.
Questions to ask your agent
Your Independent Agent is an advocate for finding auto insurance that meets your specific needs. Here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the discussion:
- How much can you afford to pay if you get in an accident? (To keep premiums low you may want to have a higher deductible and be willing to pay more for repairs.)
- What is the insurance company's level of service and ability to pay claims?
- What discounts are available? (Ask about good driver, multiple policy and student discounts.)
- What's the procedure for filing and settling a claim? (Ask who to call and what happens after you file a claim.)
Thank you for your interest in CMI of Texas. We work with multiple A+ rated carriers to bring build a custom policy to fit your needs and budget. Please call our office at 936-703-5096 or email your questions and an insurance agent will reply promptly.
Insuring: Conroe, Willis, Spring, Montgomery, Houston and Throughout Texas