The cost of insurance is on the rise: the price for auto insurance rose 3.6% between 2011 and 2012, and 3.1% for homeowners and renter’s insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, auto liability insurance premiums alone have been increasing by 2.8% annually for the past three years. This makes choosing the right coverage and provider all the more crucial to save money without sacrificing important aspects of coverage.
Med Pay and bodily injury insurance are two other types of coverage that usually follow the person, not the car. Med Pay coverage pays for any injuries that an insured or his passengers may incur in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. Such coverage usually follows the driver. It is based on people, not the vehicle. In fact, such coverage sometimes covers the insured when he is walking or biking. This coverage also usually follows the driver when he rents a car, because the rental vehicle is a substitute for the insured’s own vehicle. However, Med Pay coverage sometimes follows the car. If the passengers in a vehicle don’t have coverage of their own, Med Pay and PIP coverage can extend to their injuries.
We started by identifying Texas’ five biggest auto insurers by market share and comparing their financial strength, coverage options, and customer service using methodology similar to that in our review of the best car insurance providers. Then we checked J.D. Power and Consumer Reports to see how each company’s customers scored them on overall satisfaction and on the claims experience. Finally, we collected quotes for six hypothetical drivers, taking note of each company’s available endorsements and discounts.
Progressive is another solid option for Texans, but it lags slightly behind our top picks in both financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings. The differences are pretty minor, but they make it hard to justify Progressive over State Farm or Allstate on the basis of anything except price, which was about average. We did like how easy it was to get a quote through the website, though, and Progressive was one of the only companies we looked at to provide a Live Chat option.
The AARP Auto Insurance Program is underwritten by Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates, One Hartford Plaza, Hartford, CT 06155. It is underwritten in CA by Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company; in WA, by Hartford Casualty Insurance Company; in MN, by Sentinel Insurance Company; and in MA, MI and PA, by Trumbull Insurance Company. The AARP Homeowners Insurance Program from The Hartford is underwritten by Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates, One Hartford Plaza, Hartford, CT 06155. In CA, it is underwritten by Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford; in WA, MI, MN, by Trumbull Insurance Company; in MA by Trumbull Insurance Company, Sentinel Insurance Company, Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company; and in PA by Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company. Not available in all states, including FL. Specific features, credits and discounts may vary and may not be available in all states in accordance with state filings and applicable law. Applicants are individually underwritten and some may not qualify. Auto and Home are currently unavailable in Canada and U.S. Territories or possessions.
While all car insurance companies offer a similar product, they differ in how they deliver it. Some car insurance companies are basically self-service, allowing you to shop for and choose a policy completely online. Others use local agents who can meet with you and talk you through the process of buying a policy and personally handle any claims you have. Some companies use a mix of the two. Make sure you find a company that has the type of service you want.
When you apply for auto insurance in Texas, providers are legally required to offer $2,500 in Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP). This type of coverage is mandated in so-called “no-fault” states, but it’s optional in Texas (although you do have to refuse it in writing). If you select it, 100% of the coverage amount will be available for your medical bills following an accident, regardless of who was at fault. While you may be covered under your own health insurance for those costs, PIP has the added benefit of covering up to 80% of your lost income if you’re unable to work following an accident. It’s a nice protection, but keep in mind that $2,500 won’t go that far in such a case. While most companies will let you raise the limit, it’s one of the costlier options to add, so if you’re on a budget, you’ll have to weigh its value against things like comprehensive and UM/UIM coverage.
When an insured borrows a vehicle from a friend, the insured’s liability coverage usually steps in only when the insured’s policy limits are exceeded. Collision and comprehensive coverage do not apply to a borrowed vehicle. Medical Payments (Med Pay) and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, as we will see below, also follow the insured into a borrowed vehicle.
Though Safeco’s app boasts a high 4.7 rating with over 5,000 ratings in the Apple App Store and an average 4.1 rating in Google Play, the reviews tell a different story. The most common complaint is that the app simply redirects you to the Safeco website, which is poorly formatted for mobile use. Many reviews also report that the app routinely crashes, which frustrated customers enough that they deleted the app and used their computers to access the Safeco website. The company has responded to say that it is actively working on improving functionality and adding offline features, but in the meantime, it’s likely that using the app is a frustrating experience.
But liability coverage levels come in threes — you’ll probably see something like 50/100/50 up to 250/500/250 in typical policies. You can think of these limits like: individual injuries / total injuries / property damage. Insurers are a little more technical, calling them bodily injury liability, total bodily injury liability and physical damage liability.
Location-specific discounts are different for every company, but most will list at least one or two universal discounts that apply regardless of location. Farmers doesn’t list any of these; this means that you may or may not qualify for discounts, depending on your location. To find out if you’re eligible for any, contact a Farmers agent in your area.
If you live in your RV full-time for more than six months of the year, Allstate will not be able to insure your RV. Because of that, Allstate is a more suitable provider for people who only use their RVs occasionally: Its policies include basic coverage, sound system coverage, personal belongings coverage, medical payment, roadside assistance, and rental reimbursement.
American Family: American Family car insurance is the lowest-ranked company on our list. While a fair number of customers said filing a claim with American Family was easy, that was about the only positive thing they had to say, with the company faring poorly on measures of customer service, communication about claim status, value, and claim resolution.
Each of following insurers who transact business in California are domiciled in California and have their principal place of business in Los Angeles, CA: Farmers Insurance Exchange (#R 201), Fire Insurance Exchange (#1267-4), Truck Insurance Exchange (#1199-9), Mid-Century Insurance Company (#1428-2), Civic Property and Casualty Company (#4241-6), Exact Property and Casualty Company (#4240-8), Neighborhood Spirit Property and Casualty Company (#4242-4).
RV insurance can be very different from car insurance depending on the type of RV or motorhome you have and how much you use it. Whether you have a camper trailer for weekend getaways and day trips; a large RV for extended vacations; or a motor home that you use as your primary residence, The Hartford has RV insurance solutions that you can customize to meet your needs.
Auto insurance is financial protection, and not just for the investment you made when you bought your car. After a really serious accident, bills for damage and injuries can easily reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you happen to cause such a wreck, the victims could sue you. In the worst case scenario, assets such as your savings and home could be seized.