What Texas Moms Need to Know about Auto Insurance

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Recently my husband and I have taken an audit of sorts of some of our recurring payments, looking for ways we can decrease our payments for various bills like phone, internet, and insurance. We managed to save $10/month on our rental unit cost after we submitted proof of our renter’s insurance, which was great. My husband then decided to call around, asking about rates at various car insurance companies.

The consensus was that we could get more affordable insurance, likely if we were willing to drop our coverage some.

Honestly, I don’t know enough often about car insurance coverage options, as my husband always spearheads this expense. But, he and I both know how important good auto insurance coverage can be when you find yourself in a major car accident like my husband was back in Fall 2011.

We currently live in Texas now and every state has slightly different requirements for their auto insurance coverage (if they require it at all!). I thought it would be helpful to put together information for moms (and anyone looking into car insurance really) so that you know what you are actually paying for and if you should opt for more, or less, coverage, and what discounts you may be able to qualify for in order to save money.

Understanding Auto Insurance Terms

If you’re like me, you’re probably the household money manager and know that prices keep rising for just about everything, so I’d love to help you reduce your auto insurance premiums!

How long has it been since you looked at your policy? Maybe you need less coverage than you did when you originally purchased it. If one of your kids is quickly approaching driving age or has gone off to college, such family changes also change your insurance needs and premium payments.

Here are the things you need to know about auto insurance.Saving Money Tip - How to save money on auto insurance in Texas! Know the car insurance terms, policies, coverage and more so you know what you are paying for and what you really need!

Texas Minimum Coverage for Car Insurance

Under the Texas 30/60/25 rule, you’re required to carry accident liability insurance of $30,000 per injured person, $60,000 per accident, and $25,000 property damage. If you don’t have this minimum coverage and get ticketed for speeding or any other traffic violation, you also will be charged with failing to comply with the Texas financial responsibility law and face a hefty fine plus loss of your driver’s license.

Not fun! I don’t recommend going without car insurance in order to save money. Not worth it!

Is Minimum Coverage Car Insurance Sufficient?

According to the National Safety Council, 40,200 people died in vehicle accidents nationwide in 2016, up 6 percent from 2015. Texas hasn’t had a day without a traffic fatality in more than 15 years! Texas also has over 675,000 miles of road, more than any other state, and the speed limit on most roads is 75 miles per hour and 85 miles per hour in some rural areas.

The problem with minimum coverage is that if you are at fault in an accident and the other driver files a lawsuit against you and is awarded more damages than what your policy will pay, you could be personally liable for the difference.

Types of Auto Insurance Coverage

If you cause an accident, liability insurance pays the expenses of the people in the other vehicle, such as medical and funeral costs, lost wages, and vehicle repair or replacement. It also pays your defense costs if the other driver brings suit against you.

Collision insurance covers the repair or replacement of your car if it’s involved in an accident.

Comprehensive insurance covers repair or replacement if your car is stolen or damaged by fire, vandalism, hail, or other non-collision events.

If you’re making car payments, your lender requires you to have both collision and comprehensive coverage.

Medical payments coverage pays your medical and funeral bills, plus those of your passengers and any bicyclists and pedestrians, no matter who caused the accident.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays 80 percent of the lost wages and caregiver costs of an injured person. Your insurance company automatically gives you $2,500 of PIP coverage, but you can buy more or opt out entirely by written agreement.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage pays your expenses in the event you’re involved in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver. There are two kinds: bodily injury pays for your medical bills, lost wages, disfigurement, and permanent or partial disability; property damage pays for the repair or replacement of your property, less a mandatory $250 deductible.

Your insurance company must offer UM/UIM coverage, but you may reject it by written agreement.

Insurance Discounts

Once you and the other drivers on your policy decide what type of coverage makes the most sense for you, it pays to shop for auto insurance!

Contact a local insurance agent to see what kinds of discounts are available.

Many companies offer discounts for:

  • multiple cars
  • auto and homeowners bundles
  • higher deductible
  • safe driving record
  • students who maintain a certain GPA or take an approved driver education course
  • annual or semiannual premium payments
  • online premium payments
  • low annual mileage
  • auto club membership(s)
  • professional group membership(s)
  • low-risk occupation

Now that you know what to look for, you’re well armed to shop around for the auto insurance that best fits your family’s needs, or so I hope!

I know that auto insurance can be confusing, but I honestly hope you don’t have to use it much in the end. Stay safe!

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