CONSUMERS | Insurance and Other Protection

Protecting yourself, your family and your property


Texas law requires you to have insurance on your vehicles and mortgage companies and banks require homeowners to insure their homes and if you don't buy and maintain this insurance, you can face fines or other penalties. Aside from these requirements, it makes just good sense to insure yourself and your property so you can avoid catastrophic losses. You should consider the following types of insurance:

  • Homeowners or renters insurance
  • Flood insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Motor vehicle insurance
Buying Insurance

Gathering your information:

  1. Find out what your property is worth and how much it would cost to replace it beforehand. If you don't know its value or replacement cost, you could wind up paying for too much coverage.
    1. Talk to a trusted realtor about the value of your home
    2. Use the Internet to find the value of your vehicles
  2. If you are shopping for life insurance, gather information about your assets and income.
  3. Know your financial limitations.
Finding and choosing a company and the types of coverage

You undoubtedly have seen the many TV ads for insurance companies, so you probably already know about the major companies, but how much do those ads really tell you? Not much. The Texas Department of Insurance maintains a database containing information about all kinds of insurance companies: This website contains useful information and advice about: 

  1. types of insurance, including auto, health, homeowners, wind and storm, life, long-term care and others
  2. companies and agents
  3. price and rate comparisons for auto and home insurance
  4. filing complaints with the department about companies or agents
Prohibited discrimination

When an insurance company handles applications, it is prohibited by state law from unfairly discriminating or allowing unfair discrimination between individuals of the same class and of essentially the same hazard, including unfair discrimination in

  1. the amount of premium, policy fees, or rates charged for a policy or contract of insurance
  2. the benefits payable under a policy or contract of insurance; or
  3. any of the terms or conditions of a policy or contract of insurance

If you believe you may have been discriminated against in any of these ways and have suffered economic harm as a result, you may have a claim against the insurance company. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after the insurance company has done any of these things, because you have limited time in which to file suit.

Dealing with agents

Insurance agents represent the company, not you, so always be aware that the agent's actions are guided by the fact that his or her loyalty ultimately lies with the companies he or she represents. That's not to say that many, if not most, agents do right by their customers to the extent that they can, but remember that the agent can only do what the company will allow.

Insurance claims

All of us will at one time or another have to make a claim under an insurance policy and all too often getting the insurance company to pay our claims in full is like pulling teeth. Mike McCormick and Boyd Law Firm and its lawyers and staff are ready to aggressively handle the claims of disappointed policy holders, but here is some information that will help you make your claim.

Gathering your information

As soon as the need arises to file a claim, gather all the information you can to support your claim.

  1. Documents that prove the extent of the loss
  2. Take photographs or, better yet, have a professional photograph the damage
Reporting your claim

Policies of every type require you to notify your insurance company of any loss within some period of time, so you should find that provision and the contact information for reporting the claim in your policy when you first get it and keep that information handy, should the need arise. You will eventually need the following information to report and support a claim:

  1. Date, time and place of the event that caused the damage or loss
  2. The nature of the damage or loss
  3. The extent of the damage or loss, if you know
  4. The names and contact information of other persons involved
  5. The name and contact information of the law enforcement and emergency personnel who responded, if any
  6. The names and contact information of any medical professionals who provided treatment, if any was necessary
  7. The name of a towing company if a vehicle had to be towed
  8. A description of what happened, to the best of your knowledge and recollection
Dealing with adjusters
  1. Once the insurance company has the claim, it will assign it to an adjuster, who will then inspect the damage or investigate the loss.
  2. If you have presented the claim to your own insurance company, you have an obligation to cooperate with it and its adjusters in processing your claim, but you also have the right to the assistance of an attorney or an independent adjuster, if you believe the claim is large enough to justify their involvement.
  3. The investigator will ask you a number of questions and you must answer his or her questions truthfully but under no circumstances should you sign anything until you have obtained legal advice or the advice of an independent adjuster.
Settling your claim

Again, if the claim is a substantial one or a complex one, you should not accept a settlement until you have obtained legal advice or the advice of an independent adjuster.

When all else fails if an insurer refuses to pay a claim in full, you may have a claim against your insurer for bad faith or violations of state laws that regulate claims handling practices.