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May 9, 2024

Hurricane season starts in May? Prepare now.


Hurricane season starts June 1, right?

Maybe officially, but not anymore, according to Dan Reilly, a Texas-based National Weather Service meteorologist. “In most of the recent years, we’ve had many storms, before June” Reilly said. “So, in reality, I would say hurricane season probably starts in May.”

Protect your family and property by preparing now.

A few tips:

  • Make or update your home inventory. Take pictures or videos of each room in your home. For major items, write down the serial number, what you paid, and date you bought it. Don’t forget to get a video of items inside closets and drawers. Having a home inventory is one of the best things you can do to make sure you get the value of your claim.
  • Have an emergency kit packed and ready to go. Set aside 3 gallons of water per person, enough to last three days. Also pack non-perishable food, a can opener and utensils, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and extra batteries. See a full kit list at Put some water and food supplies in your car too, just in case.
  • Check your roof. Damaged shingles or leaks around chimneys or skylights will get worse in a storm. Have a professional secure loose shingles and check the metal flashing around openings or on roof valleys for leaks.
  • Get your yard ready. Remove dead tree limbs and branches that hang over your house. Check for loose items that can become windborne such as yard furniture or trampolines. Tie them down.

For more tips, watch the Texas Insurance podcast.

Learn more

April 11, 2024

Unexpected indoor waterfall? Home or renters insurance might help.


A pipe bursts—or a toilet overflows or a washer hose breaks.

Good news: Your home or renters insurance policy covers sudden and accidental water damage. Your personal belongings are covered too.

Also, if mold develops on a damaged item, it would be covered.

Still, policies usually won’t cover damage from gradual leaks or seepage—and that includes damage from mold.

Mold from a flood wouldn’t be covered because home policies don’t cover floods. You would need a separate flood policy.

If you have a sudden leak, shut your water off at the main. Move expensive items off the floor. Your insurer may deny your claim if you don’t protect your property.

One more tip: You can always check what’s covered by reading your policy or calling your agent.

Listen to this Texas Insurance Podcast to hear expert advice on insurance and water damage.

Learn more

March 14, 2024

Any place can flood. Do you have flood insurance?


It can rain and flood anywhere. And most home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. You might want to buy flood insurance.

One inch of water in a home or apartment can cause up to $26,000 in damage.

To shop for coverage, talk to your insurance provider. If they don’t offer a flood policy, go online to to find providers.

A flood policy takes effect 30 days after purchase. It’s wise to shop before hurricane season, which begins June 1.

Get expert advice on flood insurance in this Texas Insurance Podcast.

Learn more

February 8, 2024

How to file your insurance claim


Need to make an auto or home insurance claim?

Tips to help you succeed:

  • After a car accident or incident at your home, talk to your insurance company. You’ll want to discuss your options. Maybe you don’t want to file a claim. Consider your deductible—how much you pay before your insurance pays.
  • If you make a claim, write down details including when you called the company, who you talked to, and your adjuster’s name. Also, make a list of documents or information the company wants from you.
  • After a car accident, move your car to a safe location. Take photos of the accident scene, including your car, other involved cars, and anything that’s been hit such as trees, buildings, or street signs. Also photograph the other driver’s insurance information, driver’s license, and license plate.
  • If your house is damaged, write down the time and date you first saw the damage. Also note what the weather was like at the time. Take photos of any damage. Protect your home from further damage by covering broken windows or putting a tarp over a roof hole. Don’t make permanent repairs until your company gives the OK.
  • On any claim, save all receipts.

Want more tips about making a claim? Listen to this  Texas Insurance Podcast.

Learn more

November 2, 2023

Shopping tips for health insurance


Are you ready to pick a new health insurance plan? Here are shopping tips to help you make the right decision:

  • When you find a plan you like, make sure it offers the care and treatment benefits you need.
  • Review all costs including your monthly premium, deductible, and copayments.
  • Check if your current doctors are in-network with the plan.
  • Make sure the plan covers your prescription medicines.
  • If a plan looks too good to be true, it probably is. Keep shopping. Shopping on a trusted website like will help you see all your options and avoid scams.
  • Be wary of anyone pressuring you to commit to a plan right away. Remember, there are no one-day sales in health insurance. Take your time. Buy when you're ready. The open enrollment period for 2024 starts Nov. 1 and ends Jan. 15.

Hear more on shopping smart for health coverage in the latest This Is TDI podcast.

Learn more

September 7, 2023

How to shop for home insurance


Are you wanting to lower your home insurance costs?

Consider shopping for a new policy. Plan ahead by starting a month or more before your current policy expires.

Shopping tips:

  • Ask your agent if a premium increase or other changes in your policy are in the works. This helps you make comparisons.
  • Visit to get estimated premium quotes from different companies.
  • Consider a higher deductible, which could reduce your premium.

You can hear more on shopping for home insurance in the Texas Insurance Podcast.

Learn more

August 3, 2023

Coastal Texans can turn to TWIA for hail, windstorm coverage


In August 1970, Hurricane Celia slammed ashore at Corpus Christi, killing and injuring residents and leaving previously unheard-of hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.

In response to insurance companies increasing rates or no longer selling wind and hail coverage along the Gulf Coast, state lawmakers in 1971 launched the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).

TWIA continues to serve as the wind and hail insurer of last resort for property owners in Texas’ 14 coastal counties and parts of Harris County. TWIA currently backs more than 237,000 policies.

If you live in a coastal community, read your homeowners policy to see if it covers hail and wind damage. If not, contact your insurance agent to see what options you have for coverage.

Eric Casas, TWIA ombudsman at the Texas Department of Insurance, cautions against assuming you can go without wind or hail coverage just because your home hasn’t been hit by a terrible storm. And if you have a mortgage, your lender will likely require you to have windstorm coverage.

Hear more tips about protecting your home from hail and wind damage in this episode of the Texas Insurance Podcast.

Learn more

July 6, 2023

Have an insurance complaint? Tips to understand the complaint process


Have a problem with your insurance company, agent, or adjuster?

You might want to file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI).

Before you consider a complaint, talk to your insurance agent or company about the problem you’re having. Sometimes conversations clear the air, delivering satisfaction.

You can file a complaint with TDI about insurance companies, agents, and adjusters. We can help you get started.

After you file a complaint, our experts will reach out to the insurance company to get more information. Last year, we returned $56 million to consumers in refunds and claim payments.

Before you file a complaint, understand that there are some things we can’t do:

  • We can’t make a company pay a claim unless the failure to pay violates a law or the terms of your policy.
  • We can’t help with complaints against another person’s insurance company. For instance, we probably won’t be able to help you if you’re in an accident and the other driver’s insurance company won’t accept liability.
  • We can’t decide who was at fault in an accident.

Questions? Call our Help Line at 800-252-3439 to understand your rights. For more on filing a complaint, watch this Texas Insurance podcast.

View podcast Q&A: How to get help with an insurance complaint

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June 1, 2023

How to safely set up and run your portable generator


If you own a portable generator, remember to place it outdoors at least 20 feet from your home’s doors, windows, or vents.

Keeping a distance helps protect you from carbon monoxide gas, which is colorless, odorless, and potentially deadly.

More generator safety tips:

  • Don’t put fuel in a hot generator. Turn it off and let it cool before refueling. Only put fuel in containers made for fuel. Never store fuel inside your home.
  • Take care of cords. Plug appliances into your generator directly or use a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord. Check the cord for cuts, tears, or missing prongs.
  • If you want to connect your generator to your house’s wiring, have a qualified electrician do it. Make sure the electrician uses a properly rated switch that meets electrical codes.

Watch our video for help using portable generators from Kelley Stalder, chief engineer of the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office.

View podcast Q&A: How to safely use a portable generator

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May 2, 2023

Plan to be safe before a hurricane hits Texas


The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) regularly leads the state’s response to natural disasters including summer storms and hurricanes.

It also wants Texans to plan ahead to stay safe.

For instance, it’s a good idea to keep emergency “go-kits”— basic disaster supplies including food, water, medicine, clothes, and other vital items — in your home, office, and car.

Also wise: Settle with family members ahead of time where you’re going to go if a bad storm hits. And if you think you might need flood insurance, shop before you hear a scary weather forecast. It takes 30 days for a flood policy to take effect.

View podcast Q&A: How to prepare for hurricane season

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April 6, 2023

Prepare your home and family for spring Texas storms


A spring hurricane is unlikely. The latest one, Hurricane Alma, fizzled out near Cuba in May 1970.

Still, spring rains, hail, wind and even tornadoes can threaten homes, cars, and lives.

Some storm preparation tips:

  • Paul Yura of the National Weather Service suggests you keep three days of food, water and other supplies, including pet food, on hand.
  • Also, Yura says, decide well ahead of time where your family will go if dangerous weather approaches.
  • Count on weather alerts on your cell phone. But, Yura says, also keep a weather radio handy, with fresh batteries. Sometimes the phone runs out of juice.

View podcast Q&A: How to prepare for spring storms

Learn more

March 3, 2023

Insurance fraud could happen to you


Do you think insurance fraud rarely happens or mostly on TV dramas?

Think again.

Last year, the Fraud Unit at the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) got more than 16,000 reports of possible fraud. The unit, which has officers around the state, worked on nearly 400 criminal investigations. It currently has more than 170 ongoing investigations in 40 Texas counties.

Tips to protect yourself from fraud:

  • When shopping for insurance, check that the agent you’re working with has a state license. You can call the TDI Help Line at 800-252-3439 or look up the agent on TDI’s website,
  • Be wary of buying a policy from anyone who only accepts cash or who wants to meet you only at your home or in a parking lot.
  • If someone tells you that you must act today or you'll lose the offer, that's usually a bad sign. Legitimate insurance plans won’t have purchase deadlines. Don't be rushed when shopping for insurance.
  • After you buy a policy, call the insurance company to confirm that the policy is in your name.
  • If you’re asked to cash in an annuity or some other life insurance policy to buy a different annuity or policy, don't take the bait. Annuities and life insurance products are generally worth more the longer you hold onto them.

Listen to more on stopping insurance fraud in Texas in The Texas Insurance Podcast, featuring Chris Davis of TDI’s Fraud Unit.

View podcast Q&A: What’s insurance fraud?

Learn more

January 30, 2023

Even experienced drivers need reminders about driving in winter weather


Bad weather and sloppy roads cause nearly a half a million auto accidents and more than 2,000 deaths each winter according to AAA.

Don’t feel helpless on your drive and prepare for bad road conditions. Here are some winter weather driving safety tips:

  • Keep cold weather items like ice scrapers, blankets, gloves, and layered clothing in your vehicle.
  • Maintain an emergency kit for your vehicle with a cell phone charger, flashlight, battery-operated radio, and jumper cables.
  • Inflate your tires correctly and make sure there is tread.
  • Check to see if your battery is in good shape.
  • Never warm up your vehicle in an enclosed area like a garage or place with poor ventilation. This will put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and death.
  • Avoid using cruise control in slippery road conditions.

In TDI’s Texas Insurance podcast, we talk to Sonja Gross from the Texas Department of Transportation about what Texans should know before driving in winter weather.

Before starting a trip, visit to see if roads are closed due to weather conditions.

Listen to our podcast for winter safety driving tips.

December 1, 2022

It’s health insurance shopping season—but watch for red flags


Podcast episode promo image

Across America, it’s sign-up season for health insurance—a chance to shop for coverage that fits your health and budget needs.

You have until Jan. 15 to browse insurance options on Read more in our Tips to buying a health plan—and getting what you want.

Warning: You should also watch for signs that something might not be right.

Some red flags:

  • You get a call from someone you didn’t contact first. You should be in control of when you shop, what you’re shopping for, and who you ask for help.
  • If an agent can’t answer basic questions—such as a plan’s copays, deductible or premium amounts, or give you specific plan information in writing—that’s a red flag; and it might be a scam.
  • If you feel pressured to commit to a plan right away, just say no. No legitimate plan changes its price or other terms during enrollment season.
  • If you see coverage that costs far less than other plans, hold off. There may be catches that cost you, like fewer benefits. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.

Listen to more on red flags and questions to ask while shopping in our Texas Insurance Podcast.

View podcast Q&A: Can you shop around for health insurance?

Learn more

Use these tips to shop smart for health coverage.

November 17, 2022

Open enrollment for Medicare runs through December 7


It’s that season, time to shop for what you want in Medicare.

Medicare, federally-funded health insurance, is open to Americans 65 or older, younger people with disabilities, and people with end stage renal disease.

You have until Dec. 7 to change your Medicare health or drug coverage for 2023. The open enrollment period lets you join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare drug plan.

A Medicare Advantage plan provides Medicare through a private company.

Sometimes a plan offers additional benefits. For instance, you may not need a separate drug plan if your Medicare Advantage plan has drug coverage.

Any changes you make take effect January 1.

In our Texas Insurance Podcast, we spoke with the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area about tips to find a plan that works best for you.

View podcast Q&A: What’s Medicare open enrollment?

Learn more

How to pick the right Medicare plan

October 20, 2022

Your mental health: What to know about getting help.


If you have a fever or body aches, you’d go to the doctor. If you think you’ve broken a bone or have heart flutters, you might go to the ER.

Are you taking the same care of your mental health? Or are you worried about the cost or don’t know where you’d go for help?

Texas and the federal government have laws to protect consumers and guarantee that health plans give you the same level of mental health benefits as your medical benefits, such as the number of office visits. This is known as “mental health parity.”

The laws require mental health parity for:

  • Payment limits. Some plans have limits on how much it will pay over your lifetime or over a year. If your plan has a limit for medical benefits, the limit should be the same for mental health benefits.
  • Out of pocket expenses. Your plan should have the same copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance for mental health and medical benefits.
  • Provider availability. Your plan should have a network of mental health providers and facilities, like it does for medical health.
  • Treatment limits. Your plan shouldn’t limit the number of visits for mental health treatment if it doesn’t for medical health.

All of that may seem complicated.

But basically, your health coverage should have a mind-body connection. And that connection should be all the time, not just when there’s an emergency.

Don’t delay or deny yourself care because you don’t think your plan covers it. Contact your health plan first for information and a list of providers in their network.

The Texas Department of Insurance is here to help. If you have insurance questions or want to file a complaint, call our Help Line at 800-252-3439.

View podcast Q&A: Your mental health: What to know about getting help.

Learn more

September 1, 2022

Hold on! My totaled car is worth more than insurance wants to pay


You’re already bummed by your car wreck. Now your auto insurance company wants to total your car. This means the insurance company will pay the market value of your car—instead of covering the cost of repairs.

If your company isn’t offering the amount you think your car is worth, you have some options:

  • Find out what a car like yours – the same make and year – would sell for in your area. Get written quotes from used car dealers. Also, look online for cars being sold near you.
  • Write down any special features or custom parts that make your car worth more. (You probably can’t count that thingee hanging from your rear-view mirror.)
  • Call your insurance company or adjuster and ask if they’ll pay more than what they have offered. Give them the quotes you collected and point out the car’s special features.
  • If your company won’t pay more, ask about using an appraisal process. You and the company each hires an appraiser to determine the value of your car. The appraisers choose a third appraiser to act as an umpire. The umpire rules on any disagreements. You pay for your appraiser and half of the umpire's costs.
  • If you owe more than your car is worth, check your purchase documents to see if you bought gap insurance when you bought your car. You might also have loan/lease coverage in your auto policy.

If you’d rather keep your car as is, let your company know quickly. It will subtract the car’s salvage value from the original amount it was planning to pay you. You can spend your revised payment on the car or not.

Hear more expert advice about totaled cars in the latest Texas Insurance Podcast.

View podcast Q&A: How to deal with a totaled car

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August 4, 2022

Safety and savings tips when you go back to college


Many college students live off campus.

Freedom, right?

But you need to watch out for yourself.

Some money-saving and safety tips:

  • Call your health plan to find nearby urgent care centers that are in your plan’s network. This could save you money when you need care.
  • Look for the fire alarms and exits in your apartment complex. Some alarms sound a bell. Others have a voice feature telling you where to go if there’s a fire.
  • Consider renters insurance. At less than $200 a year, a renters policy can pay to replace your things after a fire or other disaster. It might also pay for you to live somewhere else while repairs are being made.
  • Let your auto insurance agent know that you’re back at school. This might save you money.

Hear more expert advice about going back to school in the latest Texas Insurance Podcast.

View podcast Q&A: How college students can stay healthy, safe, and protect their stuff

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July 7, 2022

Detect odorless carbon monoxide, the “silent killer”


You can’t see it. You can’t smell or taste it.

But carbon monoxide gas, which can leak from faulty appliances, car engines, or generators, could make you sick and even kill you.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide accounts for more than 100,000 U.S. emergency room visits a year. Annually, more than 400 Americans die from breathing in too much.

Protect your family and home by installing carbon monoxide detectors. They’re vital if you have gas-powered appliances or an attached garage.

Learn more, such as where to install detectors, from our podcast. We talked to relatives of a family who died by carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping.

View podcast Q&A: How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

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June 2, 2022

Hear a beep? Get on your feet!


Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home deliver potentially life-saving messages.

Your alarm’s sounds can signal different dangers:

  • A set of three loud continuous beeps means smoke or fire.
  • A set of four loud continuous beeps means carbon monoxide is present.
  • A single chirp – repeating every 30 to 60 seconds – means your alarm battery is low and needs to be changed. If your alarm continues to chirp after replacing the battery, that means the alarm unit needs to be replaced.

Learn more about how smoke and carbon monoxide alarms keep you safe in the latest This Is TDI podcast featuring Kelly Ransdell of the National Fire Protection Association.

“We want people to learn the sounds of fire safety,” Ransdell says.

View podcast Q&A: How to know what your smoke alarm is telling you

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May 5, 2022

Will your car’s rubber tires keep you safe from a lightning strike?

True or false: Your car’s rubber tires will protect you if lightning strikes your car.


John Jensenius of the National Lightning Safety Council says it’s the type of car – not the tires – that protect you from lightning. You’re the safest in a hard-topped vehicle. When lightning hits, he says, the shock gets dispersed by your car’s metal shell and keeps the people inside safe.

Tire twist: If your car or truck has steel-belted tires, a lightning strike can blow them out.

Learn more from Jensenius about staying safe from lightning on the latest episode of the Texas Insurance Podcast.

View podcast Q&A: How to stay safe from lightning

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April 7, 2022

Happy birthday to ‘The Texas Insurance Podcast’

Candles, cake, and consumer tips?

Yep, we’re celebrating a year of providing helpful insurance tips through TDI’s “The Texas Insurance Podcast.”

Every month, Ben Gonzalez of the Texas Department of Insurance talks to insurance experts about issues affecting your home, health, or auto coverage, including how to save money.

New to podcasts? No problem.

We make it simple: You can listen to any of our episodes on The Texas Insurance Podcast webpage.

Are you a podcast fan?

Be sure to get new episodes delivered to you. And let us hear from you. Your reviews and feedback help us improve content.

You can subscribe for free through your favorite podcast service. Find a list down the right side of this page.

Here are some of our favorite episode tips

  • In the market for a used car? The National Insurance Crime Bureau talks about checking a vehicle’s VIN number to confirm its ownership history. And the Better Business Bureau shares how to avoid scams.

    Listen now: How to check a used car’s history and avoid scams

  • Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) shares storm and hurricane planning advice. TDEM encourages families to have a “go kit” ready in case they need to leave home fast. Your “go kit” should have flashlights, batteries, phone chargers, water, pet food, your regular medicine, and copies of your home insurance and flood policies.

    Listen now: How to prepare for hurricane season

  • The Houston Police Department talks about how to prevent car break-ins. The best step? Don’t leave valuables in your car. Also noted: Today’s thieves often rifle through vehicles looking for loose handguns.

    Listen now: Car burglaries and break-ins are increasing. Here’s how to protect your car

Listen to all 13 episodes at The Texas Insurance Podcast.

April 7, 2022

Shop to save money on your car insurance


You probably shop for the best prices and quality when you’re looking for new clothes, tech products, and food.

But do you do that for car insurance?

Give it a try.

Quick tips to save on coverage:

  • Shop around. Companies charge different rates. You often get a better deal if you’re willing to switch companies.
  • Ask about available discounts—for a good driving record, for having an alarm in your car, or for taking defensive driving or driver education classes. You could also get a discount for having your auto policy with the same company as your home insurance.
  • Your premium is what you pay up front for coverage. But don’t forget to check on your deductible—what you must pay after an accident before the insurance company pays. A lower deductible usually means you’ll have to pay more up front for the policy. Think about how much you can afford to pony up if your car is damaged.

Hear more tips and learn what drives the cost of car insurance in the latest episode of “The Texas Insurance Podcast.”

View podcast Q&A: How to lower car insurance costs

Learn more

March 3, 2022

Ask these questions before you buy and insure your home

Owning and insuring a home is a big deal. You’ll want to ask questions before you buy.

Here are a few questions that could affect how much you pay for home insurance:

  • How far away are emergency services like the fire department? Is it a paid fire station or a volunteer fire department?
  • Is the home in an area that has flooded in the past? Flood damage is not covered by most home insurance. You’ll need a separate flood policy to cover rising water.
  • Have there been past insurance claims on this home? Ask the owner for a CLUE report; it shows claims filed for a property over recent years.
  • Check if the home has features that could reduce the risk of future claims. Is the roof new? Does the home have an alarm system or fire sprinklers? Such safety features could qualify you for an insurance discount.

Hear more on insuring your home in the latest episode of “The Texas Insurance Podcast,” featuring Cindi Bulla, a past chair of Texas Association of Realtors.

View podcast Q&A: New home? How to shop for insurance.

Learn more

February 2, 2022

Another Texas freeze in forecast? Podcast has steps to protect your home.


Just saying “freeze” can make a Texan flinch. We remember last winter.

But you can take steps to protect your home before temperatures drop.

For starters, wrap indoor pipes with insulation. Wrap your attic pipes first.

And when a freeze happens, you can run water through your indoor faucets – hot and cold – before you go to sleep. Or you can let faucets drip from the cold and hot taps. Be sure to follow your local government’s instructions, which may limit water use.

Hear more about prepping your home from the latest episode of “The Texas Insurance Podcast,” featuring David Yelovich, a Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners board member. The podcast closes with TDI advice on insurance and water-related damage.

January 6, 2022

New year, new you—and your health plan could help

Are you resolving to shape up in 2022?

Your health insurance plan could help.

Check your plan’s website or call your agent to see if your plan offers:

  • Free or discounted weight loss or wellness programs.
  • Free or discounted programs to help quit cigarettes and other tobacco products.
  • Discounts on gym memberships or fitness equipment.
  • A free app to help you count steps and track your fitness.

In TDI’s latest Texas Insurance podcast, Department of State Health Service’s Statewide Wellness Coordinator Lesley Jimenez offers fitness advice. Also, TDI’s Cindy Wright talks about insurance coverage of mental health benefits.

Listen to our podcast, Ways to help make healthy New Year’s resolutions stick.

November 4, 2021

Many Americans planning trips; some considering travel insurance

The majority of Americans plan to travel soon—and about one in three travelers say they’re likely to purchase travel insurance, according to a survey by AAA.

The AAA survey found:

  • 55% of American adults are planning a vacation of at least one overnight stay before the end of 2022.
  • 31% of people planning to travel between now and the end of 2022 are more likely to purchase travel insurance due to the pandemic.
  • 69% of travelers said the ability to cancel a trip and get a refund is the most important benefit when considering travel insurance.

In TDI’s latest Texas Insurance podcast, Megan Cruz of the US Travel Insurance Association encourages shoppers to check exclusions in any travel policy before buying.

Cruz also suggests that before you use your policy to cancel a trip, you should contact your hotel and airline. Both could waive reservation cancellation penalties and give credits to reschedule travel. After that, Cruz says, check if the provider of your travel insurance will let you change your coverage dates to a later time.

Listen to our podcast, What does travel insurance cover?

September 30, 2021

TDI answers your auto insurance questions

Not sure what kind of auto insurance you need? Wondering why your rates went up? In our latest podcast, TDI experts answer your top auto insurance questions.

Here are a few of the questions we hear the most.

  • What should auto insurance cost, and what’s the best kind to get?
  • Why do my neighbors pay less for auto insurance than I do?
  • Should I buy the insurance car rental companies try to sell me?
  • Should I get “gap coverage” when I buy a new car?
  • Why do insurance rates in Texas seem higher than in other places?
  • What can I do to keep costs down?

Listen to the podcast to get the answers and some money-saving tips.

August 5, 2021

Buying a used car? Here’s how to avoid scams

Buying a vehicle? Curious about the one you’ve got? Did you know you can check a car or truck’s vehicle identification number (VIN) number to learn more about it? The information you get with a VIN can help keep you safe and save you money.

For our latest podcast, we talked to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) about how a VIN can help you. And the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Greater Houston shared how to avoid scams when you buy a vehicle online.

Some tips: You can use NICB’s VINCheck to find out if a vehicle was stolen or damaged. A VIN can also tell you if it was flooded during a hurricane. That’s important because, if it was, sensors for airbags and bumpers could fail in an accident.

It’s also a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau in your area when you buy a used vehicle, especially if you buy online. The BBB can tell you if a seller or website has a lot of complaints or bad reviews. And they can tell you about the latest scams—like a price that’s too good to be true, or a third-party escrow site that seems fake.

If you’re in the market for a car or truck, listen to our podcast for more information.

July 1, 2021

Podcast: How to find a new health plan now

Shopping for health insurance podcast

Choosing the best health insurance is kind of like picking the perfect mix of streaming services. The choices are overwhelming and costs add up quickly. We can’t help with streaming, but we have tips on how to find the right insurance coverage and avoid scams.

From now until August 15, anyone can sign up for a health plan through You may even qualify for subsidies to help pay for your coverage.

You also can buy health insurance from an insurance company or licensed agent. Or you may have options through your employer, a union, an association, or your church.

There are a lot of different plans, all with different costs. Listen to our podcast to learn how to find the right one for you. And our health plan shopping checklist has a list of questions to ask before you buy a plan.

June 3, 2021

Hurricane season brings many dangers

Podcast: Preparing for hurricane season

Hurricane season is here, and it looks like 2021 will be a dangerous one. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts three to five major hurricanes and a host of smaller storms.

Listen to our podcast for more information on what to expect during the 2021 hurricane season, including tips for staying safe during and after a storm.

We’ll help you prepare your house for hurricane season and explain how to put together a hurricane “go kit” with everything you’ll need if you evacuate your home. We also share lifesaving tips for generator use that can help you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning after a storm.

May 6, 2021

Tips to help with storm claims, recovery

Texas has already seen damaging spring storms across the state – including what may be a record hailstone in Hondo. Imagine what hail the size of honeydew melon could do to your home.

Our latest podcast explains how to start the claim process, what to if you disagree with your insurance company’s decision, and how to avoid contracting scams.

If your home has storm damage, file a claim as soon as you can. Don’t throw away damaged items until you talk to your insurance company or adjuster. But make temporary repairs to protect your home from more damage – cover broken windows and holes in your roof. Keep the repair receipts. Your policy may cover the costs.

In our podcast, we also share tips from the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas. They’ll tell you to how to find a qualified contractor for repairs.

Help after the storm has more information about claims and repairs.

April 19, 2021

New podcast looks at increase in auto thefts

Auto thefts were up in Texas and across the nation last year. In our new podcast, we talk to Sgt. Tracy Hicks with the Houston Police Department’s Auto Theft Crimes Task Force about what you can do to protect your car or truck from burglaries and theft.

Man breaking into a car

Thieves often break into cars to look for guns, Sgt. Hicks said. Be especially careful when going to a gun range or store because thieves may be watching the parking lots to identify potential targets. He suggested getting a car safe if you carry guns or other valuables in your car.

Catalytic converters are another hot commodity for thieves, who sell the precious metals inside. Catalytic converters easy to steal and hard to identify. Hybrid cars are often targeted because their catalytic converters – and the metals inside – are usually cleaner than on gas cars. You can get a catalytic converter lock or cover installed to make it harder to remove.

Check out our podcast for more about the latest trends in auto theft and how to protect your car or truck.

We have also a video interview with Sgt. Hicks and information about insurance coverage for auto thefts and burglaries.

Texas Insurance Blog

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