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Southwest Insurance Center

901 S Mopac Expy, Bldg 1, Ste 300
Austin, TX 78746

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Rate Advice

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Ways to improve your insurance profile

Insurance companies consider hundreds of factors when determining your rate. Below are some insurance saving strategies which you have control. These insurance profile tips can help you secure the best rates when you shop for insurance.


Credit is one of the top factors in determining rates. Even a small score improvement can significantly impact the insurance rates you receive from other companies. If you have any negative accounts affecting your credit, consulting a lawyer who specializes in credit improvement can be immensely beneficial and can save you money well beyond the cost of such assistance. If you have limited credit history, actively building your credit can greatly improve your score.

Some companies, like Travelers, offer a rescore at renewal. This can substantially decrease rates. Unfortunately, we cannot access your previous score to determine if it can be improved upon. This is something you need to be aware of. However, it can never hurt to attempt the rescore; it can only help.

Prior carrier history:

Carriers like to see that you are a loyal customer. Companies provide a discount based on how long your policy was in effect with your current carrier. Additionally, they provide a discount based on the level of liability limits you currently carry. Most companies offer the best insurance rates to those who have been with their current carrier for at least 5 years and who carry liability limits of over $100,000 per person, not to exceed $300,000 per accident for any bodily injury caused, with property damage coverage of $100,000 (100/300/100). This is the minimum liability limit I recommend due to lower coverage amounts being inadequate for today’s average accident payouts. If you currently carry lower liability limits, I recommend increasing them not only to improve your insurance profile but also because you are underinsured for today’s average accident costs.


We have moved into a different era of insurance where it should only be used in situations that warrant high payouts. Using your insurance to file small claims, adversely affects your rates more than any payout for the claim you might receive.

Claims under roadside assistance, glass, and comprehensive coverage (hail, fire, theft, etc.) will not affect your current premiums. However, when you shop for insurance, companies will consider your overall claims history when they are determining the rates to quote you at. For example, we have seen a $60 glass claim increase an insurance quote by $500 simply because the customer went from having no claims, to having one claim. Despite it being a low payout claim, the new company cared more that they filed the claim versus what the actual payout was.

We highly recommend refraining from filing small claims. The most common small claims are roadside assistance and glass repair. There are many places to obtain roadside assistance coverage such as some major credit cards offering it, AAA or vehicles often come with roadside assistance as part of the purchase deal. If you have a chip in your windshield, repair shops may offer to fix it for "free," but they are just filing it on your insurance. These are inexpensive repairs that should be paid for out of pocket. Auto glass replacement (such as a crack in the windshield) can be much costlier, with windshields now costing $1,500 or more due to advanced technology.

Regarding comprehensive claims, the new rule of thumb is only to file if the claim if it is more than double your deductible. With accidents, you also need to consider the rate increases that will occur on your policy. Not-at-fault accidents typically increase your rate by around $200 to $300 a year for five years, while at-fault accidents can increase it by anywhere from $300 to $800 or more per year. Multiple incidents within a five-year period could also disqualify you from coverage with some carriers, limiting the number of insurance companies from which we can obtain rates. We understand this advice may be controversial, as isn’t carrying insurance meant to pay out when you need it despite the cost? The answer used to be yes, but unfortunately, now it should only be used for larger claims. Below is a chart outlining our recommendation on when you should file a claim and when you should not file a claim:

Roadside assistance – no longer file

Chip in the windshield – no longer file

Crack in the windshield (windshield replacement)– file if it is double your deductible (example: if your deductible is $500, only file if the claim is going to cost over $1,000)

Comprehensive claim (hail, theft, vandalism, etc.) - file if it is double your deductible

Not-at-fault accidents – file if it is triple your deductible

At-fault accidents – file if it is quadruple your deductible

Change your out-of-state license to Texas:

Companies have begun surcharging for any license that is not a Texas license. These surcharges can be significant, so be sure to change your license to a Texas license before shopping. Your most recent declarations page or online account will show the license information your current insurance carrier has on file.

Good student discount:

If your child is under 26 and maintains a GPA of 3.0 or above, they qualify for a good student discount. This could result in hundreds of dollars' worth of savings. We would just need their most recent report card to add this discount.

Shopping in advance:

Anytime you shop more than eight days in advance, companies offer an advanced quote discount.

Ways to save on your current policy

Below are ways you can save money on your current insurance policies. Additionally, there is a copy-and-paste set of questions you can send us the answers to if you see any changes that could be beneficial to you.

Increasing your auto insurance deductibles:

The majority of policyholders carry a $500 comprehensive and collision deductible. Increasing these to $1,000 or $2,000 can improve your insurance rates by a few hundred dollars. For policies with premiums between $1,000 and $2,500, the savings are typically around $150 a year. For premiums between $2,500 and $5,000, the savings are usually around $300 a year. Premiums of $5,000 and above can result in savings of $400 or more.

Increasing your wind and hail deductible on your home policy:

Most companies now only allow a 2% wind and hail deductible on new business. At some point, you will need to make this change, either due to switching insurance companies or because the insurance company mandates it at renewal. The premium impact of changing the wind and hail deductible largely depends on the age of your roof. If your roof is newer, the impact will be minimal despite the significant increase in deductible. However, if your roof is older, this change could result in a savings of around $1,000, as the company anticipates that you will need a roof replacement in the near future. This decision should not be made lightly as it represents a substantial financial commitment. For example, on a $500,000 house, changing your wind and hail deductible from 1% to 2% would mean increasing it from $5,000 to $10,000.

Participate in their telematics driving app:

Most companies offer a telematics driving app that tracks your driving habits and can potentially save you money. You keep the app on your phone for typically around 90 days, during which it tracks sudden stops, fast accelerations, the time of day you drive, distracted driving, and the number of miles you drive. Based on this information, you can potentially save up to 30% on your insurance. Some companies offer an upfront discount on your renewal, with the remainder applied to your next renewal. Others apply the entire discount to your next renewal. On average, this program saves policyholders 17%, making it a significant aid to decrease insurance rates. If you have previously participated in the program and believe you can achieve a better score, companies often allow you to re-enroll. This program is also useful for teaching and monitoring young drivers.

Change your bill plan:

Paying your policy in full always results in a significant discount. If you currently pay your premiums manually every month, you are being charged the highest surcharge possible for doing so. Having your payments automatically debited from your credit card incurs a larger surcharge as well. The cheapest monthly payment option is to have payments automatically debited from your checking account using your routing and checking account number. Some companies, like Travelers, even offer a discount for setting up automatic debits from your checking account for the full amount annually. Changing your bill plan can significantly decrease your insurance premiums. From most expensive to least expensive, the options are as follows: manual monthly payments, automatic monthly payments by credit card, automatic monthly payments by checking account, manual payment of your policy in full annually, and automatic debiting of your paid-in-full premium from your checking account annually.


We recommend every customer sign up for their insurance company’s website and opt to go paperless. This may result not only in a discount but also in keeping you up to date with changes to your policy, especially underwriting memos.

Umbrella insurance:

Though technically an increase in premium, companies often provide discounts on current policies that make the cost of umbrella insurance minimal. The savings come from potential payouts in claims that umbrella policies aim to address. An umbrella policy sits over your underlying auto and home insurance. It kicks in if, during a claim, your underlying liability limit is exhausted. We have a real-life example that happened to a customer of ours where they hit a pedestrian at a low rate of speed. The pedestrian fell and hit their head on the curb. That person went through extensive speech therapy for years. The claim ended up costing around $3 million dollars. Luckily, our customer had a $5 million dollar umbrella policy as they had significant assets to protect. It is there to save you from financial ruin in a situation like that. With the amount people are suing each other for these days and the skyrocketing cost of health care, we now recommend everyone carry at least a million dollars. You want to determine the amount that is best for you by adding up your assets and subtracting the value of your home, value of life insurance/annuities and your first $30,000 ($60,000 for couples) in cash and investments. Everything after that is what someone can sue you for and therefore, you want to protect. We cannot recommend enough how essential it is to carry an umbrella policy these days.

Confirm the accuracy of your information

Below is a list of questions that will help us assess the accuracy of your current information. You can email the relevant information for any updates you believe are necessary to

  1. Let us know if your credit score has significantly increased over the last year.
  2. Do you want to remove roadside assistance?
  3. Would you like to increase your auto insurance deductibles to $1,000 or $2,000?
  4. If you drive a vehicle on your policy less than 8,000 miles a year, please let us know the yearly mileage on the specific vehicle to obtain a low mileage discount.
  5. What are your and your spouse's occupations?
  6. If you or your spouse have earned higher than a bachelor’s degree, please let us know the level of education completed.
  7. Are there any drivers on your policy who are in school, under the age of 26, and carrying a GPA of 3.0 and above? If so, please send us their most recent grade card to add the good student discount.
  8. Would you like to participate in your company’s driving app?
  9. If your roof has been updated in the last 10 years, please provide the completion year and if you have it, the paid in full invoice from the roofer.
  10. Would you like to increase your wind and hail deductible from 1% to 2%?
  11. If you are not already receiving emails from your company, would you like to go paperless?
  12. Would you like to update your bill plan? If so, to what bill plan would you like to switch to (paid in full via an automatic debit from your checking account, paid in full via paying manually every year, recurring debit from your checking account, or recurring debit from your credit card)?
  13. We offer a significant number of new features to help you stay in touch with us, including texting and access to your account online through our website. To ensure these features work for you, please provide your and your spouse's cell phone number and email address. While this may not immediately impact rates, it will improve your engagement with your policies and with us to ensure that you don’t see unexpected increases in the future.

Am I covered when I rent a vehicle?

Yes! All of your coverage transfers over to a rental vehicle except “Loss of Use”. Most major credit card companies cover that portion. If yours does not, then make sure to purchase that coverage from the rental company.

Do my coverages transfer to a rental moving truck?

No. No coverage transfers to a moving truck you may rent.

Is my windshield covered?

The general rule is if the glass can be repaired (a chip) your comprehensive deductible is waived. However, if your windshield needs to be replaced, your comprehensive deductible applies unless you have selected full glass coverage.

How much are my rates going to increase due to an “at-fault” accident?

If you don’t qualify for accident forgiveness, increases can be anywhere from $100 to $300 a year.

Is my property covered when it is in a storage unit?

10% of your personal property limit extends to items off your premises. It is subject to your home insurance deductible.

Is a flood covered by my Homeowners insurance?

Ground water coming in from outside of the home is not covered. You would need to purchase a separate flood policy for that type of damage.

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