David Lieber of Dallas News has discovered another unfair way insurance companies are trying to get more from customers. We are all familiar with the normal ways in which insurance companies try to get us to pay more for coverage. There are fees for 24-hour service, fees for adding another car to your plan, and fees for just about anything.
According to a new law, if you happen to call your insurance agent with a question about a potential claim on your automobile policy in Texas, you could face an increase in your premium when your policy is renewed. This fun bit of Texas legislature makes it easier for the insurance companies to take more money out of your pocket, even if you don’t end up filing a claim. In 2013 Texas Legislature passed a law that made it illegal for insurance companies to charge Texas insurance customers who ask questions about their homeowners policy, but insurance lobbyist pressured legislators to remove the part that protects your automobile policy.
State Senator Kirk Watson, Austin D, had originally written the bill to protect Texas insurance customers. However, he knew if he did not remove the part including automobile insurance, the entire bill would not have passed. During the proceedings to pass the bill, the insurance industry kept their opposition quiet in order to keep customers from discovering the bill. According to the legislative record, the insurance industry claimed, “Limiting the types of information that insurance companies can take into account could hinder operations and unfairly shift premium costs among policyholders.”
Many Texans are unaware of this “quirk” in the system. If the insurance company gathers enough information from your inquiry, they can register it as a claim, even if no money is ever exchanged. Most insurance companies will say they do not penalize customers who ask questions about their automobile policy. But since it is allowed under the current law, there is nothing to stop insurance companies form finding a way to benefit from their customers’ curiosity.
The insurance industry has always been good at finding loopholes that allow them to add more charges to their customers. That’s why it is always important to have an experienced attorney who can help you when your curiosity kills your premium. An attorney with experience dealing with insurance companies will know what it takes to get your insurance company to remove any unnecessary charges or increases on your premium.
In most cases, our insurance policies do help protect us from wrong doing by other drivers. However, in a world where insurance companies will raise your rates just for asking a simple question, having an experienced attorney to represent you can help show the insurance industry that they can’t get away with this unfair treatment of their customers.