TX Office of Public Insurance Counsel
By Michael Herzog, Licensed Agent,
James Zander & Associates Insurance
The main focus of this article is to help you to navigate through the OPIC website so that you, as a consumer of home and auto insurance products, can gain a better understanding of your home and auto insurance policies and also to compare them to any quotes you are receiving when shopping your insurance.
The best way to start is to take out your declaration pages for your home/auto/condo/renters policy that you want to review, then click on the link below to OPIC. You will need to have your declaration pages with you so that you can ensure that you are looking up the right insurance carrier so that you can compare coverage on your policies with coverage that is available.
click here > O P I C You should now be at the OPIC website for the State of Texas.
This website is very EASY to use as it is straightforward and intuitive to navigate, which makes it very consumer friendly. However, please understand that because we are dealing with insurance policies (forms) that are being marketed by the name brands (Travelers, Hartford, Safeco, Kemper, CHUBB, etc...) but are actually sometimes written on paper by other companies, it is not always easy to figure out which company is actually "writing" your policy, nor what policy you actually have.
And sometimes, If you have a policy that you took out many years ago, it is also possible that the policy you are covered under is no longer being sold/marketed and might no longer be on the auto or home list on the OPIC website. So, there might be challenges to finding which policy you have on the website, but hopefully you will find it and then see all the information which will help you in the end.
Once you enter the OPIC website, there are 8 tabs that you will be able to click on which will bring you to different areas of the website to use. Please be sure you click on the "HOME" to start off. Whichever tab you are in should highlight in "BLUE". Once you click on the "HOME" tab, there will be a dropdown with 5 headings: "Agency Information", "The Public Counsel", "Compact with Texans", "Agency Reports", and "Employment Opportunities". Please click on and review each one as you like. The "HOME" tab discusses the all around functioning of the OPIC, what It's mission is, who runs it, etc...
The next tab, "COMPARE POLICIES" is really where the meat is for our purposes. There are 5 sections to go to under this tab: "Comparing Insurance Coverage", "Automobile", "Homeowners", "Condominium" and "Renters/Tenants". This is where you get to learn more about your home or auto policy and as it relates to perhaps another policy you are considering switching to. Read about Comparing Insurance Coverage and then continue down and choose the coverage you want review first.
Let's start off by comparing a homeowner policy, because this is the best use of this website. In order for you to review your current homeowner policy, you will need to get it out and find where it tells you the insuring company for your policy.
So, click on "Compare Homeowners Policies" and then read the four points on using this comparison tool and continue to the first dropdown to choose the insurance "Company" you are with. Refer to your homeowner's policy declaration pages and find where it states the name of your insuring company. Safeco would be Safeco Insurance Company of Indiana. Travelers would be Travelers Home and Marine Insuracne Company, Hartford would be Sentinel Insurance Co and Kemper would be Unitrin Safeguard Insurance Company. Then, once you choose the company that is insuring you, another dropdown box will appear with the policy options for you to choose from. If there are multiple policy options and you cannot figure out which policy you have, you should call your agent or company up to assist you.
Once you choose the companies you want to compare (you can choose up to four companies and/or policies), hit the button that is titled "Select Coverages". The next page already has all the "Coverages" selected. My suggestion is to leave all the "Coverage" boxes marked, but if you don't want to see the comparison of some but not all Coverage, click on the downward arrow at the Category level and then all of those checked under that category will uncheck. Then once you decide on the "Coverages", go the top or bottom and click on "SHOW COMPARISON".
You will be able to print off the resulting comparison which you can then use to compare your policy with the coverage that OPIC says your policy offers or to shop your policies with other quotes.
Please do the same comparison for auto, condo and renters/tenants to be sure you are getting the best policy you can with the necessary endorsements.