How to compare insurance quotes on the OPIC website
Know how to compare insurance quotes when selecting homeowners', renters' or auto policies. (Photo courtesy of Joseph Labelle)
For any consumer of home and auto insurance products, it’s important to know how to navigate through the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) website so that you can gain a better understanding of your home and auto insurance policies. This way, you will know how to compare them to any quotes you are receiving when shopping for insurance.
Before you click on the website link, be sure to have the page on your Internet browser, just to be safe. On my computer, when I click on the link, it opens up using Microsoft Explorer on the page that was “active,” so I lose whatever was on the Explorer page before.
The best way to start is to take out your declaration pages for the insurance policy you want to review and then log on to the OPIC website.
You will need to have your declaration pages with you so you can ensure you are looking up the right insurance carrier when you are ready to research or compare coverage on your policies with coverage that is available.
This website is very easy to use, as it is straightforward and intuitive to navigate. However, please understand that because we are dealing with insurance policies (forms) that are being marketed by the name brands 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 OPIC website.
Once you enter the OPIC website, there are eight tabs that you will be able to drag your cursor over that will bring you to different areas of the website. Please be sure you first click on the “Home” tab. You can only click on two other tabs besides “Home,” but you can cursor over all tabs, which enables the choices in the drop-down boxes.
The drop-down headings for “Home” are: "Agency Information," "The Public Counsel," "Compact with Texans," "Agency Reports," and "Employment Opportunities." Click on and review each one as you like.
The "Compare Policies" tab is really where the meat is for our purposes. There are five 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. This is also where you can check on which coverages are offered on your policy and which ones you already have. 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.
Once you find your insurance company from the declaration pages, click on "Homeowners," and then read the four points on using this comparison tool. 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. 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 Coverage." The next page already has all the "Coverage" options selected.
My suggestion is to leave all the "Coverage" boxes marked, but if you don't want to see the comparison of certain types of Coverage, click on the downward arrow at the category level and then all of those checked under that category will uncheck. Once you decide on the "Coverages," go to the top or bottom of the page 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.
Michael Herzog is a licensed agent with James Zander & Associates. The company has served residents of the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, area since 1983. It serves those needing group and individual health, commercial and personal lines of insurance.
As of June 19, 2012, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check AngiesList.com for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.