Here in Texas, you absolutely must have automobile liability insurance, or what they call “financial responsibility” … it’s the law. Two things that stay on your driving record indefinitely are a DWI (fair enough…that makes sense) and no proof of liability insurance. And it stays on your driving record…forever! We also have what they call the TexasSure program. Through this system, the police already know if you have liability insurance when they pull you over. If you don’t have your updated insurance card in the car with you, they will likely still write you a ticket. At the very least, you may need to take off work to go to the court house and show them your proof of financial responsibility. And they will dismiss your ticket but still make you pay a small administration fee. So, hours lost on the job alone will add up, financially. Always keep your updated insurance card in your car.

My insurance, because I am older and hadn’t had a ticket in a long while was only $61 per month. That was for full coverage insurance, which included road side assistance, towing, and many extras. I was pretty happy with that rate, until I added my 17 year old daughter to my policy. I added her to my policy online…with my fingers crossed. But my rate still more than quadrupled. So I am currently shopping around for better insurance rates. I’ve noticed that most of the larger insurance agencies are pretty competitive in price, right now. So I found a similar policy which is a much more manageable price for me. It doesn’t send up a red flag to your insurance agency when you shop for rates. And, as stated, you must have insurance. But, you don’t have to pay Neiman-Marcus prices for your automobile insurance. Besides, who wants to spend a bunch of extra money on insurance when you have better things to spend your money on (like my buddy Jack Daniels). So it doesn’t hurt to compare quotes now and then.

I have found that the best way for keeping my money in my own pocket is to follow my own mantra…or what I like to call “tips for getting better insurance premiums”:
1. Drive like a nervous Chihuahua, looking out for cops, and most importantly distracted drivers (ones on their phones).
2. Take a defensive driving class every three years for an insurance discount.
3. Keep your tires, fluids, brakes and all in top condition to prevent freak accidents.
A defensive driving class may cost you a little money and a little time, but will afford you a three year insurance discount, typically 10% (but the discount can be anywhere between 8% and 15%). That’s a nice savings, and every bit helps in this economy. Plus, you will learn about new laws and tips to be a better, safer driver. You will be able to rub shoulders with other bad drivers…uh, I mean students…and compare notes. Also, communicating with your insurance agency about tips for a better insurance premium will also help. They will be thrilled that you have chosen to take a defensive driving class. It just makes sense that they would prefer to insurance a better, safer driver.
Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Comedienne / Artist / Writer