Driving Destinations in Texas

Driving Destinations in Texas – Austin and Dallas

Austin

Canyon Lake – Due to its location on its namesake lake and the Guadalupe River, the town of Canyon Lake proclaims to be the “Water Recreation Capital of Texas” and offers visitors numerous water and outdoor recreational opportunities as well as quick access to a number of Hill Country attractions, towns and cities. Don’t forget your car insurance!

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Enchanted Rock – Located just north of Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country,Enchanted Rock is one of the largest natural rock formations in the United States, with a dome that rises 425 feet above the ground (1825 feet above sea level). Designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1970, Enchanted Rock is also part of the Texas State Parks System and attracts thousands of visitors annually.

Lost Maples – New Englanders aren’t the only that get to enjoy watching the fall foliage change, Lost Maples Natural Area in Central Texas offers Texans and visitors to Texas a breathtaking palette of colors every fall.

Luckenbach – Made famous by a Willie Nelson tune, the tiny Hill Country town of Luckenbach continues to symbolize all that is Texas to many.

On your next trip to the Lone Star State, don’t miss your opportunity to go to the town where “Everybody’s Somebody.”

Wimberley – Wimberley is a quaint little village in the Texas Hill Country, situated within an hour’s drive to either Austin or San Antonio. Additionally, Wimberley is conveniently located to many Hill Country attractions and is home to a host of specialty shops and restaurants.

Dallas

Big Thicket – Covering nearly 100,000 acres, Big Thicket National Preserve was the first such preserve in the United States. The Big Thicket NP is home to a diverse group of plants and animals and plays host to thousands of nature enthusiasts annually. While camping is allowed, there are no prepared campsites in the Big Thicket, so be prepared to make your own.

Lake Fork – Known as one of the top trophy bass lakes in the nation, Lake Fork draws anglers from across the US and beyond.

Each of these anglers knows that anytime they are fishing Fork, they stand a good chance of catching a true trophy largemouth.

Lake Lewisville – A favorite spot for Dallas watersport enthusiasts, Lake Lewisville offers visitors a variety of activities, including fishing, swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, sailing, sailboarding, and more.

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Car Insurance Texas Rates Increase

Car Insurance Texas Rates Increase

Are higher car insurance rates coming? Ask the residents of Georgia, where Allstate Property & Casualty Insurance has just raised some auto premiums by 58 percent.

Click here for a free quote from Insure.com

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The Good Hands People have claimed that’s an extreme case, but it doesn’t deny that nearly half its Georgia customers will pay an average of 25 percent more to drive their cars, a rate hike that left the state’s insurance commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, so frustrated that he launched an investigation by an independent actuarial firm.

But since Georgia is a “file and use” state, this means all an automotive insurer has to do is file the rate hike with the state’s insurance department, and it goes into effect, in this case on May 22.

Georgia’s situation is far from unique, and it may be the “canary in the coal mine” as far as auto insurance rate hikes are concerned. April saw the biggest premium increase year-over-year since 2003, as prices rose 6 percent that month, according to Consumer Price Index monthly data.

Allstate spokesman Adam Polak said his company was “cooperating with the Georgia investigation” and said that only a few customers faced a 58 percent hike.

But he also indicated that Allstate’s rate hikes clearly reflect what’s coming down the turnpike for drivers in other states. Industry spokespeople aren’t shy about saying car insurance is likely to go up, up, up. And while Georgia may be the first state to feel the pain in the pocketbook, it won’t be the last.

Among the reasons: “More people are driving, lower gas prices and higher speed limits,” explained Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute (III), a lobbying group for the property-casualty insurance industry.

And, he might have added, more fatalities. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 38,300 people were killed nationwide on roads last year and 4.4 million were seriously injured. “2015 was likely the deadliest driving year since 2008,” said the NSC, a nonprofit organization that promotes health and safety in the U.S.

Another factor is that auto insurers’ profitability has been falling for a decade. Loss ratios for insurers have been rising for 10 years, according to the III’s Hartwig. In flush times when interest rates are high, insurers can make this up from their vast investment portfolios. But the 2015 return on their net worth is likely close to zero — or even negative.

Common Texas Car Insurance Questions

Common Texas Car Insurance Questions

• The color of your car helps determine the premium you pay.

False. However, the type of vehicle does. The Insurance Information Institute lists a vehicle’s make, model, engine size, age and current value among the factors that help determine premiums. Other factors include a vehicle’s cost to repair and likelihood of theft and, obviously, a motorist’s age and driving record.

Small cars aren’t necessarily the cheapest to insure, even though they tend to cost less. Premiums can be just as high or higher due to the possibility for worse injuries. Still, 40% of respondents in a survey by insure.com assumed premiums were lowest on small vehicles.

A general metaphor for car insurance, finance, sale, debt, expenses and costs.
A general metaphor for car insurance, finance, sale, debt, expenses and costs.

• Insurers don’t examine credit records to assess applicants.

That’s generally false. “Credit scoring is highly predictive of future loss activity,” said Fiske. “It’s actuarially sound and part of practically every insurance company’s methodology.”

The idea behind using credit scores to assess the risks posed by individuals reflects their responsibility, or lack thereof, in managing financial affairs. An insurer might deny coverage to applicants with low credit scores, but it also could reward others with reduced premiums.

Not all insurance companies evaluate credit the same. Some use proprietary models, and many  look to cover certain types of drivers or homeowners. “Some may target only those with the best scores, with no recent accidents or traffic violations, while others may seek out people with a less-than-perfect record,” said the Insurance Information Institute.

Credit scoring isn’t allowed for all policies in all states, including California.

• Self-driving autos will lead to lower auto-insurance premiums.

It might happen. Self-driving vehicles have proved highly reliable, especially when compared against human motorists who text, tailgate and speed.

However, real-world insurance-loss results aren’t in yet, so the question is still up in the air. “Even if (driver-less cars) were introduced  tomorrow, it will take 20-plus years” to have actuarially sound information,  Fiske said.

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