Tips on saving money, travel, safety and more, from local insurance agent, Austin Insurance Group.

Texas Homeowner Tax Exemption

Frequently asked questions about the Texas Homeowner Tax Exemption (Texas Homestead Exemption)

A residence homestead that can qualify for the Texas Homeowner Tax Exemption, can be a separate structure, condominium or a manufactured home located on owned or leased land, as long as the individual living in the home owns it. If the land is owned by the homeowner and used for a purpose related to the residential use of the homestead, a residence homestead can include up to 20 acres, i

  1. Do I, as a homeowner, get a tax break from property taxes?
  2. Do all homes qualify for residence homestead exemptions?
  3. What residence homestead exemptions are available?
  4. How do I get a general $40,000 residence homestead exemption?
  5. May I continue to receive the residence homestead exemption on my home if I move away temporarily?
  6. If I live in a home that has multiple owners, can I qualify for the residence homestead exemption on the home?
  7. What is the deadline for filing a residence homestead exemption?

1. Do I, as a homeowner, get a tax break from property taxes?

You may apply for a Texas homestead exemption or homeowner tax exemption or on your principal residence. Homestead exemptions remove part of your home’s value from taxation, so they lower your taxes.

For example, your home is appraised at $300,000, and you qualify for a $40,000 exemption (this is the amount mandated for school districts), you will pay school taxes on the home as if it was worth only $260,000. Taxing units have the option to offer an additional exemption of up to twenty percent (20%) of the total value.

2. Do all homes qualify for homestead exemptions?

Not all homeowner’s principal residences qualify. To qualify, a home must meet the definition of a residence homestead: The homeowner must be an individual (for example: not a corporation or other business entity) and use the home as his or her principal residence on Jan. 1 of the tax year. An age 65 or older or disabled exemption is effective as of Jan. 1 of the tax year the applicant qualifies for the homestead and applies to the entire tax year.

3. What residence homestead exemptions are available?

There are several types of exemptions you may receive.

  • County taxes: If a county collects a special tax for farm-to-market roads or flood control, a residence homestead is allowed to receive a $3,000 exemption for this tax. If the county grants an optional exemption for homeowners age 65 or older or disabled, the owners will receive only the local-option exemption.
  • School taxes: All residence homestead owners are allowed a $40,000 residence homestead exemption from their home’s value for school taxes.
  • Age 65 or older and disabled exemptions: Individuals age 65 or older or disabled residence homestead owners qualify for a $10,000 residence homestead exemption for school taxes, in addition to the $40,000 exemption for all homeowners. If the owner qualifies for both the $10,000 exemption for age 65 or older homeowners and the $10,000 exemption for disabled homeowners, the owner must choose one or the other for school taxes. The owner cannot receive both exemptions.
  • Optional age 65 or older or disabled exemptions: Any taxing unit may offer an additional exemption amount of at least $3,000 for taxpayers age 65 or older and/or disabled.
  • Optional percentage exemptions: Any taxing unit, including a city, county, school, or special district, may offer an exemption of up to 20 percent of a home’s value. But, no matter what the percentage is, the amount of an optional exemption cannot be less than $5,000. Each taxing unit decides if it will offer the exemption and at what percentage. This percentage exemption is added to any other home exemption for which an owner qualifies. The taxing unit must decide before July 1 of the tax year to offer this exemption.

The completed application and required documentation are due no later than April 30 of the tax year for which you are applying. A late residence homestead exemption application, however, may be filed up to two years after the delinquency date, which is usually Feb. 1.

4. How do I get a general $40,000 residence homestead exemption?

For the $40,000 general residence homestead exemption, you may submit an Application for Residential Homestead Exemption (PDF) and supporting documentation, with the appraisal district where the property is located. Once you receive the exemption, you do not need to reapply unless the chief appraiser sends you a new application. In that case, you must file the new application. If you should move or your qualification ends, you must inform the appraisal district in writing before the next May 1st. A list of appraisal district addresses and phone numbers is available online.

Travis County – Williamson County – More information on Texas Homeowners Tax Exemption

Call a Local Texas Insurance Agent today for a homeowner insurance quote and more information on how to save money on a Texas Home insurance policy. (512)339-2901

Travis County – Williamson County – More information on Texas Homeowners Tax Exemption

Texas Comptroller – Property Tax Exemptions

5. May I continue to receive the residence homestead exemption on my home if I move away temporarily?

If you temporarily move away from your home, you may continue to receive the exemption if you do not establish a principal residence elsewhere, you intend to return to the home, and you are away less than two years. You may continue to receive the exemption if you do not occupy the residence for more than two years only if you are in military service serving inside or outside of the United States or live in a facility providing services related to health, infirmity or aging.

6. If I live in a home that has multiple owners, can I qualify for the residence homestead exemption on the home?

If you are not the sole owner of the property to which the residence homestead exemption applies, one of these ownership situations may apply.

  • If a married couple qualifies their property for residence homestead exemption, the spouses are treated as community property owners with 100 percent ownership for each spouse.
  • If you inherited property, you may be eligible as an heir property owner to be considered the sole owner for the residence homestead exemption.
  • If you have partial ownership but are not married or did not inherit property, the exemption amount is based on the interest you own.

For example, if you own a 50 percent interest in a residence homestead, you will receive only one-half, or $20,000, of a $40,000 residence homestead offered by a school district.

7. What is the deadline for filing a residence homestead exemption?

The completed application and required documentation are due no later than April 30 of the tax year for which you are applying. A late residence homestead exemption application, however, may be filed up to two years after the delinquency date, which is usually Feb. 1.

Contact your local appraisal district for more information regarding your eligibility.

Contact your Local Insurance Agent, Austin Insurance Group for a free, no-obligation insurance quote today.

Austin Insurnance Group / Torabi Inc #1 Rated Insurance Agency

Metlife Auto Insurance Group Discounts

Quality Coverage and Savings with Metlife Auto Insurance Group Discounts.  Metlife Auto & Home Insurance Discounts.

Great coverage at an affordable price! MetLife Auto & Home has saved many customers an average of $536/year on auto insurance.*

Get discounts based on where you work or groups you belong to!

Here are a few of the companies that we offer Metlife auto insurance group discounts for.


  • Bank of America
  • Dell
  • Lowes
  • Metlife
  • Texas American Lung Association
  • UPS
  • Verizon


  • Family Circle
  • Ladies Home Journal
  • Nascar Race Fan
  • National Rifle Association


  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Triathlon Association
  • Union Groups

If you do not see your employer, association or affinity group on this list, please call our local office to see if you are eligible for an additional Metlife Auto Insurance Group discount.

metlife auto insurance group discounts austin

Some discounts are as high as 40%.  Call our local agent today. 512-339-2600



Retired Teacher Discounts

Announcing Metlife insurance retired teacher discount.   If you are a Texas retired teacher, or member of TRS, call for competitive rates and discounts on your auto insurance and home insurance.  We have been local Metlife agents since 1996.  Austin Insurance Group is an independent insurance agent and we represent many top-rated insurance companies including Progressive, Mercury, Travelers, MercuryTitan,  Foremost/Farmers and many others.

However, retired teachers and members of TRS receive Metlife Insurance discounts for greater savings.


Austin Insurance Group serving Texans since 1994. 

Austin – Cedar Park local offices.

Teacher Retirement System of Texas

Texas Retired Teachers Association



Insurance Tips to Help You Save Money

Austin Insurance Group has put together a list of Insurance Tips to Help you Save money on your car insurance.

Insurance Tips from Austin Insurance Group

Insurance Tips from Austin Insurance Group

Tip 1 – Bundle Auto and Home Insurance

Bundling your auto insurance policy with a renters or home policy can save you money.

Tip 2 – Compare rates with Multiple Insurance Companies

Insurance rates can vary significantly from one insurance carrier to another. With, Austin Insurance Group, a local independent insurance agent, we can help you avoid overpaying, by comparing rates from all of the top-rated insurance companies that we represent including Progressive, Metlife, Mercury, Hartford, Travelers and more!

Tip 3 – Discounts, Don’t Miss Out!

If you have had any major changes in your life over the last year, such as a recent move, or bought a new home, changed jobs, you probably qualify for new discounts.

Tip 4 – Drop Coverages

If your car is paid off and 10 years or older, consider dropping comprehensive and/or collision coverage. If the value of your car has depreciated enough, you might be better off just carrying liability insurance.

Tip 5 – Increase Your Deductible

Another way to cut your insurance rates is to increase your deductibles.

Tip 6 – Check Your Odometer

If you drive less than 14,000 miles a year on average, you may be able to save money with a program such as Snapshot by Progressive.

Tip 7 – Make a Commitment

If you’ve found a great policy, consider a 12-month premium option if available or sign up for an automatic bank draft. This could save you money!

Additional Tips:

Getting married? Believe it or not, young married couples pay less for car insurance than single people, up to 28% less.

Pay your bills on time – Insurance companies may check your credit-based insurance score because it tells them if you are financially responsible and how well you manage your obligations.

Your Driving Record –  If you have a ticket or claim that’s over 35 months old, it may be time to reshop.

Additional factors that impact the cost of car insurance include:

  • competition among insurance companies
  • the number of uninsured drivers in your county
  • natural disasters
  • state insurance laws

Contact Austin Insurance Group, your local agent, to review ways to save on your car insurance.

Cutcosts on Auto Insurance

Cutcosts on Auto Insurance

Cutcosts on Auto Insurance with Austin Insurance Group


Cutcosts on auto insurance with local progressive agent

It’s true! You get a discount for using our paperless discount.  Get your auto insurance quote online.  Sign documents online, and you could save more.

That’s two discounts already…and you’re just getting started.

Find other ways to cutcosts on auto insurance when you bundle or have more than one car.


Buy Online 24/7

Texas Car Buying Tips

Texas Car Buying Tips

Buying a Car in Texas?

With the Multitude of Make, Model and Option Choices Available today…

…buying an auto is enough to make your head spin. Obviously your emotions–your feelings about driving and your preference for certain auto makes or models–will play a role in the decision process. But, the smartest place to start is by thinking about you and your needs. To be sure you make the smartest choice, you’ll need to do some homework. 

Know Your Car Style
Don’t necessarily think auto model, think auto use. If you know the answers to the following questions, you can help yourself determine which auto best fits you.

1. What are the primary and secondary uses of the auto?
2. What will be in the auto most of the time?
3. How often will the auto be used?
4. Where will you be driving?
5. What features do you consider most important?
6. What are you willing to give up? 

The Education Process
Once you have a clean picture of what you need, you may be tempted just to head to a dealership. Think again. Investigating your choices ahead of time will save time and aggravation–and maybe even money.

Visit the library or bookstore to do some basic research. Becoming familiar with current prices and features can be especially helpful if you haven’t purchased a car in a few years.

Make a list of all the important features and options you personally want or need in a car. Then write down all the models that have those features. You may find a few more cars on the list than you expected, giving you a bigger pool from which to choose. Or you may find that only a few autos fit your needs, which will save you time when you do head to the dealership.

Budgetary Issues
New or used, buy or lease, you need to know all the costs involved in getting your next car. Even if an auto is a great deal and the financing options unbeatable, you may find that makng those monthly payments puts an impossible strain on your budget.

If you are not sure how much you can afford, talk to a financial advisor or get pre-approval on an auto loan from a bank. Professional advice in the area of financing will let you know ahead of time how much you can really afford.

Once you set your price range, stick to it. The trick is getting the car you need, for the price you can afford.

Don’t forget that owning an auto costs more than the monthly payments. Gas, maintenance, taxes and insurance should all be figured into the cost of ownership. Ask your insurance agent for an estimate of auto insurance costs.

You’d Better Shop Around
Compare sticker prices with the estimates from your research. Review the standard and optional features listed. When you are ready, get brochures, take test drives and ask the salesperson for information. Ask about everything from warranties to service department hours and loaner policies.

Next, it’s time to negotiate a deal. The difference between a dealer’s invoice(estimates are available from automotive magazines and auto pricing services) and the price listed on the sticker is your bargaining range. The more information you have on exactly what the dealer pays for the standard package and for each option, the stronger your negotiating position. It also helps to know whether the manufacturer is offering any cash rebate offers or factory-to-dealer incentives.

The popularity and availability of a particular car will also factor in how willing the seller is to negotiate. And keep in mind that when you shop may make a difference in the final price you pay. The end of the model year (September and October) favors consumers because that’s when dealers are reducing inventory to make room for next year’s models. December, when more folks are worried about holiday shopping than car shopping, is another good time. Then end of the month, when salespeople are trying to fill their quotas, is also prime deal-making time.

Please Lease Me!
Leasing is an increasinly popular way to get a new auto.

1. A down payment may not be required.
2. Monthly payments are generally lower.
3. Enjoy a new car more often.
4. Conveniently turn in the auto at the end of the lease than negotiating a trade-in value or sale.

1. You get no trade-in or resale value at the end of the lease.
2. Steep charges to break the lease early.
3. May be charged for excess mileage or excessive wear and tear.
4. If you choose to purchase the auto at the end of the lease, you may end up paying more than if you purchased the car in the first place.

Second Hand Rose
Most of what you’ve read so far has been directed to the new auto buyer. Buying used is very similar to buying new. You need to assess your needs, estimate what you can spend and do your homework.

You have one additional variable to consider–wear and tear. If the car hasn’t been in an accident, has been well-maintained and runs well, you may have yourself a first-class car at a discount price. However, if you think you’ve found a good one, have your mechanic check it our before buying.

To figure out the going price for a used car, check your local classified ads and consult one of the used car price guides available at the library, such as the Kelly Blue Book Used Car Price Manuel (commonly called the Kelly Blue Book), which lists estimated values for used cars based on what car dealers are paying for various makes and models. Keep in mind that price guides aren’t the final word on a car’s fair value and that factors such as mileage can change a car’s value considerably.

Austin Insurance GroupAustin Insurance Group | Texas Car Buying Tips

Austin Insurance Group - Texas Car Buying Tips

Austin Insurance Group – Local Agent

For More Information/Reference Materials
1.  Buying A Car Guide: Car Buying Secrets, Tips and Help Choosing Right
2. Drive a Bargain: Sell Your Car for More, Buy Your New Car for Less: A Practical Guide for Irish Motorists
3. Car Buyer’s and Leaser’s Negotiating Bible, Third Edition (Car Buyer’s & Leaser’s Negotiating Bible)
4. In The Driver’s Seat: The New Car Buyer’s Negotiating Bible
5. The Consumer Bible: 1001 Ways to Shop Smart

Travis County Application for Residence Homestead Exemption

Travis County Homestead Exemption for School Tax Freeze

The homestead tax ceiling is a limit on the amount of school taxes you must pay on your residence. When you qualify your home for an Over-65 or Disabled Person Homestead Exemption, the school taxes on that home will not increase as long as the exemption is in place. The tax ceiling freezes your school taxes at the amount you pay in the year that you qualify for the exemption.

AGE 65 OR OLDER EXEMPTION (Tax Code §11.13(c), (d)): You may qualify for this exemption if you are 65 years of age or older. You cannot receive a disability exemption if you receive this exemption.

SURVIVING SPOUSE OF INDIVIDUAL WHO QUALIFIED FOR AGE 65 OR OLDER EXEMPTION UNDER TAX CODE §11.13(d) (Tax Code §11.13(q)): You may qualify for this exemption if: (1) your deceased spouse died in a year in which he or she qualified for the exemption under Tax Code §11.13(d); (2) you were 55 years of age or older when your deceased spouse died; and (3) the property was your residence homestead when your deceased spouse died and remains your residence homestead. You can’t receive this exemption if you receive an exemption under Tax Code §11.13(d).

Travis County Homestead Exemption Application 

Austin Insurance Group | Local Texas Auto Insurance Agent | (512)339-2901 | Travis County School Tax Ceiling for over 65 Homeowners


When Should Older Drivers Stop Driving?

Americans are living longer, healthier, and they are driving later in life.  And for older drivers, driving plays a very important role in their independence, mobility, and overall quality of life.

For years there has been a hotly disputed nationwide debate about the safety of older drivers. This discussion often centers on the question “When should an older driver stop driving?” which often leads to questions about mandatory testing for them.   The real question that needs to be asked and answered is: “How can older adults continue to drive safely for as long as possible?”

Austin Insurance Group supports safe driving.  This post will focus on the role families play.

The Role of Families and Older Drivers

Families can play a very big role in supporting an older relative and encouraging them to drive safely, since they are more familiar with each other’s health, driving habits and skills. They might also notice changes in their driving behavior long before a stranger or even a helpful professional would be able to. For many older adults, conversations about driving take place between spouses or adult children. In fact, older adults preferred that the majority of these conversations be held with family members, or a physician. However, not all of these family conversations are productive or well-informed. For family members to be supportive, they need to be knowledgeable and sensitive to engage in a successful conversation.

If you know older drivers, a friend or relative, and are concerned about their driving safety, you can take the following steps:

  1. Find out if the driver is really unsafe. It is best for family members to observe their loved one’s driving directly over time. Families can take notes, record dates and incidences of good and bad driving practices.  Share this information with the driver, family and healthcare professionals to facilitate decisions about driving.
  2. Second, if an older relative is unsafe on the road, it is time to have a family conversation about it.  Families should pick the right messenger, talk in private, and be supportive.

It’s not always easy for family members to broach this uncomfortable topic. Getting off to a good start can make the difference between success and failure. Although challenging, these conversations can work.

For a free, no obligation auto insurance rate comparison for olders drivers, contact our office anytime.

Austin Insurance Group | Local Texas Auto Insurance Agent | (512)339-2901 | When Should Older Drivers Stop Driv


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