Classroom Resources

The Classroom Teacher, spring 2015

Imagine a world where high school students fully understood that having car insurance means that you probably don’t have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket if you get in a fender bender, or that homeowners insurance would probably save their family a lot of money if they accidently hit the gas pedal

and drove the car through the garage door.

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is trying to help students – and all Texans – understand how property insurance works through a free, online educational game called PlayInsure

The goal of PlayInsure is to make it through a month’s worth of game play (30 stops and starts) without running out of money. The student sets up the game by choosing a character, a place to live, a house or car style, and a level of insurance coverage. The starting bank of $8,000 will go up or down depending on real-life scenarios; for instance, a kid playing baseball next door hits a ball through the living room window necessitating payment of a $1,500 deductible.

Insurance education

TDI is the state agency that regulates the insurance industry in Texas, but it also has a mission to educate consumers about insurance. 

Melissa Hield, the associate commissioner of TDI’s Consumer Protection program, said insurance should be a part of every person’s financial education. 

“Whether it’s liability coverage for a small business, homeowners coverage to protect your property, or health insurance to protect your loved ones, insurance is a product that will touch the lives of nearly every Texan,” she said. 

Texas is one of 19 states that require high school students to take a financial literacy class, according to the Council for Economic Education. The TEKS curriculum Economics with Emphasis on the Free Enterprise System and its Benefits includes “understanding insurance” as one of its 14 areas of instruction. The thought is that teaching students about the benefits, cost, and importance of having insurance at an early age can help them become financially responsible adults. 

Hield said PlayInsure can introduce students to insurance in an interesting way.

“PlayInsure helps make the concept of insurance more accessible to students and their teachers. It’s a good introduction to what can be a complex topic,” she said.

TDI developed a teacher curriculum for PlayInsure that includes a two-part lesson, a vocabulary list, a quiz, and a post-assessment quiz.

Other resources

TDI also developed the Kids’ Page to help parents and teachers educate middle school students about insurance. The Kids’ Page defines insurance in easy-to-understand terms and provides an introduction to various types of insurance, including auto, home, health, and pet insurance. The Teacher’s Corner page offers an insurance curriculum for eighth-grade teachers. Elsewhere on the site, TDI provides Tedi Bear’s Insurance Activity Book with insurance-related activities.

For a copy of the PlayInsure curriculum, email Melissa.hield@tdi.texas.gov. For answers to general insurance questions, call TDI’s Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439 or visit the website.