Spring will bring warmer temperatures to Texas, but it also brings the threat of severe weather with little time to prepare. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) urges consumers to plan for severe weather and take steps to reduce the risk of property damage, before storms strike.
- Check your home for dangerous conditions, such as overhanging branches or unsecured lawn furniture. These could become projectiles during strong wind conditions.
- Review your insurance policies and make sure you understand what is covered.
- Take a home inventory of your property and make sure your insurance coverage is still appropriate to what you own.
- If you live in one of the 14 Texas coastal counties, or parts of southeastern Harris County, talk to your insurance agent about windstorm insurance.
Hail is the most common cause of homeowners insurance losses in Texas, resulting in close to $10.3 billion in losses during the period from 2004-2013.
Another common natural disaster is flooding. Some people think if they don’t live near a river or creek, they don’t have to worry about flooding. Flash flooding can occur almost anywhere during heavy rain, or a sudden downpour.
Homeowners and renters need to be aware that their standard insurance policies typically do not include coverage for damage caused by rising flood waters. To protect yourself from flooding, you’ll need to buy a separate flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program. For more information about flood insurance talk to your insurance agent or visit www.FloodSmart.gov.
Don’t forget about your vehicle. Minimum liability coverage does not pay for any type of damage to your own vehicle. In order to be protected from weather related damage such as hail, falling tree limbs, or flooding, you will need to purchase additional coverage, known as “comprehensive” or “damage other than collision.”
Finally, windy conditions and dry weather increase the risk of wildfire. Rake leaves, dead limbs, and twigs to create a 30 to 100-foot safety zone around your home and remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
For answers to general insurance questions, information on filing a complaint, or to report suspected insurance fraud, call TDI’s Consumer Helpline at 1-800-252-3439 or visit our website at www.tdi.texas.gov.