Did You Have Storm Damage to Your Home or Auto and Need Help Understanding Your Insurance Coverage?

Written by

The information below is intended to provide some basic information for anyone with insurance questions related to the recent flooding and storm damage experienced in Texas.

Homeowners Coverage

 

·       Wind, including a tornado:  A typical homeowners policy covers damage caused by wind, including tornadoes.
·       Hail:  A typical homeowners policy covers damage caused by hail.

 

WIND and HAIL NOTE:  If your home is located in one of Texas' 14 coastal counties, or parts of southeastern Harris County, your homeowners policy MAY NOT cover damage caused by wind and hail. If your home is located in the above area, your wind and hail coverage may be written through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA.) If so, for additional information contact TWIA at 1-800-788-8247 or visit its website at www.twia.org.

 

·       Flood:  A typical homeowners policy DOES NOT cover damage caused by a flood.

 

FLOOD NOTE:  To protect your home from damage caused by flood, you will need to purchase a separate flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) administered by FEMA.  Flood policies typically have a 30-day waiting period before you will have coverage.  This link has a summary of coverage, https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pdfs/Summary_of_Coverage_English.pdf  

 

For additional information, contact NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD 29 (356-6329) or visit its website at www.floodsmart.gov.

 

Auto Coverage

 

If you purchased comprehensive (commonly referred to as “other than collision”), your personal auto policy may cover damage to your auto caused by flood, hail, or wind (including a tornado).  Comprehensive coverage typically pays for damage to your auto caused by events other than a collision, including theft, fire, flood, hail, and wind.  Comprehensive coverage also pays for a loss to your auto from contact with birds or animals or breakage of glass. 

 

Auto Note:  If you only purchased auto liability insurance and did not purchase comprehensive coverage for damage to your auto, your personal auto policy will not pay for damage to your auto caused by events such as flood, hail, or wind.  Auto liability insurance pays for injuries to other people or property of others that you, or a covered person, cause in an auto accident. 

 

Do You Need to File a Claim or Have Coverage Questions?

 

If you have damage that may be covered under your insurance policy or questions about your coverage, contact your agent or company as soon as practical.  

 

·       Be sure to keep a record of all contacts you have with your agent or company.  
·       Be prepared to answer questions about the extent and severity of the damage. 

 

Are You Temporarily Out of Your Home Due to Damage Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance Policy? 

 

If so, ask your agent about coverage that may be available to you for your additional living expenses (ALE).  Homeowners insurance policies pay for your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home because of a covered loss.  You will need to provide documentation regarding your expenses.

 

Flood Note:  Flood policies DO NOT cover your additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home due to a covered flood loss.

 

IMPORTANT: If you are making repairs prior to settling your insurance claim,  only make repairs necessary to protect your home and property from further damage, such as covering broken windows and holes to keep rain out. 

 

•       Don't make permanent repairs until instructed by your insurance company. 
•       Save all repair receipts. 

 

Tips That May Assist You With Your Claim

 

•       If you are temporarily out of your home, make sure your insurer knows where they can reach you.
•       Inspect your property and cars for damage.
•       Inventory your damage.
•       Photograph or video the damage.
•       Don’t throw away damaged property until your insurance adjuster has seen it.
•       Get your insurance company’s approval before you make any permanent repairs.

 

Try to be present when the insurance adjuster inspects the damage. Be sure your address is visible. If you moved out of your house temporarily, leave a note or a plywood sign with your temporary address, phone number, and name of your insurance company.

 

For additional information, contact the Office of Public Insurance Counsel at 512-322-4143.

David Nardecchia

 

In 1980, I went to work at the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). Early in my career I found a passion for property and casualty insurance. To broaden the scope of my knowledge, I took numerous property and casualty insurance classes and achieved the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) designation in 1995. I retired from TDI in 2010 as the Deputy Commissioner of Personal and Commercial Lines of Insurance. I have always enjoyed helping others, including assisting with their insurance-related issues. In 2012, I had the opportunity to come to the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC). Today, I share my knowledge and experience to help empower insurance consumers.