Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over ocean water and often move toward land. These large storms are dangerous and can cause damage to property as far inland as Austin – not just along the coastline. The Texas Gulf Coast and Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, and the busiest months for tropical storms are August through October. The peak of the season is Sept. 10. The average probability of a major hurricane hitting the continental U.S. coastline from 1880–2020 was 43%. Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle and westward to Houston and Brownsville average from 1880–2020 was 27%.
Hurricanes bring high destructive winds, hail, heavy rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Home insurance is a crucial aspect of homeownership and is required by your mortgage lender or bank when purchasing your house. A home policy helps provide protection and peace of mind in the event of unforeseen covered circumstances. Although, homeowners may be surprised to learn that their standard property insurance policy may not provide adequate coverage or as much coverage as hoped.
Does Home Insurance Protect Against Hurricanes?
When it comes to protecting against hurricane damage, the standard home insurance policy typically covers damage caused by brush fire, pop up summer thunderstorms, natural disasters such as tornadoes and even lightning strikes. However, the extensive damage hurricanes can cause may leave some homeowners without the comprehensive coverage they assumed was secured.
Damage caused by temporary overflow or rising water, a general and momentary condition of partial, or complete inundation, of what is normally dry land, is how flood is defined. According to research from the Insurance Information Institute (III), a home insurance typically does not cover this type of damage or flooding caused by hurricanes. Its important to note that even a storm surge would be considered flood damage. This coverage can be purchased with FEMA’s Flood Insurance program through the National Flood insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP provides insurance to help reduce the socio-economic impact of flooding and can help you rebuild your home. Since flood insurance must be purchased separately, many households are uninsured against this peril. NFIP has a 30 day waiting period unless required by the lender at closing or refinance of your property. Start your home owner’s and flood insurance quote now.
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Similar to flooding, in hurricane-prone regions, wind damage is sometimes excluded from the home policy but may also be purchased separately. This means that if a hurricane causes flooding or wind damage to your home or dwelling, you may not be fully protected by your standard home insurance policy. Ask your independent insurance broker agent if your policy covers hurricane damage. This lack of coverage for hurricane-related damage is a significant concern for homeowners, especially those residing in areas prone to higher risk. Some studies have shown that a significant number of property owners in these regions do not have insurance coverage for wind loss. However, coverage is available through Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) and provides wind and hail insurance to 14 Texas gulf coast counties when your homeowner policy does not. Start your home wind quote now.
Don’t panic! If you live in Central Texas, then most policies in Austin, San Antonio, Hill Country, and surrounding areas include coverage for wind hurricane claims. Review your policy or call your personal agent to confirm if you are unsure. As a reminder, check your policy to see whether a hurricane deductible applies to a claim depending on the specific “trigger,” which can vary by insurer and is typically linked to watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service.
Flood damage to vehicles, including flooding from a storm surge, is usually covered if you have purchased comprehensive coverage, also known as “other than collision” coverage, which is optional with a standard Texas automobile policy. As a reminder, floods are excluded on most Texas property and home policies.
For more resources check out these resources:
American Red Cross – How to prepare for emergencies
Flood Safety – https://www.austintexas.gov/department/flood-safety
Flooded Austin Road Closures – https://www.atxfloods.com/
Warn Central Texas – https://warncentraltexas.org/
Descriptions of insurance products and packages are meant to offer general ideas only, are necessarily brief, and are subject to policy provisions, limits, deductibles, exclusions, and conditions that can only be expressed in the policy itself. In the event of a conflict, the terms and conditions of your policy prevail. This information is provided solely as an insurance risk management tool. It is provided with the understanding that we are not providing advice or any other professional services. We shall have no liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damages alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the use of this information.