During this already active hurricane season, officials at the Texas Department of Insurance are reminding all Gulf Coast home and business owners that is important to periodically review your insurance policies to ensure that coverages are adequate and up-to-date.
Ideally this kind of review should be done before the June 1 start of hurricane season, but it’s not too late. Hurricane season runs through November, with peak activity usually occurring in August and September. Weather forecasters have predicted a very active hurricane season with an above-average likelihood of a major hurricane striking the Texas Gulf Coast this year.
TDI offers these tips to help ensure your home or business is adequately protected:
–Call your insurance agent to review coverage and policy limits. Make certain your homeowners or commercial property coverage is in force and that it provides adequate coverage to pay the full replacement cost of your property. Make sure you understand what the policy does and does not cover. If you’ve made improvements to your home, consider increasing your policy’s limits to cover the enhanced value of the property. Even without recent improvements, property values increase overtime and insurance policies have to be adjusted accordingly.
— Find out whether you need windstorm insurance. If your property is located in one of Texas’ 14 coastal counties, or parts of southeastern Harris County, you will likely only be able to obtain insurance coverage for windstorm or hail damage from a special insurance pool called the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). To qualify for TWIA coverage, your property must pass a windstorm inspection and meet windstorm-resistant building standards. It’s important to note that you cannot buy or change TWIA coverage once a hurricane is in or near the Gulf of Mexico. If you currently have TWIA coverage, review your policy carefully and know your policy limits. Compare your TWIA and homeowners policies and make sure you are insured to an appropriate replacement value. For more information about windstorm coverage, call TWIA at (512) 899-4900 or visit its Web site at www.twia.org.
–Consider flood insurance. Homeowners and commercial property policies specifically exclude coverage for damage from flooding. To protect yourself from losses caused by rising water, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period after the purchase date before coverage takes effect, so if you don’t have a policy, you should obtain one as soon as possible. For more information, contact NFIP at 1-888-FLOOD 29 (356-6329).
–Contact TDI if you need more information. Call 1-800-252-3439 or visit TDI’s Web site at www.tdi.state.tx.us.
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