Texas Regulators Urge Coastal Residents to Review Insurance Coverages

May 12, 2006

As hurricane season approaches, officials at the Texas Department of Insurance are reminding all Gulf Coast home and business owners that it is important to periodically review their insurance policies to ensure that coverages are adequate and up-to-date.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 through November, with peak activity usually occurring in August and September. Weather forecasters have predicted a very active hurricane season this year.

TDI offers these tips to help ensure your home or business is adequately protected:

–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 over time and insurance policies should 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 may be able to obtain insurance coverage for windstorm or hail damage from a special insurance pool called the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). 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 website 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 on currently owned property, 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 (800) 252-3439 or visit the TDI Web site at www.tdi.state.tx.us.

Source: TDI

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