PREPARING FOR HURRICANE SEASON
Hurricane season officially begins in Texas on June 1 and runs through the end of November, with peak hurricane activity typically occurring in August and September. Weather forecasters have predicted an above-average likelihood of a major hurricane striking along the Texas Gulf Coast this year. Although residents of coastal areas are most at risk, tropical storm systems can travel hundreds of miles inland, creating the potential for wind damage and flash flooding throughout the state. Planning ahead can help you protect yourself, your family, and your property during hurricane season.
Before a Hurricane
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Make certain your homeowners or commercial property coverage is current and that it provides adequate coverage to pay the full replacement cost of your property. Read your policy carefully! Make sure you understand what the policy does and does not cover and what your policy's limits are. You may have to buy separate policies to cover wind, hail, and flood damage.
Windstorm insurance. If your property is located in one of Texas' 14 coastal counties or parts of southeastern Harris County, your policy might exclude coverage for windstorm and hail damage. You'll need to purchase this coverage separately 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 must meet certain windstorm-resistant building standards. You cannot buy or change TWIA coverage once a hurricane has entered the Gulf of Mexico. For more information about windstorm coverage, call TWIA (512) 899-4900 or visit its website.
For information about the windstorm inspection program, call the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Windstorm Inspections Division (512) 248-6032 or visit the TDI website.
Flood insurance. Homeowners and commercial property policies do not pay for flood damages caused by rising waters. To protect yourself from losses caused by most flooding, you'll need to purchase 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 do not have a policy, you should obtain one as soon as possible. For more information about flood insurance, contact the NFIP, 1-888-FLOOD29 (356-6329).
Hurricanes. Ready.gov, FEMA. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
Are You Prepared for Hurricane Season?. TDI.TEXAS.GOV. Texas Department of Insurance. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/hurricane.html