Texas Hailstorms Highlight the Importance of Homeowners Insurance

28 Apr
Texas Hail and Flood Storms

For the state of Texas and cities like Houston, it is important to have wind/hail as well as flood insurance coverage.

Hailstorms in Northern Texas this year have done major damage to homes and vehicles, highlighting the need for every homeowner to carry comprehensive homeowners insurance.

According to the Insurance Council of Texas, hail damage in the second half of April has resulted in at least 60,000 auto insurance claims. Data shows that estimated losses from auto damage is expected to hit $65 million and damages to houses and businesses will be even higher.

Hailstorms have been particularly fierce this year with the cities of Denton and Wylie experiencing baseball size hail. There have also been reports of hail breaking through roofs and windows, resulting in significant losses. If your home was uninsured, you could be on the hook for those repair costs.

Am I covered?

A standard homeowners policy will cover hail damage but there are a couple of factors that you should be aware before making a claim.

  • Actual Cash Value: In most cases, hail damage is concentrated on the roof. While insurance will cover roof damage, your policy may take into account the age and condition of your roof before the storm, which could result in a lower payout. These policies pay out the actual cash value which takes into account the deprecation of the roof, which means you could be on the hook for a major portion of the roofing bill.
  • Percentage Deductible: In Texas, we have percentage deductible insurance policies so if you have one, the deductible for your roof will not be a set amount. The deductible amount will vary depending on the policy but can be 1-5 percent which means that if your home is insured for $200,000 and you have a 1 percent policy you would be responsible for the first $2,000 before the policy kicks in for the balance.

It is possible that your policy has a standard deductible of $500-$1,000 as percentage deductible policies are relatively new to the marketplace, check your policy or contact your insurance agent to see what type of deductible you have. 

What to do after a storm

If your house has been hit by a hailstorm its important to remain calm and assess the damage as soon as possible. Here are a few tips for handling post storm damage:

  • Inspect the exterior of your home: Carefully inspect the entire exterior of your home. Look for dents or damage to the siding of your home, paint and windows. Look for damage to any outdoor furniture as well as your landscaping. All of this would be covered by a homeowners policy.
  • Hold off on the roof: Climbing out on the roof can be dangerous and lead to a fall. It is best to wait for the insurance appraiser or have an independent roofer perform an inspection of your roof. They are not only experienced at working on a roof but can better assess the damage.
  • Contact your insurance company: If the damage is severe, contact your insurance agent immediately to start the claims process. Be sure to take notes about all interactions with your insurance company. Document the claim number, the name and title of the person you spoke with as well as details of the conversation. This can be helpful if there is a dispute later in the claim process.
  • Document the damage: You should take photos and video of the damage as soon as it is safe to be outside. Document all of the damage done to your home and vehicles.
  • Prevent further damage: Secure your home to prevent further damage. If any windows have been broken they should be boarded up to prevent further rain or water damage. If the roof has been compromised it should be covered with a tarp or other temporary repair to prevent water damage in the house.

Tips for Future Storms

Hail is always going to be an issue in Texas. In 2014, Texas ranked number two in the country for major hailstorms with 557 storms pounding the Lone Star state. Here are a couple of tips that may reduce future hail damage:

  • Impact Resistant: If you are building a house or remodeling, using impact resistant roofing materials will help reduce hail damage. There are a variety of materials, including specialty shingles that will help reduce damage from hail. Check with your insurer to see if they offer a discount for using these types of materials.
  • Storm Shutters: Storm shutters can help prevent damage to your windows and will often result in a discount on your insurance premium

Flood Damage

Many of the recent storms in Houston, Texas brought not only hail damage but flood damage as well. Unfortunately, flood damage is not covered by a standard homeowners policy.

In order to be covered for flood damage, you will need to carry a separate flood policy. Flood insurance is sold by individual agents but is backed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and pricing is set by the NFIP so there is no need to shop on price.

Flood insurance prices vary dramatically depending on where your property is located. Prices range from very reasonable to extremely expensive for oceanfront property but flood insurance can be a lifesaver if you home is severely damaged by a flood.

If you are looking for a new homeowners policy or flood insurance, we can help you. Please use our online quoting application to shop and compare Texas homeowners insurance quotes. You will experience and easy want to shop, compare and save more on your annual premiums. We look forward to working with you!

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