Omar Ochoa Law Firm

Does Home Insurance Cover Wind Damage in Texas?


April 24, 2024


Omar Ochoa

April 23, 2024

April 24, 2024

Was Your Wind Damage Claim Denied?

Don’t let insurance technicalities prevent you from rebuilding after an unexpected weather event. Reach out to Omar Ochoa Law Firm for a free consultation and get the compensation you need!

Texas is prone to strong winds, including tornadoes and hurricanes, which can cause significant damage to homes and property. Just consider these recent events:

  • The January 2023 tornadoes in the Houston area caused an estimated $4.6 billion in property damage.
  • In March 2016, severe storms with large hail and strong winds caused considerable damage in north Texas, with estimated losses of $2.7 billion.

With this in mind, it's crucial for Texans to understand whether their home insurance covers wind damage. This post will examine the particulars of wind damage coverage and how to make sure your home is protected.

Home Insurance Cover Wind Damage in Texas

Does Standard Home Insurance Cover Wind Damage in Texas?

Texas’s guidelines regarding wind damage coverage in standard homeowners insurance are unique compared to other states. Here's a breakdown.

Coverage Basics

Just like elsewhere in the country, home insurance in Texas typically covers wind damage. This applies to damage caused by wind events like tornadoes, hurricanes, and strong thunderstorms.

The “But”

There's an important exception for certain areas of Texas: in coastal counties with a high risk of windstorms, standard homeowners insurance policies might exclude wind damage coverage. This is especially true for areas directly on the Gulf Coast, which are more susceptible to hurricanes and powerful storms.

Some examples of high-risk coastal areas include:

  • Galveston Island
  • Corpus Christi
  • South Padre Island
  • Beaumont-Port Arthur
  • The entire coastline of the Brownsville-Harlingen metropolitan area

If you live in one of these areas or anywhere along the Texas Gulf Coast, double-check your policy or contact your insurance company to see if windstorm coverage is included in your policy.

What Types of Wind Damage Does Standard Homeowners Insurance Cover in Texas?

What Types of Wind Damage Does Standard Homeowners Insurance Cover in Texas?

In Texas, standard home insurance usually covers wind damage caused by sporadic wind events. This applies to damage from strong winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms. 

Examples of covered wind damage include:

  • Damage to Your Home's Exterior: Roof shingles ripped off, siding blown away, windows broken by wind-borne debris.
  • Damage to Detached Structures: Carports, sheds, fences, or gazebos toppled or otherwise damaged by strong winds.

If you live in Texas and have a standard homeowners insurance policy, check your policy’s details to see if it includes windstorm coverage.

Understanding Wind Deductibles: Don't Get Blown Away by Out-of-Pocket Costs

With standard insurance, your deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance kicks in and covers the remainder of a claim. But with wind damage, there can be a separate deductible known as the wind deductible. This can be a real eye-opener, especially if it’s your first time considering it.

Here's the lowdown on wind deductibles.

They’re Separate from Your Standard Deductible

A wind deductible is an additional cost that applies on top of your regular homeowners insurance deductible. It applies specifically to claims for wind damage caused by storms, tornadoes, or strong winds.

They Can Be Percentage-Based or a Flat Fee

Wind deductibles are typically calculated as a percentage (usually 1%–5%) of the reconstruction value of your entire dwelling, not just your roof. In some cases, it might be a flat fee.

They Have a Big Impact on Out-of-Pocket Costs

A high wind deductible can significantly increase your financial burden after a windstorm. For example, with a 5% wind deductible and $200,000 in dwelling coverage, you'd pay $10,000 out of pocket before your insurance kicks in.

What Is Windstorm Insurance, and Why Might It Be Needed in Texas?

As discussed, standard home insurance in Texas generally covers wind damage, with a key exception for high-risk coastal areas. This is where windstorm insurance comes in.

Windstorm insurance is a separate policy or endorsement added to your existing homeowners insurance that specifically covers damage resulting from strong winds. It's designed to provide additional protection for homes in areas prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms.

There are a few reasons you might need windstorm insurance in Texas.

You Live in a Coastal County

If you reside in one of the high-risk coastal counties mentioned earlier, your standard homeowners policy will likely exclude wind damage. Windstorm insurance can fill this gap and offer crucial protection for your property.

Your Standard Policy Offers Limited Coverage

Even if you're not in a high-risk zone, your standard policy might have limitations on wind damage coverage, including restricted coverage amounts or high deductibles. Windstorm insurance can provide additional coverage or lower deductibles for more comprehensive protection.

It’s a Requirement of Your Mortgage

In some cases, your mortgage lender might demand that you have windstorm insurance as a condition of your loan. This applies especially to properties in coastal areas, where wind damage isn’t covered in standard homeowners policies.

Depending on the average weather conditions where you live, it can be a good idea to purchase separate wind insurance, even if it isn’t required.

Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA): Your Best Option If You’re Denied by Private Insurers

While windstorm insurance offers valuable protection, obtaining it through private insurance companies can be challenging in certain situations. Fortunately, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) offers an alternative option.

What Is TWIA?

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is the state-run insurer of last resort for windstorm and hail coverage in Texas. It was created to ensure that Texas homeowners have access to windstorm insurance, even if private insurers are reluctant to offer coverage due to the high risk of wind damage in certain areas.

Who Is Eligible for TWIA Coverage?

TWIA coverage is typically an option for homeowners who live in a designated TWIA area and are denied coverage by private insurers.

TWIA operates in specific parts of Texas, primarily the 14 coastal counties along the Gulf Coast and parts of Harris County. You can find a detailed map of TWIA’s service territory on their website. If you apply for windstorm coverage through a private insurance company and are turned down due to high risk, TWIA can provide a helpful means of protecting your property.

Things to Consider with TWIA

While TWIA provides vital coverage, there are some caveats to keep in mind.

Higher Premiums

Compared to private insurers, TWIA premiums can be significantly steeper due to the higher risk pool they cover.

Potential Assessments

In case of a catastrophic event that causes major losses, TWIA might levy assessments on all member insurance companies in Texas to help cover the costs. These assessments can ultimately be passed on to policyholders through increased premiums.

Longer Processing Times

TWIA might have longer processing times for claims compared to private insurance companies.

Choosing Between Private Windstorm Insurance and TWIA

The decision between private windstorm insurance and TWIA coverage comes down to your specific situation. The following considerations might make your choice a little easier.

Private Insurance

You might opt for private insurance if you can obtain windstorm coverage through a private insurer at a reasonable premium. In this case, it may be the preferred option due to potentially lower costs and faster claims processing.

TWIA Coverage

Consider TWIA if you live in a high-risk coastal area and are denied coverage by private companies, or if you want more comprehensive windstorm coverage. Despite its potential drawback, TWIA coverage might be a necessary option.

Keeping Your Home Safe from the Storm: Reviewing and Updating Your Wind Damage Coverage

Keeping Your Home Safe from the Storm: Reviewing and Updating Your Wind Damage Coverage

While standard homeowners insurance typically covers wind damage, it's important to ensure that your coverage is adequate to protect your property. Here's how to review and update your coverage for optimal wind protection.

Reviewing Your Current Coverage

The first step is to locate your existing home insurance policy, which outlines your coverage details, including wind damage. Look for sections related specifically to wind damage coverage. 

Pay close attention to:

  • Exclusions: Your policy may exclude wind damage altogether, especially if you live in a high-risk coastal area.
  • Coverage Limits: What’s the maximum amount your policy will cover for wind damage repairs?
  • Wind Deductible: This is the separate out-of-pocket cost you'll pay before your insurance starts covering repairs for wind damage.

Once you’ve reviewed your policy, the next step is to inventory your belongings. Having a detailed record of your belongings can expedite the claims process after a destructive storm. Keep a running list of the valuables in your home, complete with photos and videos.

Reassessing Your Needs

When assessing your needs, it’s crucial to account for life changes and home upgrades. Regularly evaluate your coverage requirements, especially following significant life events. Renovations that increase your home's value or expensive new possessions might call for increased coverage.

Additionally, if your risk profile changes (as it might if you were to move to a coastal area), your current coverage might not be sufficient. Reassess your needs periodically and consider purchasing additional windstorm insurance if necessary.

Seeking Professional Advice

Don't hesitate to reach out to your insurance agent. They can explain your specific coverage details, answer questions about wind deductibles, and help you determine whether you need additional windstorm insurance.

For a more comprehensive review, consider consulting a separate insurance broker or independent agent. That way, you can compare quotes from multiple insurers to find the coverage options that match your needs and budget.

By familiarizing yourself with your current coverage, taking stock of your evolving needs, and seeking professional advice, you can ensure that your Texas home has the wind damage protection it needs to weather any storm. Remember — a little preparation can go a long way in safeguarding your property and affording peace of mind in the face of unexpected events.

Get Help with Your Wind Damage Claim

If you’ve encountered issues filing a damage claim after a wind event, the experienced Texas wind damage lawyer at the Omar Ochoa Law Firm can represent you in your dealings with the insurance company. Contact us today to schedule a free case review!

Omar Ochoa

Omar Ochoa has been nationally recognized as one of the best young trial lawyers in the country. He's represented clients in federal and state courts and arbitrations throughout the United States and internationally. He is highly experienced in a wide range of complex litigation and has handled a variety of cases. He has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for clients of all types — from individuals to mid-sized business owners to multi-national companies.

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