Could Your Property Be Damaged by High Winds?
Is coverage for wind and hail damage excluded from your home’s insurance policy? If it is, you may need to purchase additional wind and hail insurance coverage. If your home sustains wind or hail damage, you may also need the services and advice of a Texas storm damage lawyer.
Which homeowners in Texas may need to purchase additional insurance coverage for wind and hail damage? How does wind and hail insurance coverage work? Who provides that coverage in Texas? And when will a homeowner need to contact a Texas wind damage attorney?
Read on to find the answers that you and your loved ones may need after your home suffers severe storm damage from wind or hail.
Which Texas Homeowners Need Additional Coverage?
If you live in a high-risk coastal area of the state, a standard homeowners policy for your Texas home might exclude wind and hail coverage.
The Texas counties that are considered high-risk include: Willacy, San Patricio, Refugio, Nueces, Matagorda, Kleberg, Kenedy, Jefferson, Galveston, Chambers, Cameron, Calhoun, Brazoria, and Aransas, along with some cities east of State Highway 146 in Harris County.
Is Wind and Hail Coverage Required?
Texas law does not require a homeowner to carry wind and hail coverage, but if wind and hail coverage is excluded from your policy, you may nevertheless have to purchase separate wind and hail insurance coverage for your home.
Why? Because most Texas mortgage lenders, to protect their investments, require borrowers to have comprehensive homeowners insurance that includes wind and hail coverage. If your home is in a high-risk flood zone, a mortgage lender may also require you to have flood insurance.
In Texas, wind and hail insurance coverage may be purchased from a specialty insurance provider or through the Texas Wind Insurance Association (TWIA).
What is the TWIA?
The TWIA is the “insurer of last resort” for Texas homeowners in high-risk areas. The TWIA provides wind and hail insurance coverage to homeowners who live in these areas and who have been rejected for wind and hail coverage by at least one private insurance company.
A windstorm policy purchased from the Texas Wind Insurance Association covers the cost of wind and hail damage to your home, including:
- repairs to your home’s physical structure
- replacement of furniture, clothes, and appliances damaged by wind or hail
- removal of fallen trees and other debris
- emergency and temporary repairs to protect against additional losses
You can also purchase an add-on to the policy that will cover your food, lodging costs, and other expenses if severe wind or hail end up forcing you to leave your home.
What Does TWIA Wind and Hail Coverage Cost?
As of 2023, the average cost of a wind and hail policy from the TWIA is about $1,750 a year. Unlike most homeowners insurance companies, the Texas Wind Insurance Association doesn’t consider a homeowner’s credit score when it determines the cost of a wind and hail policy.
Instead, the exact cost of a wind and hail policy is determined by the policy’s coverage limits, the type of home construction, your deductible amount, and any optional coverages you add (such as an add-on to cover food and lodging).
If Your Property Damage Claim is Rejected
Homeowners insurance policies typically require swift action after your property sustains wind or hail damage. Take photos of the damage, file your claim before the deadline, and maintain a record of your discussions and correspondence with your insurance company.
Especially after a devastating storm, thousands of damage claims may be filed, and an insurance company may be intentionally seeking to reduce its payouts. Homeowners in this situation may expect “lowball” settlement offers, or a homeowner’s damage claim may even be denied.
What Steps Should Homeowners Take?
If your damage claim is rejected or the insurance company makes a lowball settlement offer, it may become difficult or impossible to recover from wind or hail damage and have the home repaired. If your claim is not handled properly, promptly contact a Texas storm damage attorney.
Retaining a storm damage lawyer and having that lawyer contact your homeowners insurance company in writing is sometimes all that it takes to generate an acceptable settlement offer from the insurance company.
If a letter does not bring about the response you need, you may have to file a lawsuit to recover your payout. Your lawyer will attempt to negotiate, but if the insurance company refuses to negotiate with your lawyer, he or she can ask the court to order the company to pay your claim.
What is the Deadline for Taking Legal Action?
If you have to bring a lawsuit against your homeowners insurance company in order to recover the payout you need, you have two years from the date that the claim was denied or underpaid to file the lawsuit, but you can’t wait for two years to consult a Texas wind damage attorney. Do it at once.
Your first consultation with a Texas storm damage attorney is provided with no obligation or cost, and you will not pay a lawyer’s fee out of pocket; if the insurance company ends up paying you a settlement after a lawsuit is filed, they will pay your attorney’s fees also.
If your homeowners insurance company was negligent or operated in bad faith, a court may also order the company to pay your lawyer’s fees and other legal costs – along with the original amount of the claim. But how can you know which storm damage attorney to choose?
Meet the Attorneys at Flores & Pelaez-Prada
The Texas storm damage attorneys at Flores & Pelaez-Prada know how to prevail against insurance companies on behalf of our clients. With law offices in both San Antonio and McAllen and soon North Texas, we represent homeowners in high-risk areas and homeowners across the State of Texas
We provide personalized legal advice regarding your homeowners insurance and your property damage claim, we explain how the law applies in your own circumstances, and we aggressively and effectively represent Texas homeowners when their property damage claims are rejected.
Learn more – or begin the legal process today – by contacting Flores & Pelaez-Prada at 855-786-7674 (or 855-STORMS-4) to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation.
Our practice focuses specifically on helping Texas homeowners deal with their insurance companies. At Flores & Pelaez-Prada, we are prepared and ready to help you.