Insurance and Finance

Texas’ Top Winter Weather Claims by Region

By Garrett Davis 12.4.18

When winter storm Benji covered 2,200 miles of the U.S. in snow last year, parts of Texas that hadn’t seen snow in years got blanketed. Last winter, areas as far south as Brownsville had sleet, rain, and snow that shut down interstates and caused major traffic wrecks along the storm’s path.

With disastrous weather comes a rise in winter weather claims — a stress no family wants over the holidays. These are some of the top insurance claims Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agents see in Texas over winter.

North Texas: Sleet and Snow

“Winters are about as crazy as the summers, and you really never know what to expect,” says Dennis Smith, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance agency manager in Lancaster. Smith says most of the winter weather claims he sees each year are for vehicle accidents caused by driving in sleet. He recommends that if individuals don’t have to get out during freezing conditions, they should stay indoors to minimize accident risk.

East Texas: Side-of-the-Road Breakdowns

Even in areas that traditionally experience fair winter weather, freezing cold can hit, taking inexperienced drivers by surprise. “If we get any form of ice here, we’ll have wrecks because people aren’t used to driving on it,” says David Madden, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Longview. “I drove from Lubbock to Longview in 2002 and got stranded on I-20 with a 4-year-old. We were in the vehicle overnight.”

Madden recommends keeping additional resources in the car with you in case of emergencies during holiday trips between towns. Maintaining your vehicle’s working condition—refilling wiper fluid and antifreeze—can also prevent costly and dangerous side-of-the-road breakdowns.

West Texas: Freezing Pipes

Rudy Good III, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Amarillo, says freezing pipes rack up the most property insurance claims he sees when winter rolls around.

“We’ll see freezing pipes on homes where the pipes aren’t insulated enough,” Good says.

Central Texas: Fires and Black Ice

When Texas sends brisk gusts of chilly wind through the central part of the state, the immediate reaction is to start up the fireplace. But Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Teresa Schneider says you might want to check your chimney before doing so.

“Regular chimney maintenance is highly recommended due to creosote buildup. I always suggest hiring a chimney sweep if you can’t do the maintenance yourself,” Schneider says. “Birds will also build nests over the summer,” which make for an immediate fire hazard during the winter months, according to Schneider.

Black ice is also common in Central Texas, and Schneider often sees vehicle claims involving ice-related incidents during winter. “People think that driving on a road that looks fine is safe, but if it has a light film of black ice over it, they go spinning.”

South Texas: Wind and Flooding

You’re in luck, South Texas — your winter season is much milder than the rest of the state’s. However, the coast may experience different winter weather problems all together.

Noey Flores, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Corpus Christi, cites wind and flood damage as two of the most common winter weather claims she sees in her region. “The wind damage usually consists of fences down or shingles blown off, and flooding is usually toward vehicles,” says Flores.

Flores recommends practicing safe driving during heavy flooding, refraining from driving in submerged areas, and parking cars higher up in driveways instead of on the sides of the street. It’s also a good idea to board up windows when a serious storm is coming to prevent wind damage. These simple precautions could be the deciding factor in mitigating home and vehicle damage.

No matter the area, winter weather poses risks to everyone. This season, be sure you know what kind of weather claims are common in your region and double-check that your insurance plans are drafted accordingly through Texas Farm Bureau Insurance. Your Agent will be happy to sit down and talk through your policies.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2018 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance