Weather Center

Why You Might Need Windstorm Insurance

By Peter Simek 10.1.18

It’s not something you want to think about when the latest of the season’s hurricanes move into the Gulf of Mexico: Does my property insurance policy protect me against wind damage?

Or, do I have enough windstorm insurance protection to repair my home if it is badly damaged?

Unfortunately, storms packing heavy wind and rain are a fact of life for most Texans, particularly those who live along the coast. And while wind and hail damage are covered under many property insurance policies, many Texans have to purchase an additional windstorm insurance policy.

Do You Need Windstorm Coverage?

If you live near the coast, you may be required to purchase a windstorm insurance policy issued by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). But that doesn’t always mean you’ll be covered in the event of a major storm, says David Weathersby, Texas Farm Bureau Insurance’s Robstown agency manager.

Weathersby says continual increases in the cost of rebuilding, as well as new building code requirements, can catch some homeowners unprepared.

“We try to get with them and keep the policies updated,” Weathersby says. “The cost of building materials keeps going up. Then there have been instances when they weren’t insured for enough. Then they have to be built back to code.”

What’s Covered by a Windstorm Policy?

As a rule of thumb, windstorm insurance will cover any damages caused by a storm that occurs above the flood-level line. This includes parts of your home damaged by wind, hail, or rain. Policies may also cover additional unforeseen costs of removing debris or replacing spoiled food.

Unlike flood insurance, which is regulated and underwritten by the federal government, windstorm insurance is regulated and underwritten by TWIA, the state’s association. TWIA was established by the Texas Legislature in 1971 in the aftermath of Hurricane Celia, and the agency sets rates and coverages for all windstorm policies purchased in the state.

It also sets rules on when windstorm insurance can be purchased. Often, homeowners are caught off guard when they discover that they can’t purchase or amend a policy after a storm has entered the Gulf of Mexico.

Assessing Accurate Replacement Costs

Weathersby recommends that homeowners visit with their Agent every year to assess the replacement cost of their home. Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agents use the Boeckh system, which can evaluate the replacement cost based on the size of the house, its building materials, and other factors. It’s an accurate and useful tool, Weathersby says, that can help give you peace of mind ahead of the next storm.

“The best thing is to give your Agent a call and sit down and go through the coverages with them,” Weathersby says. “Because along the coast, it is not if, but when a storm will hit.”

Wondering if you might need to add to your property insurance? Call your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent; they’ll help you figure out your options.

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