Questions to Ask Your Realtor BEFORE You Buy Property Insurance on the Texas Coast
1. Is Windstorm Insurance mandatory? Do I really need it?
Mortgage companies typically require full coverage. In the event you decide to sell your home the Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8) is an excellent selling point which proves code compliance and provides eligibility for windstorm coverage.
2. If I have flood insurance, isn’t that all I need?
No. A flood policy does not cover ANY damage to a structure due to wind and hail.
3. Are all counties affected by Windstorm requirements? Is this house in a windstorm (high wind) area (First Tier County)?
Just the counties which border the Gulf of Mexico (First Tier Counties). Chambers, Jefferson, Galveston, Brazoria, Matagorda, Calhoun, Refugio, San Patricio, Aransas, Nueces, Kleberg, Kenedy, Willacy, and Cameron.
4. Is the house currently insured for wind and hail insurance?
The Certificate of Compliance (WPI-8) is “proof of eligibility” for wind and hail insurance coverage through the State’s catastrophe pool, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). Homeowners may contact TDI at www.tdi.state.tx.us for more information about the Windstorm Inspection Program or search for the Certificate online.
5. What is the claims history of this house? What repairs have been made?
The current insurance agent should have answers to all questions concerning the coverage on this structure. Including any claims filed.
6. Can I insure just the roof?
No. The entire structure must be insured to meet applicable code standards.
7. Who can conduct windstorm inspections?
An employee of TDI’s Windstorm Inspections Division, or an engineer who has been appointed by the Commissioner of Insurance.
8. What if the house does not pass inspection? What is my alternative/next step?
Completed structures can be certified by appointed engineers once deficiencies are corrected and code compliance met.
Texans living and working along the Gulf Coast should review their homeowners and commercial insurance policies prior to hurricane season to ensure they are covered against losses caused by wind and hail.
Some insurance companies provide wind and hail coverage, while others do not.
If your company has excluded wind and hail coverage from your policy, shop around. You may be able to find another company that offers wind and hail coverage in your area. If you can’t find a company providing the coverage, ask your insurance agent about purchasing insurance from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). TWIA is the state’s insurer of last resort for wind and hail coverage when homeowners and business owners are denied coverage in the 14 coastal counties.
TWIA Structure Eligibility Requirements
•TWIA’s coverage territory includes Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Willacy counties.
• Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) building specifications. New structures, alterations, additions, or repairs to existing structures, including re-roofs or roof repairs must be inspected by a TDI inspector or an engineer who has been appointed by the Commissioner of Insurance. There is no fee for any inspection conducted by TDI. All inspections must be made during the construction phase.
Shopping for Insurance
• Use an insurance agent to help you shop. Some agents represent only a single company or company group. Independent agents may represent several companies. To find an agent near you visit www.helpinsure.com, a free service of the state.
• Make sure your insurance agent and company are licensed.
• Use TDI’s Homeowners Insurance Price Comparisons.
• Understand homeowners policy types and coverages.
• Decide whether you need other coverages. Homeowners policies do not cover damage caused by rising waters. You can buy a separate policy to cover most types of flooding from the National Flood Insurance Program. www.floodsmart.gov.
• Consider factors other than price. A company’s complaint history and financial rating can indicate the level of service you will receive.
• Ask about payment options and discounts, choose the highest deductible you can afford, and know how your credit score affects you.
Contact TDI for more answers to insurance questions at www.tdi.state.tx.us
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