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Don’t Be Caught Without Windstorm Insurance Coverage!
After the recent catastrophic hurricane seasons and with many people still trying to put their homes and lives back together, is your home covered for hurricane or other windstorm damage so you won’t be the next victim? If you live in a coastal region, then you know how devastating and costly a storm can be. Don’t let an unexpected storm, like Rita, cost you.
About the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association
The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) is the state’s insurer of last resort for windstorm and hail insurance coverage in the 14 coastal counties and parts of Harris County (east of Highway 146). Created by the Texas Legislature as a nonprofit organization, TWIA provides windstorm and hail coverages when private-market insurance companies exclude them from their residential or commercial policies sold to coastal residents. Because TWIA is the provider of last resort, we do not try to expand our customer base or actively compete against private insurance providers.
When Hurricane Celia struck the Texas coast in 1970, many insurance companies stopped offering policies in the Gulf Coast region. To protect consumers, the state stepped in, and in 1971, created the Texas Catastrophe Property Insurance Association, which is now called the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
TWIA is similar to other insurance carriers in that we have a written contract with our policyholders that specifies the extent and restrictions of the insurance coverages we provide. We collect premiums and pay valid claims. Our policies are distributed to policyholders through insurance agents, brokers and direct-writing insurance companies.
As a TWIA policyholder, your policy covers direct physical loss to the covered property caused by windstorm or hail unless the loss is excluded in the EXCLUSION section of your policy.
Ten Tips for Hurricane Preparedness
1. Be sure you have BOTH flood and windstorm insurance coverages. Flood insurance does not cover wind damage and windstorm insurance does not cover flood/storm surge damage.
2 .At least once a year, take an inventory of your property. Consider videotaping a "tour" of your belongings. Keep all property records in a location away from your home or business.
3. Insure your home or business for what it will cost to REPLACE the buildings and contents rather than basing coverage on the current market values. Deductibles vary; be sure you have chosen deductibles that you can afford should you have a loss.
4. Schedule an insurance "check-up" with your agent at least once a year well ahead of hurricane season.
5. If changes to your insurance coverage are needed, plan ahead. New policies and changes to current policies may not be accepted immediately prior to a hurricane. Also, since your mortgage company must be listed on checks for any loss payments, be sure TWIA has the correct name and address for your mortgage company.
6. Be sure you know how to report an insurance claim. Keep your agent’s contact information and policy numbers for your flood and TWIA policies with you at all times.
7. Read your insurance policies and know what is covered and what is not covered. If you are not sure, talk with your agent.
8. Take the time NOW to ensure that you and your family will be prepared when the next storm strikes.
9. Protect your home by keeping up with routine home maintenance.
10. You may be able to lessen wind damage to your home by making some simple structural upgrades.