Homeowners insurance does not cover wind related damages. Before you buy check to see how you will insure the property and how much it will cost. Most insurance carriers have dropped windstorm insurance coverage after 2005. If you live in one of the 14 first-tier coastal counties in Texas your lender may not loan you money as they (nor you) are not protected from wind related insurance claims. These 14 coastal counties are designated as a high wind catastrophie area .
The windstorm construction program started in the mid-1980's in Texas through the Texas Dept. of Insurance. The windstorm certification process starts before the foundation is poured and onward through construction.
Contact the Texas Dept. of Insurance Windstorm Division for more information at 1-800-248-6032 and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association at (512) 899-4900.
Before you buy do your required due diligence and see if the property is insurable and at what price.
Map of Texas Counties Affected
Map of Harris County & Cities Affected
What is the Windstorm Insurance Program?
Questions to Ask Your Realtor BEFORE You Buy
Don't Be Caught Without Windstorm Insurance
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Approval Process for Properties Without a Windstorm Certificate (Subject to Change)....... Download
As a result of Katrina and Rita, Harris County was also deemed a high wind area by insurers with some of them dropping windstorm insurance coverage from homeowner policies.
For more information about obtaining or maintaining windstorm insurance coverage when you build, remodel, add-on, repair or re-roof a structure, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) encourages you to contact your insurance agent or the Windstorm Inspection Division of TDI.
The information contained on the Windstorm Inspection Program's webpage is applicable only to structures located in the following 14 First Tier Counties along the Texas Gulf Coast as indicated in section 3(k)(1) of Article 21.49 of the Insurance Code: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Willacy or in one of the cities east of State Highway 146 in Harris County (La Porte, Morgan's Point, Pasadena, Seabrook, Shoreacres) if the property owners are seeking wind and hail coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
Movie - Animated Hurricane Winds - USA Today
Movie - Learn the Source of Power Which Drives Hurricane Motion Across the Ocean - NASA movie
Against the Wind - Protect Your Home .....Download
Cut Your Risk of Tree Damages
Movies - Strengthening Homes and Safeguarding Families from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes - Animated How-To Movies
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Blueprint for Safety
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FEMA Maps of Your Property
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Has the home previously flooded? Had damages? Had a fire? Water pipes break? Hail damage? How do you know if if it's not being disclosed? You can find out by having your insurance company look at the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) and the windstorm records should be reviewed. This is part of your due diligence when looking at homes. Be smart. Do your homework.
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You certainly don't want to forget to find out about insurance availability if you plan to live in a hurricane zone. Increasingly due to insurance reforms and cancellations I receive numerous phone calls a month from homeowners that were just notified by their insurance carrier that they do not have a windstorm insurance certificate and are facing increases in insurance. You see, homeowners insurance does not cover anything that is wind related (storms, hurricanes, etc.) so if you live in a designated catastrophie zone you need windstorm insurance as a separate policy. Windstorm insurance rates are typically higher than homeowners insurance rates.
If the property was built in the era of 1988/1989 along the first tier coastal counties and east of Hwy 146 in Harris County then you should check to see if a windstorm insurance certificate is on file. Again, homeowner's policies do not cover flood or claims caused by high wind, storms, hurricanes, etc.
This was harshly felt after hurricanes Katrina and Rita when insurance companies decided to drop windstorm insurance to avoid the monetary risks. After hurricane Ike many found out what insurance does not cover and the harsh realities of deductibles and inadequate coverage.
A windstorm insurance certificate search can be easily done by your insurer or the real estate sales agent at time of listing or your home inspector. This is should be done prior to entering into a contract of sale. If you bought a home that did not have a windstorm certificate and no one told you then that could be negligence. Some newer properties do not have windstorm certicates due to builder neglect which makes insurance more expensive and in some cases, doubtful. This may appear to have a substantial market value impact on the property.
Older properties currently enrolled into the windstorm program without certificates may continue to obtain insurance but at a higher cost.
A windstorm insurance certificate (WPI-8) for the home means the property was designed, inspected during construction and certified by the windstorm engineer hired by the builder (or owner) to meet the required windstorm construction codes with all the necessary straps, anchors, bolts, hold-downs and nailing. This includes the foundation, roof shingles, exterior and interior walls and roof structure for the wind loads to be imposed.
All properties (regardless of age) in the Gulf Coast should be checked for windstorm insurance certificates or windstorm availability as they also apply to renovations, repairs, re-roofing, siding, door and window replacements, patio covers and additions to name a few. If it wasn't approved then it may be considered substandard construction.
In one case it took the insurance carrier 5 years to figure out there was no windstorm certificate. To put it simply, if you do not have all the insurance necessary to protect the property and the loan from windstorm, the lender can step in and mandate action. Some state insurance laws allow issurers up to 60 days after issuing a policy to thrououghly review all the underwriting information, including CLUE reports,and cancel a policy if new information comes to light that makes the risk unacceptable to the insurer. A homeowner's policy must be in place at closing and since many homebuyers leave purchasing a homeowner's policy at the last minute, the insurer may not have checked all the underwriting material by the time closing takes place. This may leave issues that could arise after the home is closed and the buyer has moved in.
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