Early predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are that the 2018 hurricane season will be an active one with 10 to 16 named storms, and five to nine hurricanes. IIAT wants to remind all Texas coastal residents to be prepared as it just takes one hurricane to cause massive destruction to your property and vehicles and sometimes months or years for some areas to recover.
The Atlantic hurricane season starts Friday, June 1 and runs through November 30. Typically, Texas does not see any hurricanes make landfall until later in the season. September 13 is the peak of the hurricane season in Texas. Last year, on August 25, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast with Category 4 winds and record rainfall. Harvey became the costliest storm in Texas history and the second costliest in the nation’s history with losses exceeding $100 billion.
Preparing Your Insureds
Mark Hanna, an Insurance Council of Texas spokesperson, reminds Texans that if you live along the coast, you should be prepared for the worst and that includes having an evacuation plan, making sure you have the right type of insurance coverage, and checking the amount of coverage you have for your property.
For example, during Harvey, if you had comprehensive auto coverage and your car and/or truck was submerged in floodwaters, you had coverage to help cover the loss. If you had liability only coverage for your vehicle, your policy did not cover flood losses.
In addition, many Houston and Beaumont area homeowners did not have flood insurance coverage for their homes and had to try to navigate the FEMA process for claims. Some filed claims with their homeowners’ insurer mistakenly believing that their policy included flood coverage. Flood coverage is a separate policy and you can find additional information on flood coverage at https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program
Consumers should note that there is a 30-day waiting period for a flood policy to become effective. You should not wait until a storm has entered the gulf area to try and buy flood coverage.
“With enough rainfall, many areas of the state can flood,” said Hanna. “Even if flood insurance isn’t required by your mortgage lender, if you live near a flood zone or an area that’s been prone to recent flooding, you should consider buying a flood insurance policy. Living outside a flood plain is no guarantee that your home will not be flooded.”
“If you live along the Texas coast, you should have a homeowners policy, windstorm coverage, which may be offered separately in certain coastal counties, and consider buying flood insurance,” said Hanna. “An evacuation plan is a must; including having a “hurricane emergency kit” ready that includes items such as flashlights, water, batteries, and cell phone chargers.”
Tips for Consumers
- If you do not have flood insurance, remember that your homeowners’ policy does not cover flooding, and you’ll need to buy a separate policy. Also, there is a 30 day waiting period after you buy flood coverage so don’t wait until a storm is approaching the coast.
- Check and make sure your policy includes coverage for additional living expenses (ALE). ALE coverage is important because if you have to leave your home due to storm damage, ALE helps to pays for the cost of living elsewhere, like a hotel.
- Check your homeowner’s coverage amounts and make sure you have sufficient coverage in the event you need to rebuild your home and replace its contents.
- Check your auto coverage to make sure you have comprehensive coverage in the event of a flood event.
You can find more information on ICT’s Hurricane Central page which includes our latest 11-minute documentary on Hurricane Harvey and other information on Texas hurricanes and preparedness tips.
For more information on the upcoming hurricane season, click here.