June 1 is the start of the hurricane season and the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) urges Texas coastal residents to start preparing now and take time to review their homeowner and auto insurance protection, update their evacuation plans, and make an inventory of their property. Once a hurricane is approaching the Texas coast, it may be too late to take needed actions.
“Take care of your insurance needs today rather than risk a storm forming in the gulf and trying to scramble for coverage. You cannot purchase a windstorm policy once a named storm is in the gulf and a flood insurance policy takes effect 30 days after purchase,” said Mark Hanna, an ICT spokesperson.
Hurricanes can cause the most widespread damage of any weather event in Texas. Check with your agent or insurance company for advice on the right amount of coverage for your home and property.
In addition, ICT strongly encourages anyone living near the Texas coast, who is not already required to do so, to consider purchasing flood insurance. Homeowners can purchase flood insurance from any insurance agent. Generally, a homeowners’ insurance policy does not provide protection from floodwaters. Most flood insurance policies come from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For more information on flood insurance, click here floodsmart.gov/.
The last two hurricanes to hit Texas, Hurricanes Harvey and Ike, in 2017 and 2008, respectively, caused billions of dollars in auto, home, and flood losses. Hurricane Ike had a 22-foot storm surge sending floodwaters several miles inland all along the upper Texas coast and caused $12 billion in insured losses. Hurricane Harvey caused more than 717,000 claims with $19 billion in insured property losses. Harvey’s record rainfall flooded homes, vehicles, and businesses in more than 50 Texas counties, leaving thousands of Texans homeless, businesses closed, and flooding an estimated 250,000 vehicles with auto insured losses of $3.5 billion. Overall, insured flood losses from Hurricane Harvey totaled approximately $10 billion, but the losses suffered from uninsured homeowners may have topped $100 billion.
Historically, for Texas, the peak of the hurricane season is in September, but hurricanes can and do form earlier. In June 2001, Tropical Storm Allison came ashore and stalled over Houston, dropping 40 inches of rain resulting floodwaters that submerged thousands of homes and caused major damage to the Texas Medical Center and downtown businesses.
Homeowners should act now and take steps to protect their lives and property by preparing an evacuation plan, having an emergency safety kit, and conducting a home inventory.
- An evacuation plan is a life-saving action that allows family members to know what role they play in getting out of harm’s way. If advised to evacuate, every plan includes how you will leave and where you will go.
- An emergency safety kit is an essential item with every evacuation plan. This kit contains non-perishable food, water, prescriptions, important documents including your insurance, cell phones and chargers, cash, toiletries and clothing. Pets require a similar kit.
- Recording all of your personal property with photos or video and securing this information away from your home becomes invaluable when filing a claim.
In August, ICT representatives and other insurance and weather experts will be visiting Texas coastal counties to help educate local media and consumers about hurricane preparedness and insurance coverages. We will have more information on the August “ICT Hurricane Tour” later this summer.
For more information on the upcoming hurricane season, visit here insurancecouncil.org/hurricane-central/.