Texas has its fair share of volatile weather, including hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, floods, and drought-induced wildfires. Regardless of where you live, it’s a good idea to have a policy that protects you and your home from the unpredictability of the elements.
How Much Does Texas Home Insurance Cost?
In 2010, the average annual premium for homeowners insurance in Texas was $1,560, according to the Insurance Information Institute. However, your premium will vary based on things like your home’s age and condition. Older homes may be more expensive to insure, and some companies may not even insure a house in poor condition. Insurance companies also consider the construction materials of your home and its location within Texas, as well.
Some companies also offer discounts for homeowners who take steps to reduce the chances of property loss. For example, companies offer discounts if a homeowner has burglar, fire, and smoke alarm systems, fire extinguishers, a good claims history, and more, according to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). The types of discounts offered may vary by insurance company, so make sure to check with your provider to see what they offer. Additionally, everything from your home’s proximity to emergency service providers to your personal credit score might come into play when determining premiums.
What Does It Cover?
Most policies cover damage caused by fire and lightning, smoke, vandalism, theft, and other perils. The coverage typically includes the building itself, your property within the building, liability insurance in case someone else is injured on your property, and additional living expenses if you need to move elsewhere if the damage to your home is too great. A standard component of most policies is liability coverage, which provides coverage if someone is injured on your property and you or someone in your household is found legally responsible. This could include instances in which someone falls and breaks a bone, or if your dog bites a person, on your property. The coverage, which starts at $25,000, pays for medical expenses and court fees. Additional coverage up to $1 million can be purchased, according to the TDI.
Do I Have to Get Home Insurance in Texas?
Although home insurance isn’t required by law in Texas, it will likely be required by a lender if you finance the purchase of your home. The Texas Department of Insurance has more info.
Optional Coverage to Consider
- Flood. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. If you live in at at-risk area, such as Galveston Island, you can purchase a flood insurance policy, which covers your home and your property in the event of a flood, though a private insurance company or through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you live in an at-risk area, your lender may require you to purchase a flood insurance policy. Flood insurance is important in at-risk areas, which have a 1% chance of being flooded in any year, according to the TDI.
- Fire and Lightning. Fire and lightning damage is typically covered under most homeowners insurance policies. The coverage includes damage done to the structure of your home, to your property, including appliances, furniture, and clothes, as well as reimbursement for temporary living expenses if the home is too damaged to live in. Generally speaking, a more expensive insurance policy will provide a greater degree of coverage, so check your options when you’re shopping for a new policy.
- Windstorm. Although windstorm and hail damage is normally covered in a regular policy, it is typically not covered for residents of Texas’ 14 coastal counties. The frequency of hurricanes landing along any 50 mile segment of coastline is is once every six years, according to the National Weather Service. Because of that, Insurance companies typically require homeowners to purchase additional coverage. Windstorm insurance can be purchased from insurance companies or, for qualified individuals, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).
- Earthquake. Earthquake insurance in Texas is inexpensive because seismic events that cause significant damage are rare. In fact, only 110 earthquakes have exceeded a magnitude of 3.0 between 1847 and 1994, according to the Texas State Historical Association. The strongest recorded earthquake occurred in West Texas in 1931. It ranked 5.8, or moderate, on the Richter scale, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS indicates that West Texas is the only seismic hazard region in the state. Although damage from earthquakes in the region have historically been minor, careful homeowners may want to purchase earthquake insurance just in case.
Mobile Home Insurance in Texas
In Texas, stationary mobile homes, meaning those without wheels and are sitting on a permanent foundation, qualify for an insurance policy. A mobile home insurance policy is similar to a homeowners insurance policy in that it covers the structure, property within, and it offers liability protection as well as additional living expenses reimbursement if the home is too damaged to live in. According to the TDI, mobile home insurance policies typically offer extremely limited coverage, so make sure to check with your insurance company to see what they cover.