Despite covering a wide range of harmful incidents, known as perils, a standard home insurance policy (HO-3) won’t cover everything including damage from certain acts of nature. But by understanding the potential weaknesses your homeowners insurance policy may have ahead of time, as well as your options, you can better prepare for major losses and protect your finances. Since 2005, we’ve been helping homeowners in Texas protect their most valuable investment. Learn more about what is and is not protected by your homeowners insurance policy.
Which Area Is Not Protected by Homeowners Insurance in Texas?
Texas homeowners have a few areas that aren’t protected by homeowners insurance. Here are the most common examples you need to be aware of:
Of all of the things not covered by home insurance in Texas, flood damage might be the most inconvenient. This is more than just the increasing cost of flood damage, but also because of the increasing threat, it presents to Texans.
There are several reasons that flooding continues to be more and more common. Combined with the influx of residents to many areas causing an increase in construction, Texas is naturally prone to flooding.
Central Texas is home to the most likely place in all of North America to be afflicted by a flash flood. The appropriately named Flash Flood Alley stretches throughout much of Hill Country.
Areas in West Texas and North Texas such as the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area and El Paso, TX, can still contend with many flooding threats brought by severe thunderstorms.
The Gulf Coast region and South Texas are exposed to thunderstorms and similar situations as other portions of the Lone Star State, however, they also face serious threats from tropical storms and hurricanes.
For Texans to remain covered against flood damage to their homes, they’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy because home insurance policies won’t cover the loss.
General Wear and Tear
Homeowners have responsibilities for taking care of their homes. This includes minor repairs, making sure your home’s roof is in good working order, etc.
If you fail to hold up this part of the deal, don’t expect your home insurance provider to be there should you suffer a loss.
Homes that are in disrepair are more vulnerable. Smaller repairs will turn into larger ones and that means less integrity for your structure as well as more risk for insurers.
It’s your duty to keep your home up and mitigate smaller issues before they turn into problems that cost you money and may even cost you your coverage.
It’s common for homes in disrepair, particularly when it comes to roofs that haven’t been kept up, to lose coverage until the damaged area is repaired.
Earthquakes and sinkholes aren’t covered by your home insurance policy as they are considered earth movement.
While such perils are far from common, they do occur in Texas. Homes that are in West Texas are more at risk for this threat and additional coverage options such as earthquake insurance can help you protect your home.
Similar to wear and tear, pest infestations are not covered as they fall under the responsibility of the homeowner. This includes things such as termite damage, mice, etc.
Routine pest control methods can be applied by homeowners or professional services. While some extreme cases may present themselves, again, there are many services for this very reason, your claim will be denied if you make one for having too many pests.
Keeping your home clean and safeguarding through safe, protective measures is your best bet for combating pests.
Renovations done to your home because of a loss are one thing, but if you were to add a pool or another room to your home, you’ll have to pay for the expense out of your own pockets.
Furthermore, while your home is protected during a remodel, you’ll also need to notify your home insurance provider for the following reasons:
- The new portion of your home will need to be included for coverage.
- Different protections may be available to you during the construction phase of your remodel. They may even be required.
- Additions such as swimming pools require you to notify your provider as they are considered “attractive nuisances” and can raise your liability risk.
The same goes for upgrades and additions to other parts of your property that are also protected by your home insurance such as adding a guest house or a detached garage.
The good news is that your personal property is covered by a homeowners policy, but you’ll need to be mindful of your policy limits.
An excessive loss to your property, such as damage to a valuable collectible or should an expensive piece of jewelry become stolen, will only be covered up to the amount stated in your policy.
Additional coverage options and increasing your policy limits can help you avoid suffering such major losses and should be discussed with your insurance agent when enrolling.
From a liability standpoint, similar situations may arise. In the event someone is injured while visiting your home, you are covered, but only up to your policy’s limits.
Rising medical costs and the threat of expensive legal troubles can mean homeowners may need to look into increasing their limits involving liability as well as supplemental coverages such as an umbrella insurance policy.
Wind and Hail Damage
While many home insurance policies come with protection against wind and hail damage, some homes may require additional protection for such perils.
This is particularly common in areas at higher risk such as homes along the Gulf Coast which are more prone to dealing with tropical storms, gale force winds, and hurricanes.
Options are available, but every home is different. You’ll need to speak with your insurance agent while enrolling to avoid any coverage gaps for your property.
Damage to Utility Lines
If you suffer damage to the utility lines to your home, there are two important points all Texas homeowners should be aware of:
- You are responsible financially for restoring these lines.
- Your home insurance coverage won’t pay for these losses.
Repairing the utility lines connected to your home after a major storm only adds to the expenses you may face out of pocket as home insurance policies don’t cover such losses.
Blockages in sewer systems can lead to inconvenient, gross situations that can stink in more than one way. Sump dump and sewage issues are expensive dilemmas that aren’t covered by home insurance coverage.
Injuries to Members of Your Home
Covering medical expenses for the members of your family will require a separate health insurance policy or you’ll have to pay for it on your own. But accidental injuries to visitors are covered.
Texas Home Insurance Coverages
Getting to know which areas are not protected by most homeowners insurance can be better understood by looking at the many coverages that make up your house insurance.
A standard home insurance policy will protect your finances, your home, and your personal property from potential losses. Here’s how hazard insurance does it:
Coverage A: Dwelling
This portion of your policy is in place to protect your home. Its focus is helping you restore losses to the structure of your home, including attached garages, and will typically carry the largest policy limits because of this.
A common trap that homeowners can fall into is determining the amount of Dwelling Coverage that is needed. It’s one thing to have protection and another to have adequate coverage.
This problem occurs in Texas because homeowners will confuse the price they paid for their home with the amount it will cost to repair their home. This simply isn’t true.
Construction and labor costs continue to rise over time and what it may have cost to build your home 5, 10, or 15 years ago, likely will no longer apply. Without the right amount of coverage, this means if you are facing a loss, you could have to pay out of pocket to restore it.
Your Dwelling Coverage should be enough to completely rebuild the structure of your home in the event of a major loss such as a house fire or severe wind damage.
For the best results, it’s advised that homeowners in Texas revisit their coverage at least once a year.
By discussing the current market trends and your home’s needs with a licensed home insurance agent, you can ensure that you are always protected with coverage that fits your needs.
Coverage B: Other Structures
Just as your home requires protection, so too will any other structure on your property. Sheds, detected garages, and even fencing can become susceptible to many of the same threats.
Your Other Structures Coverage helps you restore these losses which otherwise would require you to pay for these repairs alone.
The amount you choose for your Dwelling Coverage will often affect the amount of protection found in Coverage B.
Home insurance companies base the amount of coverage you receive for the other structures on your property on the amount of protection you have for your home. Typically this means coverage levels equaling 10% of the amount of coverage you have for your dwelling.
Coverage C: Personal Property
Personal property being protected, regardless of whether or not it’s in your home, is a major benefit of your home insurance policy. This means damage and theft to your personal belongings can be covered by a claim.
But remember, policy limits exist and while you’re covered for many perils, you’ll also need additional limits or coverage options for more expensive possessions.
Coverage D: Loss of Use
Smaller claims are very important but when the loss suffered by a homeowner is so great that it causes a home to become uninhabitable, your protection proves just how important it is.
Should you suffer damage that would destroy your home, life still goes on. You’ll still need to eat and provide shelter for your household.
Loss of Use Coverage is there to help you pay for hotels and dining options while you wait for your home to be repaired.
Coverage E: Personal Liability
Liability can be a major concern for Texas homeowners. Injuries that occur on your property to visitors can mean costly medical bills and potential lawsuits. Your home insurance policy, however, will provide coverage for such circumstances.
Coverage E will also come in handy in the event someone in your household were to cause a loss to another homeowner.
For example, if your kid were to hit a baseball through the window of a neighbor’s home or if your kid were to accidentally injure their friend while playing football.
It’s recommended that all homeowners maintain at least $100,000 in coverage, though your protection will vary based on the policy limits you arrange with your insurance provider.
Coverage F: Medical Expenses
Featuring somewhere between $2,000 to $5,000 for most homeowners, Coverage F provides you with protection against pricy medical bills that can occur after an injury on your property.
You can submit a claim for accidental injuries on your property but they must affect people that live outside of your household. Injuries sustained by members of your home will require health insurance or payment out of pocket.
Homeowners Insurance Gives You Both Property and Liability Protection
Though it’s not blanket coverage, your home insurance policy is a powerful tool for homeowners in Texas. Homeowners insurance covers what you own, your home, and your finances from liability losses and property damage.
While not required by law, your home insurance coverage is imperative for all homeowners because of the following:
- Restoring your home after a loss.
- Rebuilding your home after a major loss requires a new livable structure.
- Mitigating expenses related to housing and lodging while your home is being repaired after a major loss.
- Covering yourself from liability and paying costly legal and medical costs related to injuries from visitors.
Common Additional Coverage Options for Homeowners in Texas
Discovering all of the areas not protected by most homeowners insurance in Texas may feel intimidating, however, you have many options available.
When deciding on home insurance, it can be easy to get lost in the mix while also feeling information overload. This is where having the right team working for you can help.
Here at Freedom Insurance Group, we understand that the needs of each homeowner are different and we work to create customized protection that covers your risk all at the lowest cost on the market.
A major part of this boils down to the more than 25 top-rated insurance providers we partner with to provide our clients with the best possible rates through a wide range of insurance products.
An insurance rider, also known as an insurance endorsement along with additional coverages can help you without breaking the bank. Here are some of the best coverage options available to further protect your property and finances:
- Flood Insurance
- Umbrella Insurance
- Sump Pump/Sewer Backup Coverage
- Scheduled Personal Property Coverage
- Service Line Coverage
- Sinkhole Coverage
- Earthquake Insurance.
Defining which areas are not protected by your homeowners insurance is one of the many steps taken to find the right policy for you. Contact us today and see how we save our clients an average of 40% on their homeowners insurance quote by switching.