Spring weather in Texas is unpredictable and Texans are likely to experience extreme weather events, including tornadoes, hailstorms, hurricanes, and wildfires. Here are some important tips to help you protect yourself, your family, and your property from injury or damage.
Review your insurance
Review your coverage
Find a copy of your insurance policy and review your coverage limits. Make sure you have enough coverage for your needs and see what is covered in the event of a windstorm, hurricane, hail, tornado, wildfire, and flood. If you’ve recently made renovations to your home, bought new furniture, or electronics, you may want to increase your limits or buy additional coverage.
Consider buying comprehensive coverage for your car
Storms can damage your car, especially if you park outside. Auto policies can cover the damage if you have the right coverages. Comprehensive coverage (also known as “other than collision” coverage) usually covers damage to your car from things like hail. Look at your policy to see if you have comprehensive coverage.
Consider buying flood insurance
Most renters and homeowners policies don’t cover flood damage. If you live in a special flood hazard area, your mortgage company will require this type of coverage for your home. However, all Texans (even renters) should consider flood insurance. To learn more about flood insurance, visit our flood insurance shopping guide page.
Make sure your policy covers wind and hail
If you live on the Texas coast, you may have to get a separate policy to cover you for wind and hail damage. If you can’t find a policy that covers wind and hail damage, you may be able to get coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). To learn more about TWIA, visit our TWIA page.
Know your deductible amounts
A deductible is the amount of money for the loss that you must pay. To prepare for a disaster, it is a good idea to try to save at least the amount of your deductible. Find your insurance policy’s dec page to see how much your deductible is. You might have different deductibles for different kinds of losses.
Know how your claim will be paid
Even if you have replacement cost coverage, some types of property may only be paid at actual cash value. For example, roofs or fences damaged by windstorm or hail are often paid at actual cash value. Ask your company or agent questions about how your claims will be paid.
Create a home inventory
A home inventory is a detailed list of items in your house that you make in the case of theft or damage. Creating a list can be time consuming, but it is better to do so now rather than trying to make one from memory later.
A home inventory list can help you:
- Buy the right amount of insurance for you and your family.
- Keep track of all the items you have in your home.
- Get paid the correct amount by your insurer for items covered under your policy.
- Get your insurance claim settled faster and more easily.
Download OPIC’s printable home inventory checklist to use during the home inventory process.
Maintain your home
It’s important to maintain your home to prevent damage from a storm that might not be covered by your insurance policy. Here are four things you can do to maintain the outside of your home:
- Remove dead limbs and downed branches, and trim trees that may fall and damage buildings or other structures.
- Get your roof inspected regularly to keep it free of defects and in good condition.
- Clean debris out of gutters.
- Seal outside wall openings like vents, outdoor electrical outlets, and locations where pipes or cables go through the wall to prevent water from getting in.
Keep updated on current weather information
Before a storm hits, make sure you know how to get up-to-date weather information. You can:
- Subscribe to national weather alerts.
- Download FEMA app real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide.
- Sign up for community alerts in your area.
- Follow @TDEM, @GovAbbott, @TxDOT, as well as your local county and city governments on Twitter for real-time emergency weather updates.
- Check the Texas Fire Service’s Daily Fire Danger Map.
- Check the National Hurricane Center’s website for current tropical weather forecasts.
- Check the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)’s DriveTexas map for updated road conditions and closures due to flooding and storms.
Other helpful resources
- Learn how to protect your home from tornado damage.
- Learn how to protect your home from hail damage.
- Learn how to protect your home from hurricane damage.
- Learn how to reduce your wildfire risk.
- Download the Disaster Supply Checklist to help you build your emergency kit.
- Visit Texas Ready’s website to get tips on making a disaster plan for you and your family.