Texans are faced with a few challenges when it comes to getting homeowners insurance. In spite of the weather, there are things you can do to get better insurance rates
Texas residents have special weather conditions to keep in mind when soliciting quotes for homeowners insurance. Before we discuss the tips on how to save money and get the best rate, lets first address a couple of the special coverages Texas homeowners may need:
Purchasing Flood Insurance in Texas
The state of Texas is near the top of the list when it comes to property damage as a result of flood. The standard homeowner’s policy excludes this peril thus making it necessary to secure this coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
NFIP is operated by the Mitigation Division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). If you’re not sure whether or not your property is located in a flood zone, visit their website. NFIP allows you to enter your home address to see if it is located in a flood zone. Additionally, there’s a section of the site where you can calculate the approximate cost to purchase flood coverage for your home.
Hurricane and Windstorm Insurance
Texas homeowners with properties located in the 14 counties along the coast in addition to parts of Harris County on Galveston Bay may have a difficult time in getting traditional insurance companies to provide wind and hail coverage. To that end, The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) will provide such coverage. No need to go to TWIA directly as this coverage can be purchased through your local insurance agent.
Underwriting Texas Homeowners Policies
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are a few money saving tips to be aware of when purchasing homeowners insurance in Texas:
Homeowner’s Credit Score
Did you know that Texas insurance companies may use your credit rating as a basis for underwriting your homeowner’s insurance policy? They have found that policyholders with poor credit tend to file more claims than policyholders with good credit. Maintaining good credit will earn premium discounts.
Property and Liability Claims History
Three or more years of being claims free is looked upon favorably and will help to earn a premium discount. That is rather obvious, but did you know that many insurance companies subscribe to the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). CLUE is a service that provides the last three years of lost history associated with a home? This information does not differentiate ownership of the home. If you’ve owned your home for 1 ½ years and the prior owner had a major loss 2 years ago, the insurance company has no way of knowing that you were not responsible for that loss.
You have the right to review and challenge any incorrect information. Therefore, before you begin to shop your insurance get your free copy of the report by visiting the website www.choicetrust.com or calling 1-800-456-6004.
Home Protection Devices
Automatic sprinkler systems, burglar alarms, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and fire alarms all prove to the company that you intend to protect your home and will earn a premium discount on your homeowner’s insurance policy. Ask your agent how much of a discount each system is worth.
Ask for Homeowner Insurance Discounts
Your insurance agent knows about the available discounts an insurance company is willing to offer to Texas residents. Some companies offer discounts for teachers who are members of National Teaching Associations, others for retired military personnel. Don’t be shy. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
To get more information about Texas homeowners insurance and ways to save money on your coverage, visit the Texas Department of Insurance website.