Flood Insurance in Texas--Cost and How it Works
Texas doesn't require homeowners to purchase flood insurance, but if your property is in a high-risk flood zone, you may need to buy coverage as a condition of closing on your mortgage. Flood insurance is also a good consideration in Texas, as flood damage isn't covered by homeowners or renters insurance policies. Flood insurance will help ensure your home and valuables are protected against damage from flash floods, hurricanes and other threats. While the average cost of flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is nearly $600 per year in Texas, you may be able to find lower rates by comparing quotes from private flood insurance companies.
Do You Need Flood Insurance in Texas?
While the state of Texas doesn't require homeowners to have flood insurance, you may need to purchase coverage as a term of your mortgage loan. This is usually the case if your home is located in a high-risk zone on flood maps, as it’s considered to have a higher risk of flooding.
Even if you're not required to purchase flood insurance, you may want to buy coverage as Texas consistently has some of the highest fatality rates and property damage costs due to flooding. And nearly one in four flood losses occurs in flood plains that aren't considered high-risk, so even when coverage isn't required, it doesn't necessarily mean your property is safe.
A number of weather events that may occur in Texas can cause flooding, such as flash floods, heavy rains, tropical storms and hurricanes. Flood damage isn't covered by homeowners or renters insurance policies, so you would likely have to pay the associated costs out of pocket. Even if a federal emergency is declared, disaster loans average less than $10,000, and significant damage to your flooring or personal property can easily exceed this amount.
Texas Flood Insurance Coverage
Flood insurance from the NFIP has maximum coverage limits of $250,000 for your house's structure and $100,000 for its contents, although you can usually purchase a larger policy through a private flood insurance company. If you're a renter in Texas, then your landlord would be responsible for the structure, and your policy would be limited to $100,000 of personal property coverage through the NFIP.
Even if your flood insurance claim is less than your coverage limits, the policy still has limitations in terms of what will be paid for. An NFIP policy in Texas will generally cover the following.
- Standard home systems. This can include systems such as your electrical system, furnace, water heater, plumbing system and air conditioner.
- Carpeting and installed features. This includes damaged sections of built-in cabinets, bookcases or paneling.
- Appliances and personal property. Appliances, such as your refrigerator and washing machine, are generally covered unless they're kept in your basement. The same applies to your personal items, including clothing, electronics and furniture.
- Foundation and support structures. Staircases are covered so long as they're built into your house.
- Detached garage. A maximum of 10% of your policy's dwelling coverage can be applied to a detached garage.
A federal flood insurance policy has a large number of exclusions though, so you may not receive the full payment expected if you're not familiar with them. Here are some common reasons an NFIP flood insurance policy would not cover damage.
- The damage can be attributed to earth movement, such as a sinkhole or landslide, even if the earth movement could be traced to flooding.
- Damage occurred to the basement or property contained within it.
- In some cases, flooding damage from sewer backup wouldn't be covered.
- The flood damage was done to your vehicle. You would need comprehensive auto insurance in order to cover this situation.
- If you lost income or temporarily had to relocate due to flood damage, these costs would not be covered.
- Certain detached property features wouldn't be covered by flood insurance. These include property such as plants, decks, patios, fences and walkways.
Cost of Flood Insurance in Texas
The average cost of flood insurance in Texas is $595 per year for policies purchased through the NFIP, but rates can vary significantly. Depending on several factors—where your house is located, how it's built, the property's elevation and how often you occupy the home—flood insurance rates can range from $200 to more than $2,000. In the largest cities in Texas, premium prices range from $468 to $1,117 per year.
Two of the most influential factors in determining flood insurance costs are your home's location on a flood map and elevation. However, premiums also account for usage factors. For example, each NFIP flood insurance policy has an annual surcharge, typically $25. However, the surcharge increases to $250 if your house is used as a rental property or you occupy it less than 50% of the year.
NFIP flood insurance can be purchased from most insurers and agents in Texas, and they will all offer the same premiums for coverage. To make sure you're getting the best rates, we recommend comparing quotes from private flood insurance companies as well. Private flood insurance policies typically come with similar or lower rates than you'll get from the NFIP, and you will usually have more options to customize your policy. If you're purchasing flood insurance as part of your mortgage requirement, check with your lender first, as not all mortgage lenders will accept private flood insurance.
In the event that you go through a storm event and your structure is flooded, call on the experts at SERVPRO of East Brownsville & South Padre Island. We will work diligently to get your life back to order and help you resume your life as you knew it before the event.