All Texas Homeowner’s Policies are Basically the Same, Right?

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Short answer, no.

 

 

Make no mistake, all TX homeowners policies are not the same. There are significant differences, taking a few minutes to learn and digest some of the major differences will most certainly stack the cards more in your favor come claim’s time.

The good news is, with respect to “major” events, most policies will provide coverage.  Examples would be wind, hail, theft, fire, vandalism…these types of events will be addressed under the majority of homeowner’s policies, subject to some sort of deductible.  Please note that with many policies there may be special limits on theft for certain items like jewelry, watches, furs, gun collections, and other collectible type items.  Be sure to discuss this with your agent.

 

SO WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES THEN?

 

In Texas, Insurance companies break up water damage into 3 main categories (NOT including “flood,” insurance- which is purchased separately).

And every policy and company will address these differently, so YOU need to understand what to look for, because often times a company or Agent may not even discuss this with you.

It’s not too difficult to understand if you take just a few minutes to learn some basics.

Give this 5 minutes and you can make a better decision from now on.

 

The 3 main categories are:

 

1.   WATER DAMAGE COVERAGE- (from pipes leaking or breaking)

Texas is one of the only states (if not the only) that differentiates between 2 types of water damage coverage.

                                     a)   Sudden & Accidental

Generally defined as finding a leaking pipe within 2 weeks sometimes 30 days, but what about that slow leak that has been dripping for months leading to your dishwasher?

                                     b)  Continuous & Repeated

              Generally defined as leaks that go beyond sudden & accidental

The best policies address both of these coverage’s up to what the home is insured for.  So if the home is insured for 200k, you have coverage for both up to 200k.  That said, many policies will only offer sudden & accidental coverage.  It is important to know this and ask.

 

 

 

2.    FOUNDATION COVERAGE- (not related to general maintenance or lack thereof)

Generally meant to address breaking/leaking pipes leaking within, and sometimes beneath the foundations.  It is usually designed to provide coverage for access to the leaking or broken pipe and repair of the house back to its original condition.  NOTE: It does not pay for the damaged pipe.

The best policies provide coverage up to what the house is insured for.  Some policies will not cover this at all and others may offer coverage up to a certain dollar amount or % of your home’s insured value.

 

3.     SEWER BACK-UP COVERAGE- (City sewer line back up into your house)

 

Meant to address coverage for a city sewer line that would become backed up in your house. Not usually meant to address if someone backups up a toilet in your house and damages your floor.  This is more for if you have sewage from the city line backing up and coming through your open plumbing holes.  The city will usually claim governmental immunity and for your home policy to address this, you will need this coverage either built in to the policy or added on.

The best policies provide coverage up to what the house is insured for.  Some policies EXCLUDE  this at all and others may offer coverage up to a certain dollar amount.

 

But YOU need to look and ask for these.  The time to find out if you have them is not AFTER the claim.

 

Below is a good resource provided by the State to help you along the way.

 

                                       All Texas Homeowner’s Policies are Basically the Same, Right?

TEXAS CONSUMERS BE SURE TO VISIT THIS LINK TO COMPARE VARIOUS POLICIES: http://www.opic.state.tx.us

 

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT FLOOD INSURANCE: Surface water rising from rivers, oceans, lakes, ponds, or heavy rains is excluded in homeowners policies.  Coverage for these types of claims is available through FEMA or another private program depending on your individual needs.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is to be used as general reference material to help TX homeowners be more informed about their homeowner’s policies, it is not meant to replace or reword your policy.  Your actual policy, circumstances, and company will dictate whether you have coverage.