Florida may be known as America’s hurricane capital, but Texas also experiences its fair share of tropical storms. A total of 301 hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. since 1851, and 64 have passed through Texas – a number only beaten by Florida’s whopping 120.
If you’re a Texan business owner, you’ll want windstorm insurance for your property to protect yourself from wind damage risks. However, there are some limitations to its availability. Before you file a lawsuit against your insurer for inadequate payment or for denying your hurricane claim, you should understand these restrictions.
Windstorm insurance is optional coverage
Windstorm insurance is purchasable as a separate, optional policy from insurance carriers, which means your regular commercial property insurance will not cover wind damage by default. Texan law doesn’t require business owners to have windstorm insurance, but it can come in handy when a hurricane damages your facilities.
While carriers are willing to sell windstorm insurance to most businesses, there are some areas where they are hesitant to offer the coverage.
Insurance of last resort
If your business is in the catastrophe areas designated by the Texas Department of Insurance, insurance carriers may be less inclined to sell coverage to you due to the high risk of hurricanes and wind damage. In such cases, you can purchase coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) – the state’s insurer of last resort for policyholders in very high windstorm risk areas or who can’t secure coverage from private carriers.
How does windstorm insurance affect your insurance lawsuit?
Because windstorm insurance is optional, it can be easy for business owners to assume that their standard commercial property insurance will cover wind damage when it usually can’t. If you don’t have the coverage and your standard policy has exclusions for windstorms, it might be difficult to escalate your hurricane insurance dispute.
If you’re a policyholder with the TWIA, you should know that you can sue the state-backed insurer much like any other carrier if it denies your claim. You have two years to notify the TWIA and file the lawsuit from the time of denial, but the insurer may ask you to consider mediation or other means to settle the dispute.
Wind damage is a real risk for Lone Star State businesses. Remember that windstorm insurance is an optional coverage that is easily missed and that you can retain the services of an attorney if you plan to sue the TWIA.