HOUSTON - Winds are expected to be the most damaging part of Hurricane Laura in some areas. But wind damage isn't always covered by homeowner's insurance. Homeowners may need windstorm insurance.
Homeowners often think a homeowner's insurance policy covers wind damage from hurricanes. But in coastal areas, it often doesn't, and neither does flood insurance.
Depending on where your house is located, you may not only need homeowner's and flood insurance, but windstorm insurance. Windstorm insurance covers damage from gusty events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and gale-force winds.
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"It's 14 counties. Most of Houston is also included in that as well. So it's really important to see where you sit, and where those parameters lay. Houston is one of those areas impacted by the wind tunnel, if you will," said Camille Garcia with the Insurance Council of Texas.
It's too late to buy windstorm coverage for Hurricane Laura. It will not take effect for an already-named storm. But you can still purchase a policy for the rest of this year's hurricane season, which runs until November 1.
"There's still the rest of the season to go. This hurricane season is slated to be pretty active through November, so take a look at what that means for you," said Garcia.
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The average annual premium through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is $1,600.
If you don't have a windstorm policy, your homeowner's insurance may still cover some types of storm damage.
"A tree falls on your roof. Roof damage is covered. It might not cover the expense to take the tree off, chop up the tree or dispose of it," said Garcia.
If you end up with any type of storm damage, take pictures and file a claim before making only temporary repairs.
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"You want to make temporary repairs to minimize even further damage, or just to protect yourself. And number two, as you're starting to make those repairs, don't throw away anything at this point," said Garcia.
The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association makes up about half of the wind insurance market in Texas, private companies make up the rest. The Texas FAIR Plan Association provides coverage to homes denied by other carriers.
The TGS Insurance Agency in Houston put together a list of contact information to a wide array of insurance carriers if you need to file a claim for damage from Hurricane Laura.