How Houston renters can prepare for hurricane season

Not only do homeowners need to prepare for hurricanes, but renters do, too! 40 percent of Houston residents are renters.

When you live in a rental home or an apartment, you don't have to insure the home itself because you don't own it.

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However, you should buy renter's insurance, which covers all of your furniture and belongings if they become damaged. And the good news is the cost is pretty low. The average is $168 a year, or $14 a month.  

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Apartments and rental homes have taken can take serious blows when hurricanes hit.

"Windows can get blown out, and wind-driven rain can come into your place and ruin your furnishings," explains David Steinhart with Pasadena Insurance Agency. "That would be covered under a renter’s policy."

If you live on the first floor in a flood zone, you may also want to buy flood insurance from FEMA or a private insurance carrier.  

"And again, because you're only insuring your contents for flood, it’s a relatively cheap policy," said Steinhart.

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For renters, flood insurance starts at a couple of hundred dollars a year and goes up,  depending on your flood risk.  It takes 30 days to take effect.

Vehicles parked on the ground can flood. You'll want to have comprehensive coverage in your auto insurance policy, which adds an average of $172 a year, or about $14 a month, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

"Comprehensive coverage kicks in for things that don’t involve a collision," said Steinhart. "Things like a flooded car, and things like a tree branch falling from the sky and denting your car."

Before a storm hits, take a cell phone video of your belongings, so you'll have an inventory and proof if you need it to file a claim. And pack an emergency kit with non-perishable food and water for three days, medications, flashlights, a first aid kit, a cell phone charger, and a carrier and food for your pets.  

For more information, visit the National Flood Insurance Program, or call (800) 427-4661 or your insurance agent.

CHECK OUT FOX 26's HURRICANE GEAR TEST

Below are some insurers that offer private flood insurance:  

  • Neptune
  • Assurant
  • AIG
  • Swiss Re
  • Chubb
  • Liberty Mutual Fire
  • United Surety
  • ASI