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Tornado Insurance in Texas

Tornado insurance is a type of insurance that protects your buildings and property from damage and destruction that may occur due to a tornado incident. Texas is one of the states that make up the ‘tornado alley’ in the U.S. The tornado alley is a collection of states in the central and midwest plains that are considered more prone to tornadoes and usually witness many tornadoes in a year. Although some homeowners and renters insurance policies might exclude tornado coverage, most policies expressly include windstorm damage and tornado coverage.

What is Considered Tornado Insurance?

Tornado insurance is a type of insurance coverage that protects your personal property and building from damage caused by a tornado. Tornado insurance will cover repairs to your roof if it is damaged by a tornado. It can also help cover the replacement of your furniture that is damaged due to flooding caused by a tornado. Texas, in particular, is viewed as one of the states with the highest occurrence of tornadoes, with approximately 130 tornadoes hitting the state every year. This shows the propensity of tornadoes, particularly in Texas during the tornado season, and makes having tornado insurance essential to protect yourself from any losses that an unexpected storm may cause. Tornadoes are classified as windstorms, and they may be incorporated into other insurance types such as homeowners, renters, or commercial property insurance.

What is the Purpose of Tornado Insurance?

Texas is one of the states on the tornado alley with many tornado incidents happening each year (2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002). The purpose of tornado insurance is to help you deal with damages and other risks that may arise from a tornado. Tornado insurance covers the replacement costs of your building or personal property and additional living expenses if you need to find alternative accommodation after a tornado storm.

What is Tornado Insurance for?

Tornado insurance is for protection against tornado damages to your residential or commercial buildings, particularly if they are located within the tornado alley of the state. It relieves you of financial burdens arising from any covered damage to your home or personal belongings due to a tornado. Such damages include property damage to your windows, building structure, or even water damage and mold caused by a windstorm. Generally, tornadoes are only predictable to a limited extent; hence, tornado insurance is essential.

What are the Types of Tornado Insurance?

In Texas, tornado insurance is typically added to an insured’s homeowners, renters, or commercial property insurance policy. The coverage types of tornado insurance include:

  • Windstorm coverage: Most renters and homeowners insurance policies protect against damages caused by windstorms. There may, however, be limits placed on the extent of coverage, while some other policies may expressly exclude this type of coverage. For example, your renters insurance may only provide windstorm coverage to a limit of $150,000. As such, you will only be able to make claims worth $150,000. You should make sure that you scrutinize your policy document to understand the extent of the provided windstorm coverage.

  • Dwelling Coverage: This covers the cost of rebuilding or repairing damaged parts of your residential or commercial building damaged by a tornado. For example, if a tornado storm causes damage to your roof, you can file a claim with your insurance company to cover the cost of repairing that roof.

  • Additional Living Expenses: This includes coverage for additional costs you might incur for feeding and accommodation while your home is being repaired after a tornado storm.

  • Guaranteed Replacement Cost or Actual Value: Adding this coverage to your tornado insurance policy protects your building and personal property based on either an actual value policy or a replacement value policy. Having a replacement value policy means that whenever an insurance claim is filed, the insurer will have to provide you with sufficient money to replace the building or property that was damaged by a tornado. For actual value policies, the money provided will be equivalent to the estimated value of the property at the time the peril occurred, taking into account factors like depreciation. For example, if you bought your house for $250,000 but the value of your home at the time of the tornado is $200,000, the insurance will only provide compensation of $200,000.

  • Increased Cost of Construction Coverage: This type of coverage pays for unexpected increases in price when repairing your property after an extreme windstorm or tornado. During the repair process, government policies or changes in the specification of materials could result in increased costs. This coverage type helps you cover these additional costs.

Before you decide on what coverage type to adopt, it is essential that you contact a state-licensed insurance agent. This agent will ensure that all your needs are adequately accounted for and that you understand the requirements and implications of each coverage type.

Do you Need Tornado Insurance in Texas?

Yes. Although tornado insurance is not required under Texas law, getting it is a good way to protect your building and property from risks associated with tornado storms. Texas is one of the states in the Tornado Alley, and it has the highest annual reported number of tornadoes in the U.S. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, approximately 130 tornadoes are reported in Texas yearly. Tornadoes are also widely known to cause different types of damage including wind and hail damage which could lead to deaths. Recently, in Elgin, Texas, one death and several injuries were recorded after a tornado storm tore through numerous homes and businesses within the city. Having tornado insurance is also a good way to save money as you may be faced with huge repair estimates that you might be unable to pay without tornado insurance. Having annual tornado insurance is necessary because although there is a supposed tornado season where tornadoes occur more frequently, tornadoes can actually occur at any time of the year.

Why Do you Need Tornado Insurance?

Texas is highly prone to tornadoes, particularly in cities like Detroit and Avery in the Red River Valley area of North Texas. Other cities, particularly those within the Dallas Fort Worth Area also experience tornadoes, so getting tornado insurance helps protect your personal property and building from damages that may have been caused by tornadoes. The extremely high winds associated with tornadoes can rip homes and business properties apart, causing extensive damage costing thousands and sometimes millions to fix. Handling these damages, which often occur unexpectedly, could be overwhelming without tornado insurance. A business needs steady funds to run effectively, but not having tornado insurance puts your business at risk of bearing a huge loss, particularly if your business property is located in a high-risk area.

Although most home insurance and renters insurance have windstorm coverage to a particular extent, the coverage is often limited. However, getting a tornado insurance policy will enable you to increase your coverage limits according to your risk level, which will provide enough coverage and compensation should any disaster occur. Purchasing tornado insurance also provides coverage for larger damages caused by tornadoes but not fully covered by your homeowners, renters, or commercial property insurance. Suppose your house or business property has windstorm insurance coverage to the tune of $50,000, and the damage to your property costs over $100,000. Without tornado insurance, you will have to pay the remaining costs out of pocket.

How Much Tornado Insurance Do you Need?

The amount of tornado insurance you need in Texas varies depending on your particular circumstances. The location and value of your home and properties should be the major determinants of the amount of tornado insurance you get. The amount of tornado insurance coverage you get should be able to cover the cost of repairing, rebuilding, or replacing your insured properties, including your residential or commercial buildings, when they are damaged or lost due to tornadoes. It is a good idea to take an inventory of your items and calculate each item's value. A standard home insurance policy covers windstorm damage so this might be sufficient in certain circumstances. However, tornadoes in Texas have been known to cause extreme forms of damage which could include deroofing buildings, downed power lines, flooding and extensive structural damage to your homes. So you should make sure the amount of coverage you have can cater for any unforeseen damages or expenses.

You should also consider whether you would like an actual value policy or a replacement cost policy. With an actual value policy, the money you get in the event of tornado damage to your home might not be sufficient to rebuild your home or business property because the payout will be based on the property’s estimated value when the risk occurred. With a replacement cost policy, the payout will have to be sufficient to enable you to rebuild your home.

Before deciding on how much insurance to purchase, you should discuss it with a state-licensed property insurance agent. The agent will ensure that all necessary checks such as the preferred type of coverage, what additional coverages might be needed, and the best plans, are made when making a decision on the amount of coverage to purchase.

What Tornado Insurance Coverage Do you Need?

It is important to get both dwelling and property coverage, but this will depend on whether you own the property you reside or operate in or you are a tenant. If you are a tenant, you might not require building coverage. However, you could settle for only property coverage and additional living expenses coverage. As a landlord, in addition to dwelling coverage and property coverage, you might also require an increased cost of construction coverage to help with any additional costs that may arise in repairing or reconstructing a damaged building. As discussed earlier, a homeowners insurance policy or a renters insurance policy will typically include windstorm coverage. However, to properly cover tornado damage, additional policy is advised.

As a commercial property owner, your tornado insurance will typically be added to your commercial property insurance policy. Hence, you will need to purchase dwelling and property coverage in addition to coverage for service outage losses, equipment breakdown, and business income loss. To better understand the type of coverage you need, discuss your options with a Texas-licensed property insurance agent.

Is Tornado Insurance Required by Law in Texas?

No, tornado insurance is not required under Texas law, but it is important that you get separate coverage for tornadoes because Texas is one of the states in the Tornado Alley and is prone to Tornadoes. Although homeowners and renters insurance cover windstorms, they do not cover damages caused by extreme or high winds from tornadoes.

How Do I Know if Tornado Insurance is Required?

Tornado insurance is not required under state or federal law. However, if you have a mortgage or live in a rented building or property in a high-risk area, your mortgagee or landlord might require that you have tornado insurance coverage. You should scrutinize your agreements with such parties to see whether tornado insurance is required. You can also discuss with a Texas-licensed property insurance agent to determine whether you are required to get tornado insurance.

How Does Tornado Insurance Work in Texas?

Tornado insurance is a special type of insurance that protects the homes and properties of Texas policyholders from damages caused by tornado storms. Tornado insurance is provided by both private and public insurance agencies. After deciding the appropriate coverage you need and the best price with the help of a state-licensed insurance agent, you will have to pay the agreed premiums either monthly or yearly. Paying your premiums regularly ensures that you get compensated when a tornado occurs and causes damage to your insured property. In the event of a tornado, you can contact your insurer for compensation for damages covered by your policy. After receiving your claim, your insurer will investigate the damage incurred before paying to cover the cost of repairs or replacements resulting from the damage.

What Does Tornado Insurance Cover?

Tornado insurance covers damages caused by tornadoes and extreme windstorms. The coverage is primarily for:

  • Residential dwellings and commercial buildings

  • Insured property inside and outside the building

  • Fallen trees

  • Downed power lines, and more

Note that the extent of coverage you get is primarily determined by your individual insurance provider and your chosen coverage type. Your tornado insurance also covers loss of use coverage, which will help compensate you for any money you lose while your business property is being repaired or rebuilt. Tornado insurance can also provide protection against damages that are caused by events related to a tornado storm. For example if a tornado storm leads to fallen trees and one of such trees damages your roof, you can claim compensation for that damage. Contact a state-licensed Texas property insurance agent for a better understanding of the extent of coverage that is available under tornado insurance and the types of items that are covered.

What is Tornado Insurance Good for?

Tornado insurance provides coverage against unexpected financial burdens that may arise from expensive repairs or replacement of properties damaged by tornadoes, extreme winds, storms, and related events. Some parts of Texas such as Galveston, Johnson, and Harris County are more prone to tornadoes than others. However, it must be noted that tornadoes can be experienced anywhere within the state.

What Does a Typical Tornado Insurance Include?

A typical tornado insurance policy includes personal property coverage and building coverage if the policyholder is the insured property owner. Building coverage pays for tornado and extreme wind damage to the walls, windows, foundation, and electrical systems of an insured home or commercial building. On the other hand, personal property coverage protects properties like electrical equipment, clothes, dishwashers, and ovens. Personal property coverage under tornado insurance covers your garage and valuable possessions such as paintings and furniture. As such, if a tornado storm leads to the destruction of your garage or the removal of your roof, your tornado insurance can help you pay for the cost of repairs quoted by your local contractors while also paying any costs associated with finding a temporary residence.

Although tornado insurance will not cover other natural disasters like floods or unrelated instances of water damage, its coverage includes water damage caused by a tornado. Additionally, if there is a flood in your living room due to a tornado storm, the insurance will cover it. Tornado insurance will, however, not cover random cases of burst pipes or flooding.

Who is Covered by Tornado Insurance?

The insured named in the insurance contract is the one who is covered by a tornado insurance policy. It can be an:

  • Owner of the property (residential or commercial), who is using the property themself or acts as a landlord and rents it out, or a

  • Tenant (residential or commercial)

Further, the insured can be a person or a business.

What Types of Items Does Tornado Insurance Cover?

The type of items covered by tornado insurance depends on the type of coverage:

  • Property Owner Tornado insurance covers the building and the immediate property that is part of the premises. For example, the HVAC system is part of the building. So if you have building coverage, your building, foundations, roof, beams, walls, windows, and doors will be covered.

  • Property Rental Tornado insurance covers the tenant’s property. In commercial leases, the cost of the build-out is also included.

What Insurance Covers Tornado Damage - FAQ

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Tornadoes

Yes, Texas homeowners insurance typically covers tornado (windstorm) damage. Dwelling coverage protects the structure of the building, while personal property coverage takes care of the property inside and outside the residence, up to the limits of the policy. This is why it is important that you review the extent of coverage with a knowledgeable licensed insurance agent to ensure you have enough coverage to protect your building and personal belongings in the event of an extreme windstorm. Discuss with your licensed residential property insurance agent to know how you can increase your coverage limits.

Does Renters Insurance Cover Tornadoes

Yes. Most renters insurance policies cover minor tornadoes and windstorms. Your personal property and other items covered under the renters insurance policy will also be protected in the event of a tornado storm. However, there are usually limits on the coverage, and to get more extensive coverage, you may need to review and increase this limit. You should review your renters insurance policy with the help of your insurance agent to determine if you have sufficient coverage.

Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover Tornadoes

Yes. Commercial property insurance commonly includes tornado (wind damage) coverage, except for some businesses located along the Gulf of Mexico. Due to the close proximity to another wind-prone area, with its Hurricane seasons, some commercial Texas insurers may choose not provide wind coverage.

If denied by all insurers, Texas businesses in the following counties may have to acquire wind coverage from the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA):

  • Aransas County

  • Brazoria County

  • Calhoun County

  • Cameron County

  • Chambers County

  • Galveston County

  • Harris County

  • Jefferson County

  • Kenedy County

  • Kleberg County

  • Matagorda County

  • Nueces County

  • Refugio County

  • San Patricio County

  • Willacy County

Speak with a state-licensed Texas commercial insurance agent for more details.

Does Car Insurance Cover Tornadoes

Whether or not your car insurance will cover tornadoes depends on your car insurance type. Normal liability or collision car insurance will not protect your car from tornadoes. However, if you purchase a comprehensive car insurance plan, your car will be protected from any damage or destruction caused by a tornado storm. Speak with a Texas auto insurance agent for more details.

What is not Covered by Tornado Insurance?

Tornado insurance typically does not cover water damage if it is not caused by a tornado. To be adequately protected from floods, you will need to purchase flood insurance.

What Does Tornado Insurance Typically Exclude?

Tornado insurance is a windstorm insurance, and as such it excludes coverage from other natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. Unless you get separate policies to cover flood damage or expressly include flood as a part of the coverage you purchase, floods will not be covered by your Texas homeowners, renters, or commercial property tornado insurance. So if there is a flood in your area that causes damage to your home, you will not be protected without flood insurance.

Tornado insurance does not also cover sewer backups or burst pipes. However, if water damage is caused to your home due to other covered perils, such as a leaking roof or burst pipes caused by a tornado, your insurance might cover the incurred damage. Additionally, if a downed power line causes damage to your home and it was caused by a tornado storm, the damage can be covered by your tornado insurance. However, damage caused by a downed power line unrelated to a tornado hit will not be covered by the insurance carrier.

It is important to review the exclusions of your tornado insurance policy with a licensed insurance agent, so you are sure of what your policy does not cover.

Is There a Waiting Period for Tornado Insurance?

There is typically no waiting period for tornado insurance, but you will have to purchase it before the storm season in Texas begins. However, some insurance agencies might include a waiting period depending on the type of customer or client you are. If you are getting tornado insurance for a newly purchased home, your tornado insurance will be active immediately after you purchase it. On the other hand, there might be a waiting period if you already own a home. You should discuss with your insurance provider before purchasing it to know whether there will be a waiting period.

Who Can Get Tornado Insurance?

Tornado insurance can be purchased by anybody, including:

  • Homeowners (through standard home insurance policy or Texas Windstorm Insurance Association - TWIA)

  • Renters (Renters insurance)

  • Commercial property owners (landlords)

  • Commercial property tenants

However, you should contact a Texas-licensed insurance agent before getting tornado insurance, so they can access your insurance needs and make professional recommendations.

Who Qualifies for Tornado Insurance?

Anyone who rents or owns Texas property can purchase tornado insurance as a homeowner or renter. Business owners can also get tornado insurance by purchasing commercial property insurance. Typically, different insurance companies will decide whether to grant you coverage based on various factors. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) provides coverage to properties that other insurance providers have denied coverage.

Who Needs Tornado Insurance?

Anyone living in Texas should get windstorm protection, particularly persons living in high-risk cities like Keene, Burleson, Cross Timber, Briaroaks, and Joshua in Johnson County and Waskom in Harrison County. Residents in the Southern plains, such as those in Kent, Floyd, or Castor Counties do not experience tornadoes as frequently but should purchase sufficient tornado coverage. This is because Texas is prone to tornadoes and having tornado insurance helps protect you from unexpected costs that might arise if a tornado damages your home or business property. If you live on the coastal line, you are more likely to experience a tornado and should purchase tornado insurance to be covered if a tornado damages your property. Contact a state-licensed Texas property insurance agent to assess your need for tornado insurance.

Who Should Get Tornado Insurance?

Anyone who wants protection against damages and risks associated with tornado storms should purchase tornado insurance. Texas is one of the states in the Tornado Alley and also the state with the most reported tornado incidents in the U.S. Hence, it is advisable that everyone in Texas purchases tornado insurance to protect their properties, particularly if they reside in the high-risk areas of Texas. Typically, homeowners or renters insurance includes windstorm coverage, but the coverage is usually limited to a certain amount and may exclude certain types of damages.