In recent years, parts of the United States have experienced many staggeringly expensive natural disasters, including wildfires, floods, storms and more. In 2023, Texas experienced 16 disasters in which the cost was $1 billion or more. This was highest number of billion-dollar disasters the state has ever recorded.
Climate scientists say the frequency and intensity of these disasters are increasing. This subject matter is controversial in some circles, but it’s important to know that there is one sector that takes it very seriously, and that sector is the insurance industry.
Insurers are preparing for future disasters by raising rates on homeowners insurance. Texas, rates went up last year by an average of 22%, about twice the national average. Still, some areas were hit even worse. In some parts of the country, homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to find insurance for their homes at any price.
The rate hikes tend to be concentrated in coastal areas, but the costs are going up almost everywhere.
If you can’t get insurance
This situation puts millions of ordinary homeowners in a bind. Technically, it may be possible to own a home without insurance, but mortgage lenders typically require the homeowner to carry insurance. And of course, the cost to the homeowner of repairing an uninsured home after a fire or other disaster can be prohibitive.
There are some options to help.
Homeowners who have been turned down by at least two insurance companies may seek out coverage under the Texas FAIR Plan Association. Depending on their circumstances, they may have other options as well.
Protecting yourself if you have insurance
Even if you do have insurance, it’s important to be careful with it. Remember that your insurance company is looking for ways to keep its costs down, and that means it has a motive to deny your claim or to give you less than your claim deserves.
- Some things you can do to protect yourself:
- Document damage and keep receipts
- Contact your insurer as early as you can after any damage. If your home requires immediate attention, make only temporary repairs until your insurer inspects the damage.
- Be sure to be present when the insurance company inspects the damage and make sure your agent has a good way to contact you.
If you are denied a claim unfairly, you may need to take legal action.