As we move through another spring severe weather season, know this: Texas holds first place for the number of tornadoes and major hail events. And it’s not even close when you look at the second-place finishers.
The Insurance Information Institute did a catastrophe comparison by state using hailstorm numbers from 2020 and tornado numbers from 2019 and found that Texas had 601 major hail events. Next on the list was South Dakota with 377. Texas had the largest tally of tornadoes as well, with 188. Mississippi was ranked second, with 138 tornadoes.
And the damage from these storms is costly. The Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) has calculated the most damaging storm systems in Texas (see page 6 here).
Hurricanes hold the top four spots for insured losses in Texas history. But the rest of the costliest ten losses came from tornadoes and hailstorms. And all except for one were in North Texas.
If you’re one of the many who has moved to Texas somewhat recently, you may be more financially prepared for a severe weather event because you had to sit and go through insurance options relatively recently. Conversely, if you have been here a while, you may be neglecting to review your coverage every year.
When is the last time you updated your insurance coverage?
Do you still have enough insurance if you are a renter…and particularly if you’re an owner? There are a lot of reasons you should regularly review your coverage.
Even if nothing has changed with your property, have values in your neighborhood risen substantially? Also consider that replacing your home right now would be much more expensive than a year ago just because of the soaring price of lumber. It’s one of many building materials costs that have ballooned in recent years. Not only should you double-check your total coverage, but you should also review your deductible.
And pay special attention to your wind and hail deductible. It may be a flat rate, but it can be adjustable between one and five percent of your total coverage. A higher deductible generally means a lower premium. But beware: If you have a $300,000 policy on your home and a 5 percent wind and hail deductible—you’d pay $15,000 for damages before the insurance company would pay anything.
Winter storm 2021 update
As we stay weather-aware this spring, we haven’t forgotten about our recent monster winter storm. Remember that "10 most expensive" list above? In February, the Insurance Council of Texas predicted the winter storm would be the new most-expensive insured loss event in the state’s history. It’s still not clear if that will really happen, but the ICT tells me a staggering 225,000 claims have been filed so far, and that more are still coming in. They say we may get a total dollar estimate in the next couple of weeks.