Designated catastrophe area

A zone in Texas located east of Highway 146 along the Gulf of Mexico that faces increased wind damage risk

What is a designated catastrophe area?

A designated catastrophe area is a zone in Texas located east of Highway 146 along the Gulf of Mexico coast. It includes 14 counties and a portion of Harris County where homeowners face a greater risk of hail and windstorm damage.

What Texas counties are in the designated catastrophe area?

The first thing you need to know is whether or not you live in the designated catastrophe area. Here are the 14 counties this area includes:

  • Aransas
  • Brazoria
  • Calhoun
  • Cameron
  • Chambers
  • Galveston
  • Jefferson
  • Kenedy
  • Kleberg
  • Matagorda
  • Nueces
  • Refugio
  • San Patricio
  • Willacy

Homeowners in these counties, plus La Porte, Morgan’s Point, Pasadena, Seabrook, and Shore Acres in Harris County, face an increased risk for windstorms and hail. Unfortunately, their increased risk means many home insurance providers won’t cover the damage hurricanes and hailstorms cause.

That’s a problem when a hurricane hits, but it can even be a problem beforehand. Lenders generally won’t work with homeowners who don’t have hail and windstorm coverage

Living in the designated catastrophe area in Texas doesn’t mean you can’t find coverage. You may just have a harder time doing so. Typically, your first option is applying for insurance through a private insurer like Kin. If that doesn’t work, you can try the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). The state created TWIA specifically for homes in the designated catastrophe area that couldn’t get insurance from a private insurer. However, TWIA is considered insurer of last resort. You can only apply with TWIA if you’ve been turned down by at least one private insurance company.

What to do if your home is in a designated catastrophe area

Your new home in Port Aransas may have stunning gulf views, but being that close to the beach does increase your exposure to wind and water damage. To stay protected, you may want to:

  • Check your homeowners insurance. Find out if your policy has windstorm and hail coverage sooner rather than later. Once a hurricane is in or near the Gulf of Mexico, you can’t purchase a policy or change your coverage until it has passed.
  • Understand your deductibles. Homeowners on the coast have a hurricane deductible in addition to the flat standard deductible. In Texas, hurricane deductibles can be 5% or more of your home’s insured value. Find out what your deductible is so you’re not surprised.
  • Assess the value of your possessions. A home inventory can help you decide if you have sufficient coverage. Plus, if you do experience a loss, this documentation can help speed up your claim.
  • Consider flood insurance. Homes in the designated catastrophe area face flood risk, too. Unfortunately, that’s another event home insurance and hurricane coverage exclude. You can apply for flood insurance with Kin.

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