Texas windstorm insurance and the TWIA: what you need to know

Windstorm insurance covers the cost of wind and hail damage to your home. The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association offers windstorm coverage to residents in high-risk areas of Texas.

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Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a senior editor and licensed home insurance agent at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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A typical home insurance policy will help cover the cost of wind or hail damage to your home. But this portion of coverage is often excluded for homes in coastal Texas, meaning damage from wind and hail won’t be covered. In the event that wind is excluded from your homeowners insurance, Texas residents will need a separate windstorm insurance policy to fill that coverage gap. 

Wind-only policies are offered through private insurers or the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), a not-for-profit entity set up by the state government in the 1970s to provide wind coverage for residences in high-risk areas. You must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for a TWIA policy, including rejection from at least one other company and a Texas windstorm certificate of building compliance.

Keep reading below to find out how windstorm insurance works in The Lone Star State, or check out our complete guide to home insurance in Texas.

Key takeaways

  • Coverage for wind and hail is often excluded from home insurance policies for homes in certain high-risk counties in coastal Texas 

  • If wind is excluded from your homeowners insurance, you’ll need to purchase windstorm insurance to protect your home against wind and hail damage 

  • You can purchase windstorm insurance from a specialty wind-only insurer or the TWIA

  • The average cost of TWIA windstorm insurance is around $1,700 a year

How does windstorm insurance work in Texas?

Texas residents generally purchase windstorm coverage in addition to homeowners insurance when wind and hail damage is excluded from the latter. If you live in coastal Texas, you have the option of purchasing windstorm insurance through a private insurer, the TWIA, or a Texas FAIR (Fair Access to Insurance Requirements) Plan as a last-resort coverage option.

If your house is damaged by wind or hail and you file a claim with your windstorm provider, you’ll need to pay your policy deductible — the out-of-pocket amount that you’re responsible for paying before the insurer will cover the damage. 

With windstorm insurance, your deductible will either be a flat dollar amount — like $2,500 — or a percentage (usually 1–5%) of your policy’s dwelling coverage limit. If your windstorm insurance deductible is 2% and you have $250,000 in dwelling coverage, you have to pay $5,000 (250,000 x 0.02) out of pocket before your insurer will pay out for the remainder of the damage.

Bear in mind that if your home is damaged in a hurricane, windstorm insurance will cover damage directly caused by hurricane winds, but won’t cover flood damage from the resulting storm surge. For complete hurricane coverage, you’ll need flood insurance in addition to your home and windstorm policies.

→ Learn more about insurance for hurricanes

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Is windstorm insurance required in Texas?

No, windstorm insurance is not required in Texas, but you may need to purchase a wind-only policy if you have a mortgage on your house, depending on whether or not your home insurance covers wind damage. 

To help protect their investment, most mortgage lenders require homeowners insurance before letting borrowers formally close on a property. Depending on the lender, there may also be specific coverage requirements, including making sure the policy covers certain perils like fire and wind damage. If wind is excluded from your homeowners insurance, there’s a good chance your lender will require a separate windstorm insurance policy. 

If you live in a high-risk flood zone, your lender may also require you to purchase flood insurance as well. Altogether, residents in the most high-risk areas of Texas could end up carrying three different types of insurance (home, windstorm, and flood).

 The 14 Texas counties considered to be the most high-risk for hurricane damage include:

  • Aransas

  • Calhoun

  • Chambers

  • Galveston

  • Kenedy

  • Matagorda

  • Refugio

  • Willacy

  • Brazoria

  • Cameron

  • Harris (parts of the County east of Highway 146)

  • Jefferson

  • Kleberg

  • Nueces

  • San Patricio

→ Find out when tornado season is in Texas

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Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA)

The TWIA offers windstorm insurance to Texas residents who have been denied coverage by at least one insurer on the private market. If you’re not able to meet those requirements, coverage can also be purchased via a Texas FAIR Plan — although FAIR Plan policies generally provide inferior protection and are priced higher than TWIA or private market plans. 

Texas Windstorm Association Policies are sold by private insurance companies, not the TWIA itself. The companies that currently sell TWIA windstorm coverage are: 

  • American Capital Assurance Corp

  • Cypress Texas Insurance Company

  • Safepoint Insurance Company

  • State National Insurance Company 

  • USAA

  • Weston Insurance Company

What does TWIA windstorm insurance cover?

A Texas Windstorm Insurance Association policy helps cover the cost of wind and hail damages to your home, but it does not cover any other perils

A standard TWIA policy covers the physical structure of your home and personal belongings (furniture, clothing, appliances) in the event of wind and hail damage. The TWIA also gives you the option of purchasing additional coverage for temporary living expenses if a hurricane or bad windstorm forces you from your home, and increased cost of construction coverage that kicks in if home reconstruction prices are higher than the dwelling limit in your policy.

TWIA coverage requirements

To be eligible for a TWIA policy, your residence must be located in one of the above 14 Texas counties. Additionally, you and your property must meet the following criteria: 

  • You need to have been denied coverage by at least one insurance company that sells wind and hail coverage in your community.

  • Properties must be certified by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) as windstorm compliant to meet applicable building codes. Certification with the TDI is done via a WPI-8 or WPI-8E certification for ongoing or completed construction. The TWIA formerly issued wind certification for ongoing or completed home improvement projects (via a WPI-8-C certificate) but as of June 2020 this program is no longer in place. 

  • Properties located in a designated high-risk coastal flood zone (V, VE, or V1-30) that were constructed or remodeled on or after September 1, 2009 must purchase a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to be eligible for wind coverage. 

  • Properties must meet TWIA underwriting requirements, meaning your house needs to be in “insurable” condition. If your roof is falling through or there’s a damaged section of the property that hasn’t been repaired, you’ll likely be denied coverage by the TWIA.

Check the TWIA website for more information about windstorm insurance eligibility. 

How much does windstorm insurance cost in Texas?

The average cost of a TWIA windstorm policy is around $1,700 annually, according to the association’s website. Your windstorm insurance rates will be based on factors like the amount of coverage in your policy, your home’s construction type, your deductible amount, and any additional coverages (replacement cost contents, additional living expenses, increased cost of construction) that you add to your policy. 

If your home meets all of the TWIA’s underwriting requirements and your home is further inland, you could be eligible for rates that are significantly lower than the statewide average. 

How to file a windstorm insurance claim in Texas

In the event your home is damaged in a hurricane or other windstorm catastrophe, be sure to contact your windstorm insurance provider as soon as possible to report the loss and get your claims process underway. If you’re filing a claim with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, you can file a claim online, over the phone, or by contacting your specific agent or agency.

Keep in mind that you have up to a year from the time of wind or hail damage to file a claim with the TWIA, and up to two years for an increased cost of construction claim. Once the claim has been filed, you’ll be assigned a claim representative and you’ll be able to track the claim through the TWIA claim center or over the phone. Be sure to have the following information handy when filing your claim:

  • Your policy number

  • The cause of the damage (wind, hail, or both)

  • Details about what was damaged and a description of what caused the damage

  • Your contact information

  • Photos or videos of the damage

The TWIA has 60 days to reject or accept your claim. Once your claim is accepted, the TWIA has 10 days to pay out for repairs.

→ Learn more about filing a claim after a natural disaster