There is no Texas law that explicitly states that you are required to have homeowners insurance on any property or dwelling. Nor is there any Texas law dictating a minimum requirement for obtaining any insurance. It is entirely up to you whether you obtain insurance for any property you own outright. However, if you are seeking to obtain a mortgage, then, as part of your mortgage agreement, lenders will often require that you purchase homeowners insurance for your property. They are entirely with their rights and within the law to request this. What they cannot request, however, is that you insure your home for more than the cost of replacing the property and the personal possessions contained within it, no matter what the value of your mortgage might be.
Finding a company to insure your house is usually fairly straight forwards. Simply compare quotes on a website such as HelpInsure.com and choose the most suitable homeowners insurance for you. (Incidentally, when choosing homeowners insurance, do not assume that it covers flooding. Many plans do not include reimbursement for flood damage and this is a policy that you may have to take out separately.)
There are though, occasions where obtaining homeowners insurance may prove more difficult. Insurance companies are under no obligation to provide you with insurance and if they see you as a high risk, then they will either quote ridiculously high premiums or simply refuse you insurance entirely. And, by a high risk I mean they believe there is a high chance that you will make one or more claims on your insurance in the near future, thus losing them money. Losing money is something Insurance companies are very loathe to do!
Companies that offer homeowners insurance want to be assured that:
No One Is Likely To Be Injured On Your Property.
Personal liability claims can be very expensive for insurance companies. Therefore insurance companies will wish to see that your property is not likely to be the cause of any personal injury or death. You can help assure them of this by critically examining your property for any dangers, hidden or otherwise.
- Make sure that there are no cracks in your walkways that could cause someone to trip and injure themselves.
- Ensure that all door frames are of a sufficient height that no one is at risk of hurting their head.
- Check all guttering, and indeed other outside fixtures, is firmly attached so there is no danger of it falling and hurting someone.
- Cut back any overhanging branches that might fall in heavy wind causing injury.
- Check to make sure that porch railings are secure and that any wood flooring is solid and at no risk of collapsing.
- Remove any exposed nails or other pieces of metal that could catch on anyone’s body.
- Ensure that all electrical wires have been properly installed by a licensed electrician and that no wires remain exposed.
Your House Is Not Likely To Be Robbed
If you are unfortunate enough to be the victim of a robbery, it will likely be highly distressing for you personally. What your insurance company is likely to find highly distressing however, is that they have to pay out for the cost of replacing your possessions as well as for any damage caused. Therefore any Insurance company wants to be reasonably sure that your house is not likely to be robbed in the near future. You can reassure insurance companies of this in several ways.
- Contact your local police station and ask to speak to a crime prevention officer. They may well be able to offer advice on how to secure your house correctly.
- Make sure that all doors can be closed and locked securely. Deadbolts are often the most efficient way to ensure this.
- Think about installing a burglar alarm in your house. These security systems are relatively affordable and are often linked directly to a local security firm. A potential burglar may simply avoid your house if they know that it has a burglar alarm.
- Keep trees and bushes near your house well trimmed. This will help eliminate places where wrongdoers could hide in addition to improving the overall look of your house.
- Use your garage if you have one. Cars parked in a garage overnight are much less likely to be stolen than ones left on the street. Cars parked outside are also something a burglar could hide behind.
Install, or maintain well, an outside light. This will prevent people approaching your house under cover of darkness. Alternatively, consider installing a motion detecting security light.
Your House Is In A Decent State Of Repair
Home insurers want to be reasonably sure that your house isn’t going to fall down in the near future thus costing them a large amount of money. Merely keeping your house looking nice and in a good state of repair can go a long way to reassuring potential insurers that you take care of your property and are unlikely to be making claims for leaking roofs and the like.
- Keep your lawns and bushes well trimmed and manicured.
- Re-paint the exterior of your house if necessary.
- Re-decorate where necessary inside the house. Pay particular attention to ceilings as any sign of water damage may suggest you will make a water-damage related claim in the near future.
- Tidy up before the insurance agent pays you a visit. It’s all about creating a good impression!
If you have taken all the above steps to prevent personal injury, make burglary unlikely and properly maintain your property, it is likely that you will have little difficulty obtaining homeowners insurance. In addition, you will likely have lowered your annual premiums by convincing the insurance company that you are unlikely to make claims.
However, if you are still finding it difficult to find a company to insure your home then you may find it useful to look at the following websites.
This is a free service operated by the TDI (the Texas Department of Insurance) and the Office of Public Insurance Council. On this site you can learn more about various Insurance companies and the different policies available. You will also be able to compare different premiums and to read reviews from consumers. A very useful site!
This is the website of the Texas FAIR Plan Association. This Association may be able to offer you basic homeowners insurance if you have previously been turned down for insurance by two or more other insurance companies. The coverage they are able to offer you may not be as comprehensive as other policies, but it should be enough to satisfy your mortgage provider.
As a last resort in your hunt for homeowners insurance, you could consider using a surplus lines carrier. Surplus lines carriers operate from outside Texas and are specialists in offering homeowners insurance to those unable to secure insurance elsewhere. They are able to do this because they operate from outside Texas and are not under the same stringent regulations as Texas providers. Consequently, they can insure for higher levels of risk. This, however, does mean that premiums will be higher. Explore other avenues fully before looking at surplus lines carriers.
The video below is a full report on Texas homeowners insurance.
Thanks for visiting Tex.org and be sure to like us on Facebook.