Freezes and Floods in Texas
If you live in Texas, you know that there’s one natural disaster that’s a more likely threat to homeowners than all the others: flooding. Texas is one of the top three states in flood-related damages, and as the region’s most common natural disaster, flooding will continue to threaten safety and property. Floods happen all across the state—not just in Flash Flood alley—so much so that the Texas Department of Insurance states that “almost every major city is in an area at high risk of flooding.” It’s critical for you and your clients to consider your flood insurance options.
What’s a hard freeze?
If you’re not originally from Texas, this may be a puzzling phrase you’ve heard over the local weather report. Does water freeze harder in Texas than other places? No, 32-degrees Fahrenheit/0-degrees Celsius are still the magic numbers at which water freezes and (most) laws of physics continue to apply in the Lone Star State.
The phrase “hard freeze” instead refers to the duration of freezing temperatures. Below-freezing temperatures that barely last overnight don’t pose the same risk as prolonged sub-zero conditions. A hard freeze is when farmers worry that their plants may die and homeowners fear that their pipes may burst.
Flooding from frozen pipes
Last February, Texans faced an unprecedented hard freeze when severe winter storms disabled the state’s power grid and left residents without electricity or heat for days. Pipes froze and burst in homes across Texas, compounding indoor damage on top of the already significant outdoor calamity.
Flooding from frozen, burst pipes is typically the domain of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. The flooding addressed by Aon Edge’s EZ Flood private insurance follows the same definition used by the NFIP:
“A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from:
Overflow of inland or tidal waters;
Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source;
Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood.
This kind of flooding is not covered by a homeowner’s or renter’s policy, nor is it solely a risk occurring during hurricane season and for communities near the Gulf. Flooding can happen in the winter from sources other than pipes, and at other times of the year.
The risk of flooding in Texas is significant
Flood zones are the areas where floods are most likely to occur based on historical patterns. We’re talking about probabilities and estimates for potential flooding, so it’s important to realize that flood risks continue to change with weather patterns. For example, using Texas flood maps, you can gauge the relative risk of an area in Texas while keeping in mind that there aren’t any areas in Texas that are 100% safe from flooding. In fact, according to the Texas Department of Insurance, more than half of homes flooded by Hurricane Harvey were outside of designated flood zones, known as Special Flood Hazard Areas.
And with Risk Rating 2.0 now in effect, how FEMA looks at flood zones for quoting NFIP policy premiums is also in flux. The bottom line: No matter where they are in the Lone Star State, your clients may want flood insurance to help protect them from the potential devastation of a flood.
Recovering from a flood can be expensive without insurance
Without flood insurance, flooding can devastate both your clients’ homes and their finances; homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flood-related damage, and just one inch of water can cause $25,000.00 worth of damage to a home. (In fact, the average cost of an NFIP flood insurance claim in Texas is $43,000.00.) Consider the flooding Texas has experienced over the last decade, where thousands of homes saw waters rise to historic levels, and you get a sense of the financial impact a flood can have.
What this means: a flood insurance policy can help protect your clients from the financial duress a flood can create. And with private flood insurance, coverage options offer flexibility for their homes and their budgets.
Flood insurance options to fit a home’s worth
EZ Flood® allows you to create custom flood insurance plans for your clients. Instead of relying on standardized NFIP packages, you can choose deductible and coverage options.
For example, with EZ Flood®, you can offer coverages beyond the NFIP maximum, which is important for homes worth more than $250,000. That means your clients have options beyond one-size-fits-all flood insurance plans.
Learn more about EZ Flood®
Learn more about how to offer more comprehensive, more customized flood insurance to your clients in this video:
We’re excited to work with you to adapt to these evolving changes and new landscapes, and urge you to get in touch with questions
This article is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized advice. All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy.