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Texas Homeowners Insurance

Texas Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners insurance protects you from financial losses caused by storms, fire, theft, and other events outlined in your policy. It is important to know what´s in your policy. This publication gives you general information about homeowners insurance, but it is not a substitute for the policy itself. Make sure you read your policy carefully and understand your specific coverages. It´s also important to know your rights. Texas has a Consumer Bill of Rights for homeowners and renters insurance. Your company must send the Bill of Rights with your policy or renewal.

Don´t wait until you have a claim to review your policy and to know your rights.

Texas Homeowners Policies

You can buy a dwelling policy that covers only the structure of your house. Or, like most Texans who own their homes, you can buy a homeowners policy, which combines five different types of coverage:

Dwelling - pays for damage to your house and any outbuildings, such as detached garages and storage sheds.

Personal property - pays when household items, including furniture, clothing and appliances, are damaged, stolen, or destroyed.

Liability - protects you against financial loss if you are found legally responsible for someone else´s injury or property damage. A homeowners policy automatically provides $25,000 in coverage. You can buy up to $1 million in coverage for an extra premium.

Medical payments - pays medical bills for people hurt while on your property. It also pays for some injuries that happen away from your home, such as your dog biting someone. A basic homeowners policy pays $500 in medical bills. You can pay extra and get up to $5,000 in medical payments coverage.

Loss of use - pays living expenses if your home is too damaged to live in during repairs. The most common policy pays up to 20 percent of the amount for which your house is insured.

Types of Homeowners Insurance Coverages

Insurance companies may sell several types of policies in Texas, each with a different level of coverage. Three of the policy forms available for sale in Texas - the HO-A, HO-B, and HO-C - are standardized. This means the policy language and coverages provided by these policies are the same, regardless of the company writing the policy. Keep in mind, however, that although an HO-B policy written by one company will be exactly the same as an HO-B policy written by another company, the two companies may charge different rates.

Companies may also offer alternative policy forms, if approved in advance by the Commissioner of Insurance. These policies are not standardized and usually provide varying coverages. Read your policy carefully to know exactly what coverages are included. Some companies may sell more than one policy form. In general, however, a company will offer only one form to its customers. If a company offers you a policy with less coverage than you´d like, ask if other policy forms are available. You also may be able to add additional coverage by buying endorsements to your base policy.

Following is a brief description of the types of policies sold in Texas:

  • HO-A policies provide extremely limited actual cash value coverage of your home and its contents. Only the types of damage specifically listed in the policy are covered. The HO-A is a standardized Texas policy.
  • HO-A amended policies provide more extensive coverage than the base HO-A policy but less coverage than an HO-B. HO-A amended policies are not standardized. Coverage provided by these policies may differ by company.
  • HO-B policies provide replacement cost coverage for most types of damage, except those specifically excluded in the policy. The HO-B is a standardized Texas policy.
  • HO-C policies provide the most extensive coverage, but they are more expensive than other types of policies. The HO-C is a standardized Texas policy.
  • Approved alternative policies offer varying levels of coverage. Companies can sell alternative policies only if the policy form is approved in advance by the Commissioner of Insurance. These policies are not standardized. Coverage may differ considerably from one company to another and from the coverage provided in the standardized Texas homeowners policies.

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