Does my Texas homeowners insurance cover drought? That is a fair question to ask when you see all of the changing weather conditions in the Southwest. Here is an answer to this important question.
In October 2010, Texas started to experience a severe lack of rainfall. Texas Climatologist John-Nielsen Gammon compared the 2011 rainfall of only 14.8 inches to record drought levels back in the 1950s. As a response to the 1950s drought, the Texas Water Development Board was created to construct 62 new dams and reservoirs.
In 1996 and 2005, Texas also experienced droughts. The 2010 to 2015 Texas drought worsened as high summer temperatures lead to surface water evaporation in lakes, rivers and streams. Climatologists believe that the La Nina weather pattern is the primary reason for the low rainfall. Climatologist John-Nielsen Gammon estimated that since the 1970s, the average temperature in the state had increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit.
The entire cycle of drought has a domino effect with less water leading to brown vegetation, which leads to more wildfires, which causes even drier conditions and uses up scarce water resources. Thankfully, the Texas water system has created a solid foundation for dealing with multi-year droughts.
Drought can be an unexpected catastrophe that uproots the very foundations of society. People need water to survive. When there are water shortages, some people may not act normal. There have been reports of people “stealing water” from one another. Here is a list of the City of Austin, Texas Stage 2 Water Restrictions:
Outdoor water limited to one day per week.
Car washing limited to vehicle washing facility.
No ornamental fountains with aerial water spray or water fall more then four inches.
Drought may impact homeowners insurance in a number of ways: lower property values, brown landscaping, damage to foundations due to sinking soil and contaminated drinking water. Are any of these drought-caused damages covered by homeowners insurance?
The bad news is that drought is not a separate category for most homeowners insurance policies. Foundation damage due to soil shifting is listed under “earthquake insurance.” Earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 are not uncommon in Texas, thus upgrades to your homeowners insurance might be something to think about.
So how do you deal with earth shifts? Well, as Texas oil, gas and water are removed from the ground, sink holes may result. Some experts suggest watering your foundation to prevent damage.
With the May 2015 rains, the official Texas drought may be over, but there will be lingering effects. It takes time for Mother Earth to fully recover. The Texas population growth has placed undue stress upon limited water resources. Droughts in 1996, 2005 and 2010 are becoming more regular.
It might be wise to revisit your TX homeowners insurance to determine if you want to add coverage. A good Texas homeowners insurance policy can handle all of the most immediate dangers. You might want to update your homeowners insurance to suit the vagaries of Mother Nature.
Resources and Resources: https://www.texasquotes.com/