Houston Harvey Flooding WIND V. FLOODING CLAIMS
Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast in Rockport devastating the artist community with 132 mph winds. There was widespread destruction and property damage caused by the wind and inevitably, some storm surge. Coastal residents affected by the windstorms will be subject to the new Texas law, HB 1774, which goes into effect September 1, 2017.
Any and all flood claims will be processed through an insurance company like State Farm via the National Flood Insurance Program. The NFIP is a Federal program and not subject to state law. As a consequence, HB 1774 will have no effect on flood claims.
And similarly, windstorm claims will be subject to HB1774.
A huge problem for Texas homeowners on the coast will be the dispute about whether damage was caused by the storm surge - "flooding"; or from wind. It matters a great deal. Nearly all Texas homes are covered by a homeowners policy. That policy will cover wind storm damage. The shingles are blown off. The roof decking is blown away. Water penetration after the roof is blown away is windstorm damage and covered. If a tree falls on the house that is covered by the Texas Homeowners policy.
But in low lying coastal areas like Rockport, some kind of storm surge takes place. The damage caused by that storm surge is flooding. It is not covered by the Texas Homeowners' policy. It is covered by a flood pollcy but not a homeowners policy.
These disputes are why Texas homeowners will need lawyers to get paid fairly for their storm damage. It should come as no surprise that insurance companies will label damage flood damage thus avoiding responsibility for windstorm damage covered by the policy.