GOOD TO KNOW
To obtain or continue windstorm and hail coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA), property must meet certain requirements established by the Texas Legislature. These requirements are outlined in Texas Insurance Code Chapter 2210.
- Residential: Dwellings, personal property, manufactured homes
- Commercial: Commercial buildings, business personal property, townhouses and condominiums
- Miscellaneous Items: Including but not limited to signs, fences, swimming pools, and flagpoles
In order to be eligible for a TWIA policy, applicants and properties must meet the following criteria:
- Properties must be located in the area designated by the Commissioner of Insurance, which currently includes all 14 first-tier coastal counties (Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio and Willacy) and parts of Harris County east of Highway 146
- Applicants must have been denied coverage by at least one authorized insurer actively writing or renewing windstorm and hail coverage in the designated area
- Properties must be certified by the Texas Department of Insurance (WPI-8/WPI-8-E) or Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (WPI-8-C) as having been built to applicable building codes, with limited exceptions. Learn more about the windstorm Certificates of Compliance.
- Properties located in flood zones V, VE, or V1-30 that were constructed, altered, remodeled, or enlarged on or after September 1, 2009 and that can obtain flood insurance through the NFIP must provide proof of flood insurance coverage and
- Properties must meet all other Association underwriting requirements, including maintaining the structure in an insurable condition – in good repair, with no unrepaired damage or hazardous conditions.
TWIA regularly inspects properties as part of its underwriting process to determine the accuracy of rating information, discover any unrepaired damage, and identify any other conditions that affect the insurability of the property. Properties may be inspected physically by a vendor or remotely with high-quality aerial imagery and risk management reports. Policies may be reevaluated at any time to ensure continued compliance with all eligibility requirements.
Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Updated 8/25/2020
- Eligibility requirements are set out in Texas Insurance Code Chapter 2210
- Properties must be located in the catastrophe area designated by the Commissioner of Insurance.
- Applicatns must have received a declination from at least one authorized carrier.
- Structures built, altered, remodeled, enlarged repaired or to which additions are made on or after January 1, 1988, with some exceptions, must obtain a Certificate of Compliance.
- Properties located in a V flood zone must have flood insurance.
- Properties must meet all other Association underwriting requirements.
Effective June 1, 2020, TWIA is no longer accepting applications for Certificates of Compliance. The windstorm certification process is now administered solely by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Windstorm Inspection Program.
TDI Windstorm Inspection Program
- (800) 248-6032
- Field offices in Beaumont, La Marque, Angleton, and Corpus Christi
The Certificates of Compliance issued by TWIA (WPI-8-C) between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2020 (and those issued as a result of applications submitted to TWIA on or before May 31, 2020) will remain valid. Property owners do not have to re-certify the certified structure to remain eligible for TWIA insurance, unless they update the structure after being certified.
This change is the result of legislation passed in 2019. To learn more, please visit the Changes at TWIA webpage.
Topics included on this page:
- What is a Certificate of Compliance? And why are they a TWIA eligibility requirement?
- Exceptions to TWIA’s Windstorm Certification Requirement
- Glossary of Terms
- How to Get a Certificate of Compliance
- What Needs a Certificate of Compliance
- What Doesn’t Need a Certificate of Compliance
- How to Look Up Existing Certificates of Compliance
- TWIA’s History of Issuing Certificates of Compliance
- Where to Learn More
What is a Certificate of Compliance? And why are they a TWIA eligibility requirement?
If you are a Texas coastal property owner who needs to get wind and hail insurance through TWIA, the Texas Insurance Code Chapter 2210 requires your property to be certified as meeting windstorm building code requirements in your area. This Windstorm Certificate of Compliance must be provided to TWIA before the property can be eligible for TWIA coverage.
Without a Certificate of Compliance, TWIA lacks evidence that the structure conforms to applicable building codes, and it may be considered uninsurable and ineligible for coverage with TWIA.
Visit our Coverage and Eligibility webpage to learn more about TWIA eligibility requirements.
Exceptions to TWIA’s Windstorm Certification Requirement
As outlined in the Texas Insurance Code, there are two exceptions to the TWIA eligibility requirement:
- Properties with construction from 1988 to June 19, 2009 that are not certified may still be eligible for TWIA coverage. These properties must pay a 15% surcharge based on, and in addition to, their policy premium amount.
- Properties that are non-renewed or cancelled by their private market insurance company and missing a required WPI-8 at the time of policy non-renewal/cancellation. These properties may be eligible for TWIA coverage with a premium based on 110% of the voluntary market rate.
Glossary of Terms
Certificates of Compliance go by several names:
- WPI-8: A Certificate of Compliance issued by the Texas Department of Insurance for new and ongoing improvements.
- WPI-8-E: A Certificate of Compliance issued by the Texas Department of Insurance for completed improvements. The Texas Department of Insurance began accepting applications for WPI-8-Es on June 1, 2020.
- WPI-8-C: A Certificate of Compliance issued by TWIA for completed improvements. TWIA accepted applications for WPI-8-Cs from January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2020.
Additional terms to know:
- New and ongoing improvement: These are improvements whose construction has not begun or has not finished yet. This includes new structures and the following changes to existing structures: alterations, remodeling, enlargement, repairs (including reroofing), and additions.
- Completed improvement: A completed improvement is defined as:
- An improvement in which the original transfer of title from the builder to the initial owner of the improvement has occurred, or
- If a transfer is not contemplated, an improvement that is substantially completed.
- Substantially completed: An improvement for which the final framing stage, including attachment of component and cladding items and installation of windborne debris protection, has been completed. If the improvement’s windborne debris protection consists of wood structural panels, all the panels must be present at the improvement’s location but need not be installed.
How to Get a Certificate of Compliance
As of June 1, 2020, all Certificates of Compliance are issued by the Texas Department of Insurance as part of its Windstorm Inspection Program. Please visit the TDI website to learn more about their certification process: www.tdi.texas.gov/wind
What Needs a Certificate of Compliance
Some common examples of improvements that need to be certified include:
- New structures
- Building additions/enlargements
- Windows, entry doors, and garage doors
- Patio covers
- Replacing a roof or repairing a significant portion of a roof
- Re-siding a significant portion of an exterior wall
Please contact TDI to verify if your improvement needs to be certified.
TDI Windstorm Inspection Program
What Doesn’t Need a Certificate of Compliance
A full list of improvements that do not need to be certified is available on the TDI website. Some examples include:
- Painting, carpeting, and refinishing work
- Plumbing and electrical repairs
- Fence repair
- Repair or replacement of gutters
- Temporary repairs after a storm
How to Look Up Existing Certificates of Compliance
Any Certificates of Compliance issued by TDI (WPI-8/WPI-8-E) are searchable on the TDI online database.
Property owners looking for a Certificate of Compliance issued by TWIA (WPI-8-C) between January 1, 2017 and May 31, 2020, can contact us to request a copy by emailing email@example.com or calling (800) 231-5360.
Certificates issued by TWIA are not currently available on TDI’s website, nor are they available on TWIA’s website. TWIA accepted applications for WPI-8-Cs from January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2020. If you are looking for a Certificate of Compliance before or after that date range, it would have been processed and/or issued by TDI.
TWIA’s History of Issuing Certificates of Compliance
TWIA began issuing Certificates of Compliance on January 1, 2017, as a result of legislation passed in 2015. TWIA stopped issuing Certificates of Compliance on May 31, 2020, as a result of legislation passed in 2019.
From January 1, 2017 to May 31, 2020, there were two routes to obtain a Certificate of Compliance – one through TWIA and the other through TDI – and which one property owners followed was based on the construction status of the improvement to be certified.
As of June 1, 2020, there is only be one route to certification: through TDI.
Where to Learn More
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) administers the Windstorm Inspection Program and issues all Certificates of Compliance.
TDI Windstorm Inspection Program
Out-of-town scam artists may be the first to arrive at your front door after a disaster. To protect what you invest in repairs, hire local contractors, get written bids, and check references. Use these tips to avoid problems.
Get more than one bid
Getting at least three bids will help you decide which offers may be too high or too good to be true. Your insurance adjuster can give you an idea of what the repair should cost. Bids should be on the company’s letterhead with a phone number and an address. Keep a copy of all agreements and warranty terms.
Watch what you sign
Read every document carefully before you sign. Scammers will try to get you to sign a contract by calling it an estimate or a release just to go on your roof. And don’t sign a contract with blank spaces. Shady contractors will fill in the spaces later with higher costs or work that’s different from what you wanted.
Beware of misleading language
Don’t sign contracts that say, “Homeowner agrees to the listed repairs for the value of insurance proceeds.” If you do, the contractor gets every penny from your insurance payment. Make sure the contract lists the materials they’ll use. Keep an eye out for defective or low-quality materials while work progresses.
Don’t pay up front
Be wary if a contractor asks for a large or full down payment. After a disaster, it’s against the law for out-of-town contractors to ask for a down payment before they start.
Skip offers to waive your deductible
It’s against the law for a contractor to offer to waive an insurance deductible work the deductible amount into a bid. If this happens, find a new contractor. You can also report it to the Texas Attorney General at 800-621-0508.
Common contracting scams
The scam: A contractor asks you to sign something before giving you an estimate of repairs.
What to do: Read it carefully. Make sure it’s not a contract, or you could get stuck paying a bill without ever seeing an estimate.
The scam: A contractor asks you to sign a contract with blank sections.
What to do: Don’t do it. The contractor could fill in the blank sections later with higher costs or different work.
The scam: Contractor offers to waive your deductible or “work it into the bid.”
What to do: Hire a different contractor. It’s illegal for a contractor to offer to waive a deductible or promise a rebate for it. The deductible is your responsibility, and your insurance company may ask for proof you paid it.
The scam: Contractor asks for a large down payment or a full payment up front.
What to do: Never pay the entire bill up front and be wary if a contractor asks for a large down payment. When a disaster is declared, it’s against the law for contractors from outside your area to ask for payment before they start work.
Select a good contractor
To avoid these and other scams:
- Get bids in writing and use local companies when possible. The bid should include the company’s name, phone number, and address.
- Call the Better Business Bureau and the contractor’s references.
- Ask for the contractor’s certificate of insurance and bond certification. Call the companies listed to verify the coverage.
- Verify a plumber’s license and check complaints with the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners. Other types of contractors, including electricians, may be licensed through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
- Ask the contractor to tell you if they contact your insurance company about additional work or costs.
- Pay with a check or credit card instead of cash. It creates a record of your payments to the contractor.
Report possible contracting scams to local law enforcement.
Visit www.TDI.texas.gov for more tips to avoid scams, information on insurance coverage for storm damage, and what to do if you disagree with your insurance company’s decision. TDI’s Help Line is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday to Friday: 800-252-3439.
Tips to avoid contractor fraud
- Get written estimates on company letterhead with clear contact information.
- Get more than one bid to gauge which ones are too high or too good to be true.
- Check references and phone numbers.
- Beware of those who only have out-of-town references or solicit door to door.
- Don’t pay in full up front and don’t make a final payment until the job is done.
- Never sign a contract with blanks on it.
If you live along the Texas coast, your property must meet certain building standards to get a windstorm insurance policy through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. Here are some things to keep in mind for new construction, repairs, or renovations.
Properties in 14 coastal counties and in parts of Harris County east of Highway 146 are in a designated catastrophe area. Homeowners in these areas may not be able to get private insurance that covers windstorm and hail damage. Homeowners who aren’t able to get private coverage can buy a policy through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).
Building to code
To buy a TWIA policy, most homes and properties must have a certificate of compliance verifying that the structure meets applicable building codes and can withstand high winds and hail. TDI issues two types of certificates of compliance:
- A WPI-8 is issued for ongoing construction. These inspections can be done by an appointed Texas licensed professional engineer or TDI windstorm inspector while the work is underway.
- A WPI-8-E is issued for completed construction. These inspections can be done by a Texas licensed professional engineer.
Most new construction, roof replacements, major repairs, and other alterations require an inspection and certificate of compliance. Examples of projects that do not require an inspection include:
- Roof repairs of less than 100 square feet that don’t involve decking.
- Painting, carpeting, cabinets, and other non-structural items.
- Repairs or replacement of fences, gutters, decorative shutters, steps, and screen doors.
- Plumbing and electrical repairs.
- Replacement of glass in windows or doors.
Finding an inspector
Make sure to ask your contractor how they will meet the requirements for an inspection and get a certificate of compliance. There are two ways to have your project inspected:
- During construction, the inspection can be done by an engineer appointed by TDI or a TDI inspector. Check the windstorm website for a list of appointed engineers or call TDI at 800-248-6032.
- If the construction is finished, then a Texas licensed professional engineer can do the inspection and send it to TDI for a certificate of compliance. Because it’s more difficult to inspect a completed structure for building code compliance, it may cost more.
Search for a certificate
You can check for a property’s certificate of compliance (WPI-8 or WPI-8-E) on the TDI Windstorm website. To check for a certificate issued by TWIA (WPI-8-C) between January 1, 2017, and May 31, 2020, call them at 1-800-231-5360. TWIA-issued certificates will not appear on the TDI website.
BEFORE THE STORM
This allows insurers to provide a notice of material change instead of cancelling or non-renewing policies when the insurer makes a change to a prior or existing policy that will:
- reduce coverage;
- change conditions of coverage; or
- change the duties of the insured at renewal.
- Generally, a notice of material change must: appear in a conspicuous place;
- clearly indicate each material change to the policy;
- be written in plain language; and
- be provided to the insured not later than the 30th day before the renewal or expiration date.
Storms in Texas often happen with little or no warning. Being prepared helps protect your family and property and can save you time and frustration if you file an insurance claim.
Make an inventory
Make a list of the items you own and update it at least once a year. Include the serial number, value, and date you bought each item. Take pictures or videos of each room in your house, including the closets and drawers. If you file a claim, the list and pictures will make the process faster.
Learn more: You need a home inventory
Find your insurance cards and policies
Make copies of your paper documents or email them to yourself so you’ll have them if you need to leave your house. If you have health, auto, or homeowners insurance cards, put those in the bag you’ll take if you leave.
Know your deductible
The deductible is what you have to pay before the insurance company will pay. Most companies subtract your deductible from the amount it owes you. For example, if you have a claim for $1,000 and a deductible of $300, the insurance company will deduct $300 from your claim check.
Learn more: What to know about deductibles
Know where you can see a doctor
Know the ways you can get health care if you leave your area. This might mean using a doctor outside your network. Ask your plan if you’ll have to pay more. Also know your other options, like which urgent care centers are in network and your telehealth options.
Learn more: Care options and costs
Review your coverages
Make sure your insurance policies are up to date and provide enough coverage. Your coverage limits might be too low if you’ve built onto your house or bought new furniture or electronics. Learn more: Do you have enough home insurance?
Depending on your situation, you might think about buying:
- Renters insurance. It pays to repair or replace personal property (things like your clothes, furniture, and electronics) if they are stolen or damaged.
Learn more: Do you need renters insurance.
- Flood insurance: Homeowners policies don’t cover damage caused by floods. Learn more about wind, flood and the other types of insurance you can buy.
- Comprehensive auto coverage. Comprehensive (other than collision) coverage will pay to repair or replace your car if it’s damaged or destroyed by hail, wind, fire, or flood.
- More coverage for jewelry or art. Homeowners policies limit what they’ll pay for things like jewelry and art. If you own expensive jewelry, art, or other items, talk to your agent about adding more coverage.
Learn more about preparing
- Hurricane season: How to prepare your home and property
- Are you prepared for a tornado? Here’s how to protect your home
- Home policies: Replacement cost or actual cash value?
- Be ready for wildfire
- Texas Ready
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- National Flood Insurance Program
Find out about current weather
Question? Call us at 800-252-3439.
AFTER THE STORM
TDI can provide contact information for your insurance company or help with questions about how to file a claim. Call our Help Line from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time, Monday to Friday: 800-252-3439.
Protecting your property
- Call your insurance company to report damage.
- Take pictures and video of the damage. Don’t throw anything away until your insurance adjuster tells you.
- Make temporary repairs to prevent more damage. Remove standing water. Cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out.
- Keep a list of the repairs and save receipts. Don’t make permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster sees the damage.
Filing a claim
Call your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to report property damage.
For company phone numbers, use our Company Lookup or call us at 800-252-3439.
- Keep a record of everyone you talked to with your company.
- Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
- Ask about an advance payment if you need help quickly.
- Ask about living expenses. Most policies will cover some of the costs you have if you are unable to live in your home because of damage that is covered by your insurance. Keep your receipts for these costs.
- If you need shelter or emergency food or water, contact the Red Cross at 800-733-2767.
- How do I file a homeowners claim? The process, deadlines, and your options if you disagree with your insurance company.
- Types of home policies (video, chart)
- Flooded cars: What to know about insurance claims and repairs
- How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home
- Water and mold: What you need to know about insurance coverage.
- Auto claims: What to know if your car was totaled.
- Roof claims: What you need to know when filing a claim or replacing your roof.
- What if my insurance isn’t paying enough? If you believe your insurance company didn’t pay enough to cover your damages or unfairly denied your claim, you have options.
Repairing your home
- Make sure your adjuster and company have your current phone number.
- Make sure your address is visible from the street. You may need to post a sign with your address in the yard.
- Try to be there when the adjuster visits and point out all damage.
- Get multiple bids from contractors and compare them with the adjuster’s report before settling the claim.
- Know the signs of a contracting scam and how to avoid them.
- Save proof that you paid the deductible on the claim. A state law makes it illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or to promise a rebate for your deductible. It also allows insurance companies to request proof, such a receipt or canceled check, that you paid the deductible.
- Protect yourself from contractor scams: Fraud can range from shoddy repairs to price gouging to people who take the money and run. (Video version)
- How to find a good contractor after a storm (video)
- Do your repairs need a windstorm inspection? TDI lists some things to keep in mind as you repair and rebuild.
Resources and key contacts
- Search for licensed fire sprinkler repair contractors: Use the State Fire Marshal’s Office Company / Licensee Search to find contractors licensed and authorized to repair fire sprinklers in Texas. Use the Company Search tab and enter SCR-G in the “License Type / Number” box.
- Office of Public Insurance Counsel: Check website for tips, call 1-877-611-6742, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Texas Windstorm Insurance Association: 877-281-1431 (English) or 866-443-3144 (Español).
- National Flood Insurance Program: How to file a claim
- Texas FAIR Plan Association: 877-786-5665 (English) or 866-443-6738 (Español).
- DisasterAssistance.gov: Apply for FEMA help, check the status of your application, or find a hotel that accepts FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance.
- 2-1-1 Texas: Call 2-1-1 for help with food, housing, health care, and more.
- Windstorm Inspection Program
- Texas Department of Motor Vehicles: Water-damaged vehicles title check
- Helping storm victims: A toolkit for community groups
- Preventing fraud after a storm: a toolkit for city and county officials
Guidance to industry