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Wildfires in Texas affect many homeowners lacking insurance

Posted On Wed, March 9, 2011

Wildfires ripped through dozens of Texas homes late last month, and for many of these homeowners, the cost of repairing them is beyond their financial capability because they lack home insurance.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News, 70 homes were damaged or destroyed across the state after wildfires struck on February 27. The paper says the cost is estimated at $13 million, but high premiums in the state left 20 of the homes affected lacking insurance coverage.

Representatives for Austin-based Southwestern Insurance Information Service, which represents insurers operating in Texas and Oklahoma, say the high rates are linked to the area's risk for dangerous weather.

"We are subject to just about every weather-related disast known to man except earthquakes," said Jerry Johns, president of the SIIS. "That's a major contributor to higher insurance rates."

Fortunately for homeowners lacking coverage, the Red Cross may be able to help. Vicky Redmond, executive director for the organizaiton's Panhandle chapter says it provides emergency needs on an as-needed basis.

While home insurance rates in Texas are among the highest in the nation, Insure.com says they should not be compared to other states because of their unique policy forms. 

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