Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Friday, May 10, 2002

ATTORNEY GENERAL CORNYN CAUTIONS TEXANS TO READ HOMEOWNER POLICY NOTICES CAREFULLY

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today is urging Texans to study their homeowners insurance policies upon renewal because they may be changing markedly. Also, these policies can vary dramatically from company to company.

For example, the comprehensive HO-B homeowner policy that most Texans have had for years has been revised. By Jan. 1, 2003, this policy must be available in Texas. The revised HO-B policy no longer covers mold remediation beyond what is necessary to repair or replace the property damaged. This new policy only covers mold when it results from sudden and accidental discharges, leaks or overflow of water. Mold caused by hidden and undetected water damage is covered if reported within 30 days of detection.

Under the revised HO-B policy, however, insurance companies must offer policyholders the opportunity to repurchase full mold remediation coverage, at added cost, in amounts of 25 percent, 50 percent and 100 percent of their policy limits.

"Of even greater impact to consumers, however, is the fact that some large insurers are already replacing their comprehensive HO-B policies with more restrictive HO-A policies," Cornyn said. "The basic HO-A policy excludes virtually all water and mold damage coverage unless the homeowner adds new endorsements, which also adds to the cost."

Cornyn advised Texans to study their homeowner renewal policies and take the time necessary to understand any changes, including any new endorsements. Cornyn also suggested that consumers question their insurance agent, in writing if possible, about any changes to their policy. Homeowners can learn more by visiting the Texas Department of Insurance's website at www.tdi.state.tx.us, or by obtaining the free brochure, "Homeowners Insurance: A Guide for Texas Consumers" from TDI's publication order line at 800/599-SHOP (7467).

Consumers can often reduce their premiums by calling competing insurance companies, Cornyn said. However, homeowners should retain their current policies until they have signed on with another company so they can ensure continued coverage. If you suspect any insurance company or agent is engaged in a deceptive or misleading practice regarding renewing or selling a homeowner's policy, you are encouraged to call toll-free the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General at 800/621-0508, or the TDI at 800/252-3439.

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