Ask Amy: Shopping flood insurance, door-to-door electric provider sales

(Alejandro Granadillo, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

You asked and Amy Davis has answers! From flood insurance to questions about door-to-door electric company sales, Amy tackles a few of the top questions you all emailed to AskAmy@kprc.com.


Shopping for flood insurance

Question from Luisana: My flood insurance is up for renewal and I was wondering if I can shop around for better rates? I am required to have it after Hurricane Harvey.

Answer: Texas doesn’t require homeowners to purchase flood insurance, but if your property is in a high-risk flood zone, you may need to buy coverage as a condition of your mortgage. Flood insurance is also a good consideration in Texas, as flood damage isn’t covered by homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies.

It is up to your mortgage company if they will accept flood insurance from a private insurer. The standard flood insurance is from the National Flood Insurance Program from FEMA. You can buy it through many different insurance providers but the price will be the same.

The average cost of flood insurance in Texas is $634 per year for policies purchased through the NFIP, but rates may vary significantly. Depending on several factors - where your house is located, how it’s built, the property’s elevation, and how often you occupy the home - flood insurance rates can range from just $65 to more than $10,000. In the largest cities in Texas, premiums range from $479 to $1,165 per year.

Check to see if your mortgage company will accept private flood insurance. Keep in mind, some of these companies have not been around long enough to have a good history to check.


Your rights and self-storage companies

Question: What is the liability of a climate control storage company when rodents eat up everything?

(KSAT 12 News)

Answer: This may depend on the contract or agreement you signed when you rented your storage unit.

The fine print of your rental agreement might indicate that the facility is not liable for any damage to your property beyond the company’s control; for example, damage done by a fire or an earthquake. But you’d have a strong argument that an infestation of rodents is within its control and that the facility was negligent by failing to set rodent traps or conduct routine inspections.

Or, the facility might indicate that you could or should have bought storage insurance to cover your possessions. You could likely point out, though, that rats and vermin are commonly excluded from such insurance coverage.

Ultimately, any decent business would offer to evaluate any damage to your belongings. If there is actual physical damage, it should pay. If it doesn’t, you would be within your rights to write a letter, or have an attorney write a letter, asking for compensation. Remember, storage facilities are in competition for business, and fear the bad word of mouth.

Also check, your own homeowners’ insurance covers you for pest damage.

For more information check out this link on Texas laws about self-storage facilities.

RELATED: Theft at self-storage unit but insurance won’t cover it


Door-to-door electric provider sales

Question from Judy in the Champions area: Two women came to the door claiming to represent Direct Energy. They were wearing Direct Energy shirts. They said they could get her 8 cents a kilowatt with no delivery charge for electricity. Could this be a scam?

(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Answer: Energy brokers can and do go door to door to sign people up for electricity service. All brokers must register with the state’s Public Utility Commission.

The rule covering door-to-door sales is covered in 25.474(f) 25.474.pdf (texas.gov) - (f) Enrollment via door-to-door sales. In part, they must wear a badge and must also let you know about the three-day right of rescission required by the Federal Trade Commission’s Trade Regulation Rule Concerning Cooling Off Period for Sales.


In this week’s episode of Ask Amy, she joins producer Andrea Slaydon to answer more of your questions. Topics include how calling 8-1-1 can help you figure out who is digging on your property and why some companies only want you to pay in cash.

Click here to watch.

(Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Do you have a question for Amy and the team? Email AskAmy@kprc.com and we will work to find answers for you!


About the Authors:

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.