Do I need flood insurance - TN

Flooding is the leading cause of severe weather-related deaths in the US, and costs the nation billions of dollars in property damage annually. Tennessee is certainly no stranger to floods, given the infamous flooding of the Grand Ole Opry in 2010, for example. That’s why it’s so important for residents and business owners alike to be equipped with the right flood insurance policy to protect their property. But first, here’s a deep dive into this critical coverage.

What Is Flood Insurance?

Basically, flood insurance is a contract between an insurance company and an individual or business owner in which the insurer agrees to cover losses relating to flood damage. Coverage is designed to protect your property’s physical structure or dwelling as well as your personal belongings or inventory if it gets damaged or destroyed by natural water (i.e., rain, waves, etc.). Often, water must cover at least two acres of land to qualify for reimbursement.

Flood coverage is excluded in many standard insurance policies like homeowners, renters, and business insurance in Tennessee because of the extreme property damage costs due to the peril. Without the proper coverage, homeowners and business owners could easily go bankrupt trying to pay for damages out of pocket. Flood insurance is only available through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is a part of FEMA.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover in Tennessee?

Similar to homeowners and business owners policies in Tennessee, flood insurance is designed to protect both your home/business and your stuff/inventory. But since both of these standard policies exclude flood damage specifically, that’s where flood insurance steps in to fill the void.

Flood insurance is designed to cover the following:

  • Damage to/loss of your home or business: Known as “structural coverage,” this includes the foundation of the building (also known as the “dwelling”), electrical systems, indoor plumbing, built-in appliances, and any additional flooring like carpeting. Detached structures like sheds are often covered as well.
  • Damage to/loss of your stuff or inventory: Known as “contents coverage,” this includes furniture (built-in and free-standing), smaller/not built-in appliances, some food, valuables, and clothing. For businesses, this coverage usually includes inventory.

It’s important to note that any depreciation of your property's value will be factored into what a flood insurance policy pays towards reimbursement for damages, depending on the type of claim filed. Certain types of claims only qualify for actual current cash value reimbursement, while others qualify for the full original replacement cost.

What Does Flood Insurance Not Cover in Tennessee?

While flood insurance provides a lot of protection, it’s not designed to cover all types of flooding or water damage. The good news is that many of the exclusions under flood insurance policies are actually covered by standard homeowners or business owners policies in Tennessee.

Commonly excluded perils under flood insurance in Tennessee include the following:

  • Flooding caused by non-natural water events (e.g., backed-up toilets or sewers)
  • Damage caused by mold, mildew or moisture not directly relating to the flood
  • Earth movement related damage
  • Loss of use or additional living expenses like hotel rooms while awaiting repairs on the damaged property
  • Business interruption costs
  • Additional property outside of the dwelling like patios, fences, swimming pools, septic systems, trees, and shrubs
  • Damage due to natural water that inundates less than two acres of normally dry land
  • Certain kinds of personal property

Standard homeowners policies in Tennessee do cover additional living expenses in the event you’re forced to live elsewhere temporarily while repairs are being made on your home. Also, standard business owners policies in Tennessee come with protection for interruptions leading to lost revenue.

What Are the Benefits of Flood Insurance in Tennessee?

The most obvious benefit of flood insurance is that it provides critical protection against property damage due to natural floodwaters. That being said, there are multiple important benefits to having a flood insurance policy in Tennessee:

  • Protection for your home or office building’s structure: Flood insurance policies provide protection against property damage to residential homes and office spaces or storefronts that’s caused by flooding. This coverage is specifically excluded in standard homeowners and business owners policies in Tennessee.
  • Protection for your belongings or inventory: Flood insurance policies also provide protection lacking in standard homeowners or business owners policies in Tennessee for flood damage to your personal belongings or business inventory.

Flood damage can cost homeowners or business owners in Tennessee hundreds of thousands of dollars for repairs, replacements, and rebuilds. Having the right flood insurance policy can mean the difference between financial recovery and having to close a building’s doors permanently.

What Are the Risks of Not Having Flood Insurance?

There are obvious pros to having flood insurance coverage, and even a couple of glaring cons to not having it as well. The following risks associated with not having flood insurance might further inspire you to hunt for your own policy:

  • Bankruptcy: Having to pay for flood damages out of pocket could send a home or business owner into bankruptcy, fast. Flood insurance helps businesses stay afloat following a disaster and allows homeowners to rebuild/repair and keep their home.
  • Exclusions under other policies: Since standard homeowners and business owners policies in Tennessee specifically exclude flood damage, and floods are indeed a threat to residents and professionals in the state, it’s important to have a policy that fills the void.

In order to avoid serious risks like bankruptcy and coverage exclusions under standard insurance policies, consider getting yourself a flood insurance policy. When it comes to protecting your property from deep water, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

How Much Does Flood Insurance Cost in Tennessee?

Really, the cost of a flood insurance policy depends on a number of different factors like location, your area’s flooding history, and the elevation of your home or business. Properties located within official flood zones will obviously pay much more for coverage than those located in drier areas. The amount of coverage you purchase for both the contents and structural categories will also affect your premium cost, as will your deductible amount.

On the low end of the spectrum, homes and businesses located in smaller, less-risky towns in Tennessee might pay only $300 annually for coverage, while properties located in larger, often-flooded towns might pay closer to $3,000 each year. That considered, the average cost of flood insurance policies in the US currently is $700. A Tennessee independent insurance agent can help you find more specific flood insurance costs in your area.

Why Work with a Tennessee Independent Insurance Agent?

In order to get the protection you need and deserve, you’ll want to work with a trusted expert. And who could be better for the job than a local agent who shares your area code? Independent insurance agents act as your own personal insurance shoppers, offering you tons more options than one-policy companies. With just one call, they’ll hook you up with multiple quotes.

Tennessee independent insurance agents are armed with knowledge on what coverage is needed in your area, and they’ll get you set up with just enough of it — not too little, not too much. They’ll handle all the heavy lifting, so you can rest assured you’ll be set up with the right coverage at the right price.

They’re not just there at the beginning either. If disaster strikes, your Tennessee agent will be there to help walk you through the claims process and make sure you’re getting the benefits you're entitled to. Now that’s thinking ahead.

Article Reviewed by | Paul Martin

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