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Your mortgage lender may require you to have a policy if your property is located in an area deemed to be at high risk of flooding in Tennessee. However, even properties that are not in designated high-risk areas may require coverage.
According to FEMA, flooding is the #1 occurring natural disaster in the U.S., and many natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms, storm surges, and heavy rainfall cause flooding as well as many non-disaster disasters. Most home insurance policies do not cover flooding. It’s just too broad of a risk to lump under a typical home insurance policy.
Yet, according to a 2020 study by the Insurance Information Institute (III), only 30% of homeowners in high-risk flooding zones have flood insurance. Many people don’t realize their home isn’t covered with flood insurance—until disaster strikes and even then, it may be too late. Most flood insurance policies have a 30-day waiting period.
This is why it’s so important for you to know about home insurance in your state. Let Jerry help! Home and auto insurance comparison app Jerry has created a guide including all you need to know about home insurance in Tennessee.
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What is flood insurance?
Flood insurance is like a blanket of extra insurance on top of your homeowners insurance that protects your home and its contents in the event of flooding or water damage caused by flooding.
Buying this extra policy is so important because your homeowners insurance will only cover water damage due to plumbing accidents and not water damage caused by actual flooding.
What does flood insurance cover?
There are two types of flood insurance coverage: building coverage, which covers the building itself or your home, and contents coverage, or your belongings and items inside the building. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers both types of coverage.
Building coverage and content coverage will allow insurance to replace items like appliances, clothing, furniture, jewelry, etc.
Flood insurance will not cover every object in your home—or every type of flooding. Sewer backups not directly caused by large-scale flooding are not covered. Money, personal property in basements, vehicles, and living expenses incurred as a result of flooding will not be covered either.
|Type of coverage||What it covers||What it doesn’t cover|
|Building||Electrical and plumbing systems Water heaters and furnaces Large appliances like dishwashers or refrigerators Permanently installed bookcases, cabinets, and paneling Permanently installed carpets Window blinds Foundational walls, staircases, and anchorages Detached garages Fuel tanks, solar panels, and well water tanks/pumps||Decks and patios Swimming pools Fences and landscaping|
|Contents||Clothing Furniture Electronic equipment Curtains Washing machine and dryer Portable air conditioners, including window units Carpets not included in building coverage Valuables such as artwork up to $2,500||Valuable papers Currency Anything stored in a basement|
Do you need flood insurance in Tennessee?
Most likely, yes.
There is no statewide requirement that Tennessee homeowners must purchase flood insurance. In most other states, federal law requires you to purchase a flood insurance policy covering the amount equal to the principal value on your mortgage.
However, your particular mortgage lender may require you to purchase flood insurance based on the location of your property.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) directs the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood insurance to homeowners based on their level of flood risk. The NFIP manages flood insurance, but the actual policy will come from a private company like Allstate or Farmers Insurance. The NFIP can also help you locate a provider in your community.
Anyone can buy flood insurance—in fact, it’s a good idea to do so considering that just one inch of water can cause up to $25,000 in damage! Keep in mind, over 40% of NFIP claims are filed by homeowners outside of FEMA’s designated high-risk flood zones. You don’t have to be a homeowner either—flood insurance is also available to renters.
To purchase an NFIP flood insurance policy, you must live in one of Tennessee’s participating communities. If your community doesn’t appear on that list, you can still buy flood insurance—you’ll just have to go through a private company.
What flood zones require flood insurance in Tennessee?
FEMA determines high-risk and low-risk areas in Tennessee by using flood maps. You can use their Flood Map Service Center to determine your home’s level of risk.
Key Takeaway Homeowners, renters, and business owners can all purchase flood insurance policies.
How much does flood insurance cost in Tennessee?
The national average cost of flood insurance is $739 per year. Tennessee’s average cost for coverage is $953 per year, which is a bit higher than the average national cost. Less than 2% of homeowners in Tennessee carry a flood insurance policy. Your insurance rate will depend on a few things like elevation, where you live, and the age of the building or home.
The maximum coverage limits for residential structures (from one to four units) is $250,000 in-building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage. For residential structures of five or more units, the maximum is $500,000 in-building coverage and $100,000 in contents coverage.
How to save money on flood and auto insurance in Tennessee
You can reduce the cost of flood insurance in Tennessee by:
- Following FEMA’s recommended flood risk mitigation practices
- Selecting a policy with a higher deductible
- Providing an elevation certificate to your insurance agent
- Choosing a contents-only coverage policy
Keep in mind that flood insurance doesn’t cover damage to cars. Ensure that your ride’s protected in the event of a flood, download the Jerry app.
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