As Tennesseans remember those affected by the Easter tornadoes that touched down across eight Southeast Tennessee counties one year ago this week (April 12-13, 2020), the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance urges Tennesseans to evaluate their preparedness for future natural disasters by reviewing their homeowners insurance coverage and preparing an emergency go-bag.
Last April’s deadly storms resulted in the eight total deaths across 10 states and the destruction of homes, vehicles and buildings. Tennesseans in eight affected counties (Bradley, Campbell, Hamilton, Marion, Monroe, Polk, Scott and Washington) filed 15,223 insurance claims with insurance companies and over $444 million in losses or claims made. Additionally, consumers filed 37 complaints related to the Easter tornadoes that resulted in over $4.5 million being returned to consumers via TDCI’s mediation process.
“In the wake of last Easter’s tornadoes, Tennesseans began working together to help their neighbors rebuild and recover,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “On this somber anniversary, I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost loved ones during the storms. I commend the heroism of residents and first responders who provided aid to those in need.”
Volatile and potentially dangerous weather can occur any time throughout the year in Tennessee. Consumers are urged to evaluate their insurance policies today to ensure they have the adequate coverage necessary to rebuild in case of a devastating storm. Consumers should remember:
- Homeowners insurance financially protects consumers from disastrous events such as a fire, tornado, high winds, burst pipes, burglary and more. To help raise awareness of the importance of homeowners insurance, TDCI has created a new video.
- Review your policy annually with your licensed Tennessee insurance agent to ensure your coverage adequately meets your needs. Your coverage should equal the full replacement cost of your home.
- Don’t just look at the premium price. Make sure the deductible is attainable in case you need to file a claim.
- Remember that replacement cost and market value are not the same. The market value, which includes the price of your land, depends on the real estate market.
- Replacement cost policies will pay consumers the full cost for what was dam-aged or destroyed. Your policy should cover everything you want covered. If it covers extraneous things you won’t need, you can adjust that, too.
- Make an inventory of items in your home in case you ever need to make an insurance claim following a disaster. Take photos or video of your belongings and keep it in a safe place such as online to provide to a claims adjuster in the event of a disaster.
- Aside from homeowners insurance, TDCI reminds consumers of the importance of flood insurance. While flood insurance cannot stop a flood, it can save home-owners from a financial catastrophe. Just one inch of water in a home can cause upwards of $25,000 in damages. For more information about flood insurance, visit floodsmart.gov. To contact the National Flood Insurance Program, call 800-427-4661.
- Keeping an emergency go-bag packed with crucial supplies such as bottled water, a flashlight, medicine, cash, copies of important papers, clothing and other items can make the difference after a disaster strikes.
Questions about your insurance policy or need to file a complaint? Contact the TDCI team at 1-800-342-4029 or (615) 741-2218.