Make sure homeowners policy provides adequate coverage
NASHVILLE — As Tennesseans remember those affected by the tornadoes that touched down across Middle Tennessee one year ago this week (March 2-3, 2020), the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) urges Tennesseans to evaluate their preparedness for future natural disasters by reviewing their homeowner’s insurance coverage and preparing an emergency go-bag.
Last March’s deadly storms resulted in the deaths of 25 people and the destruction of homes, vehicles and buildings across Middle Tennessee. All told, 19,511 insurance claims were filed with insurance companies following the devastating storms and over $1.55 billion in losses or claims made. Additionally, consumers filed 41 complaints related to the March tornadoes that resulted in $123,216 being returned to consumers via TDCI’s mediation process.
“After the tragedy of last year’s tornadoes, we saw Tennesseans’ resilience as they immediately began working together to help their neighbors rebuild and recover amid staggering losses,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “I offer my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost loved ones during the storms and I commend the heroism of residents and first responders who provided aid to those in need after the storms.”
Volatile and potentially dangerous weather can occur anytime throughout the year in Tennessee. During Severe Weather Awareness Week (Feb. 28 – Mar. 6), 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 damaged 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 homeowners 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.