Spring into a safer home with these simple steps

Use Spring as the perfect opportunity to review your insurance policies

NASHVILLE – With spring now in full force, many Tennesseans across the Volunteer State will undertake traditional spring cleaning and yard work around their homes. The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance(“TDCI”) reminds residents to take some simple, preventative steps to create a safer home today. Additionally, homeowners should use the season as a chance to review and update their insurance policies in the event of severe spring weather.

“I encourage all Tennesseans to help make our homes and neighborhoods safer by taking some easy steps this spring that might prevent an insurance claim later,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “Spring is also the perfect time to review your family’s insurance policies to make sure you have the proper coverage to help you recover in the event of an emergency or if severe weather strikes.”

Consumers who have questions about their insurance policies should contact TDCI’s Consumer Insurance Services team at 1-800-342-4029with their questions.

This spring, TDCI encourages Tennesseans to take these measures to help prevent damage inside and outside their homes and avoid potential injuries.

Spring Cleaning Tips

  • Get rid of clutter. Do not keep or collect large amounts of items that might block exits or hinder a person from escaping a home in the event of an emergency.
  • Trim tree branches. Cut tree branches to prevent potential roof damage from wind and other stormy weather.
  • Maintain landscaping. Keep lawns mowed and watered. Dry grass and shrubs are easily ignited by fires.
  • Clean the gutters. Leaves and other debris can land in the gutters during the winter, which may cause clogging. Clogged downspouts prevent rain from flowing, which could cause damage to the interior of your home.
  • Change smoke alarm batteries. Check and change the batteries in your home’s smoke alarms to make sure they are working properly. Need working smoke alarms? Contact your local fire department and ask if they participate in the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” smoke alarm program.
  • Clean the dryer vent hose. To help prevent fires caused by a dryer, make sure the exhaust hose on your dryer leading to the outside is clear. Be sure to remove lint from dryer filters after each use in order to prevent fires.
  • Stabilize outdoor stair railings. If you have outdoor stairs leading to your home, make sure the railings are secure and safe to use.

Severe Weather Preparedness

Spring can frequently bring high winds, heavy rains, and tornadoes. TDCI reminds consumers to be prepared before an emergency occurs.

  • Create a home inventory of your belongings in the event an emergency strikes. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has a free app available at the App Store and Google Play that allows consumers to make a safe, secure record of their home’s contents in the event they ever need to file an insurance claim after an emergency.
  • Review insurance policies. Whether you have a homeowners, renters, flood, or health policy—make sure that adequate coverage is in place should a disaster strike. It is important to note that traditional homeowners policies do not cover floods. The majority of Tennessee homeowners have not purchased flood insurance and are therefore not covered in the event of a flood. Flood insurance can only be purchased through an insurance agent or an insurer participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”). To learn more about flood insurance or locate a provider, contact the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661.
  • Be prepared by creating an emergency kit. Make sure your kit includes bottled water, a first-aid kit, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, non-perishable food items, blankets, clothing, prescription medications, eyeglasses, personal hygiene supplies, and a small amount of cash.
  • Prepare an evacuation plan. When creating a plan, choose two meeting places: one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency (like a fire) and one outside your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home.

If you have any questions about insurance or your policy, call TDCI’s Consumer Insurance Services at 1-800-342-4029.

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