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TEMA, TDCI reminding Tennessee residents of flood insurance importance following severe weather | Local News

The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) are reminding people to learn more about flood insurance as part of their emergency preparedness plans.

TDCI officials say the tornado outbreak in Tennessee on May 8, serves as a reminder that the state is no stranger to severe weather, including flooding. The month of May also marks the 14th anniversary of the historic floods that struck Tennessee, causing more than $2 billion in damages and claiming over 20 lives.

“Unfortunately, misconceptions persist about flood insurance, and many Tennesseans choose to forgo purchasing a flood insurance policy, mistakenly thinking that traditional homeowners’ policies will cover flood damages. A traditional homeowners policy will not cover the costs of making repairs to a home caused by flooding. While flood insurance cannot stop flooding, a flood insurance policy could prevent a financial catastrophe,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence.

TDCI officials say it’s important to be familiar with your risk of floods and flood-related hazards before they occur, which you can do by visiting FEMA online.

To help consumers make educated decisions about flood insurance and differentiate between the myths and facts about flood insurance, TDCI urges consumers to remember the following:


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates that consumers who live in an area with low or moderate flood risk are 5 times more likely to experience a flood than a fire in their homes over the next 30 years. Moreover, more than 40 percent of National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims come from outside high-risk areas. Before deciding on what type of coverage to buy, it’s important to know your risk. The FEMA flood map service allows consumers to determine your home’s flood risk.

Risk levels are divided into three categories:

  • High-risk areas have at least a one percent chance of flooding each year. Homeowners in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance.
  • Moderate- to low-risk areas have less than a one percent chance of flooding each year, but there is still a possibility the area could flood. Flood coverage isn’t required in these areas, but it is recommended. Some mortgage lenders still require you to have flood insurance in moderate to low-risk areas.
  • Undetermined risk areas are areas where flood-hazard analysis has yet to be conducted, but risk still exists.


MYTH: “Homeowners or renters insurance will cover my home and belongings if they are damaged by flood waters.”

FACT: Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover damages to a structure or contents in the event of a flood. Only a flood insurance policy will cover flood damage.

MYTH: “I don’t need flood insurance because FEMA assistance will cover my damages.”

FACT: Not everyone will qualify for FEMA assistance after a disaster. Even if a federal Disaster Declaration is made, post-disaster FEMA grants average less than $8,000. Remember: Just one inch of water in a home can cause $25,000 of damage.

MYTH: “I can’t buy flood insurance because my property flooded before.”

FACT: If your community participates in the NFIP, you are eligible to buy flood insurance, regardless of flood history. There are a few areas in Tennessee that do not participate in the NFIP. If your community does not participate, FEMA assistance is not available. If flood insurance through the NFIP is not available in your area, contact your licensed insurance agent to ask about private flood insurance. If you choose a private flood insurance policy, be sure to shop around to compare premiums and coverage.

MYTH: “I rent my home. Only homeowners can purchase flood insurance.”

FACT: Most homeowners, renters, and businesses in NFIP participating communities can purchase flood insurance. Renters can purchase a flood insurance policy specifically to cover their belongings in the event of a flood. For a list of participating communities in Tennessee, visit FEMA’s website.

You can learn more information about flood insurance through the TDCI online or calling FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program at 800-427-4661.

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