Insurance questions answered amid deadly flooding

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As recovery from the tragic and unprecedented flooding in Middle Tennessee continues, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance is sharing important consumer information about filing insurance claims.

“After seeing the tragedy the unfolded last week, a flood insurance policy would not stop that flooding, but it can make being resilient and going forward easier,” said Kevin Walters, the Director of Communications at the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI.) “Flash flooding like what we saw this last weekend is number one cause of flooding and flooding, itself is number one natural disaster homeowners face.”

Walters says for everyone inch of water in a home its estimated to be about $25,000 dollars in damages.

Walters says when it comes to filing with your insurance company, be sure to file the claim as soon as possible and have your policy number ready. If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, be sure to ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses.

Document the damages by taking photographs or video, the temporary repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls) but avoid
permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property.

Never sign over your insurance check for rebuilding, do not pay with cash or pay the total charges before the work is complete.

Only conduct business with licensed insurance agents and building contractors. To verify an insurance license, visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners searchable database.

In 2019 nationally, the average flood insurance claim payment was $53,301, according to TDCI.

“Unfortunately, in Tennessee, most Tennesseans don’t have flood insurance, said Walters. “There are only about 27,000 flood insurance policies in all of Tennessee which means that without flood insurance coverage that leaves homeowners to pay for repairs and rely on federal assistance in an event of a flood.”

PHOTOS: Historic rainfall leads to catastrophic flooding in Humphreys County, TN

Thankfully, the president declared a Major Disaster for the state of Tennessee as a result of severe storms and flooding, meaning federal funding is available for impacted individuals in Humphreys County.

Tennessee consumers who have questions about filing a claim or about their insurance policy can contact TDCI’s team at (615) 741-2218 or 1 (800) 342-4029.

There are a few areas in Tennessee that do not participate in the National Flood Insurance Plan (NFIP). 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. To learn more, click here.

If you feel that you are unfairly denied a claim by your insurance company, consumers should file a complaint with TDCI.

Humphreys County residents can register for FEMA assistance, online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov and by calling 1-800-621-3362.

A Middle Tennessee Flood Recovery resource page is online here.

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