Press Release

TDCI, TEMA Remind Tennesseans that Flood Insurance Can Help Prevent a Financial Catastrophe

NASHVILLE – As Tennesseans continue to show their resilience and resolve as they rebuild after the tornadoes of May 8, 2024, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) remind consumers to learn more about flood insurance as part of their emergency preparedness plans.

The latest disaster to impact Tennessee is a reminder that our state is no stranger to flooding. This month also marks the fourteenth anniversary of the historic floods that struck Tennessee, causing more than $2 billion in damages and claiming over 20 lives.

“We commemorate the lives that have been lost to severe weather and continue to dedicate ourselves to making strides toward greater preparedness when it comes to flooding,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “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.”

“After the devastation of a flood, flood insurance isn’t just a financial safeguard, but a vital lifeline that helps rebuild lives, homes, and communities,” said TEMA Director Patrick C. Sheehan. “Knowing your flood risk and understanding your vulnerability is the first step toward protection and peace of mind.”

It’s important to be familiar with your risk of floods and flood-related hazards before they occur. For more information about floods and to learn more about your risk, visit the FEMA website.

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:

Before You Buy Flood Insurance

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.

Know The Flood Insurance Facts

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.

MYTH: “I can wait and get flood insurance immediately before a storm and still be covered.”

FACT: While you can purchase flood insurance at any time, NFIP policies usually have a 30-day waiting period before the policy takes effect. If you purchase a private flood policy, be sure to ask about the waiting period.

For more information about flood insurance, visit or To contact the NFIP, call 800-427-4661.