More rain expected for East TN; insurance agents share options for homeowners

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – For days we’ve been dealing with more and more rain, showing you the damage it’s leaving behind.

Weather AWARE: Rain, some random thunder and isolated strong winds expected tonight into early Thursday morning.

Communities dealing with flooded roads, cars, homes, properties and even churches. That got us thinking, are you protected for whatever severe weather may threaten your home?

Insurance agents say now is the perfect time to start thinking about being prepared. It means doing some homework and having conversations with your insurance company to see what’s right for your family.

Moving back and unpacking is overwhelming.

“It feels good to be at our house but it feels like we’re in a different home,” said Cyndie Young.

Last February, Young and her husband lost everything because their home was destroyed by flooding.

“When I stepped out of my bed that morning I was in way over my ankle in water,” said Young.

More: West Knoxville homeowners still dealing with flooding aftermath

The bigger problem with the water, the Youngs didn’t have flood insurance, “We did not know to take out flood insurance because this is not a flood zone and there’s no water around. Where could we possibly have a flood come in from?”

The family has had to pay out of pocket for every repair and every new appliance.

“That was our life-savings that we had prepared for our old age,” said Young.

At Bryan Insurance Group in West Knoxville, Matthew Bryan says flood insurance is something that has to be purchased outside of a homeowner’s policy.

Bryan says homeowners should consider it if they live in a flood zone. If you live in a low-risk area, premiums can be low but if you live in a high-risk area, it can be thousands of dollars a year.

“It’s just something to consider. Everybody’s different and you need to do what’s right for you,” said Bryan.

With flood insurance, there may be a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect.

Earthquake insurance can also be purchased outside of a homeowner’s policy.

“So, it can be added at a really really affordable rate. It could be $80 for the year, it could be a couple hundred dollars depending on the size of the home,” added Bryan.

He says tornadoes, wind and hail are all covered in traditional policies. If you experience major damage, Bryan says that’s when you file a claim, “What you don’t want to do is nickel and dime the insurance company. The small claims, you really want to cover those yourself if possible and the way to do that is to get estimates.”

Ultimately, he says it’s about having a conversation with your insurance agent, “You may or may not file a claim but I’d rather have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.”

For the Youngs, one of the first things they’ve done since moving back is getting flood insurance.

“We’re prepared if something should happen. Doesn’t look like it right now but we don’t know what the future will hold,” said Young.

It’s a good idea to take an inventory of all your belongings and valuables in every room. Insurance agents say you should write down the make, model, serial number, purchase price and date, and keep copies of receipts for expensive items. It’s important to also take pictures of those items for that list to share with your insurance company.

If you don’t have time to log every item, insurance agents suggest videotaping your belongings and not forget to take inventory inside your garage and basement.

Click here for an inventory checklist from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

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