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Auto Insurance for Natural Disasters in Tennessee

Here's what you need to know...
  • Tennessee has a history of earthquakes as well as tornadoes, flooding, and even snowstorms
  • Property damage to homes, yards, and cars is common with all types of natural disasters
  • You can protect your assets with the right car and home insurance

Tennessee may be largely immune from the mudslides of California and the tropical storms that can devastate coastal areas, but the state is no stranger to a range of other natural disasters.

In 1951, a three-day blizzard buried the state under a thick coating of ice and snow. Tornadoes are frequent, and they can cause millions of dollars in damage in a matter of minutes.

The state has also had earthquakes, with the most notable ones occurring from 1811 to 1812. One was measured at a 7.0 on the Richter scale, and it caused the Mississippi River to start flowing backward.

Most recently, the Gatlinburg Wildfire of December 2016 made national news as it burned for five days, killed 14 people, and destroyed 2,013 homes along with 53 commercial buildings. The wildfire caused more than $500 million in damage.

If you live in Tennessee and are in need of better protection for you and your car, start comparison shopping today for auto insurance rates! Enter your ZIP code above!

Natural Disasters in Tennessee

Over the course of its history, Tennessee has experienced earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, and wildfires. It has been caught in the path of hurricanes and dealt with high winds along with the occasional snowstorm.

Here’s what you can do to prepare for various events.

– Wildfire

It’s believed that the wildfires that hit Gatlinburg were caused by two teenagers playing with matches. However, the groundwork was laid by changes in land use such as urbanization, high winds, warm temperatures, and overly dry conditions.

You can personally prevent fires by teaching kids about fire safety and ensuring that your campfires are fully extinguished before leaving a site.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to keep fires from being started by others, and there’s always the risk that a lightning strike will start a fire.

The good news is you can take some steps to make your home a little safer from fires, including;

  • Cleaning up your property to minimize dry grass, trees, and brush within 100 feet of the dwelling
  • Keeping trees trimmed and free of dead branches
  • Storing firewood well away from the structure
  • Marking all water sources so the fire department can find them more quickly
  • Maintaining a good size, sturdy driveway that is accessible by firetrucks
  • Opting for more fire-resistant roofing, including metal options

– Tornadoes

While Tennessee is not part of the infamous tornado alley, it is part of Dixie Alley. This region does have a higher risk of tornadoes, and deaths are common due to the prevalence of mobile homes in the region.

Spring months and November are the most common time period for these natural disasters.

A tornado watch means that the weather conditions are right for tornadoes to develop, and a warning means that tornadoes have made contact with the ground or have been picked up on radar.

Signs of tornado activity include a dark or greenish sky, large clouds that are close to the ground, hail, and a loud roar that sounds like a freight train.

If you’re in an area with a tornado warning, then you’ll want to get to the lowest, most interior part of the building you’re in. The innermost part of a building can be a bathroom without any windows or even a hallway.

Stay away from windows and do not open them. If possible, try to cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. If you’re in a multi-level home, try to make sure that you’re not directly below very heavy furniture that’s situated on the floor above.

– Flooding

When the ground is saturated and sewers become overwhelmed, continued rainfall can lead to severe flooding. It’s a common occurrence with tropical storms and hurricanes, and spring thaws may bring rising water levels.

You can stay safe in a flood by following some simple tips. Avoid navigating through flood waters either on foot or by car, but if necessary, try moving to higher ground if the waters around you continue to rise.

Keep in mind though that just six inches of moving water can have the power to knock you off balance, and two feet can sweep a car away.

If you’re in a car and are trapped by rising waters, then you should get out of the car’s interior and escape to the roof. If there is exposed ground near the car, then you should move to higher ground on foot in case the car is swept away by the current.

One of the most dangerous times is actually after the rain has stopped and the waters are slowly receding. Flooded areas are still dangerous, yet people are on the move as they try to get home to check the damage.

Only return to your property after it’s been authorized by the police or other authorities. Avoid standing water as it can be electrically charged, and remember that flood waters are typically contaminated with all types of bacteria as well as hidden dangers like broken glass.

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– Straight-line Winds

These winds are common with thunderstorms. They’re extremely strong, but they lack any rotation. They’re commonly referred to as hurricanes of the prairie or thunder gusts.

Never underestimate the power of high winds. As with tornadoes, you should stay away from windows and try to move to an interior room or hallway.

– Earthquakes

The New Madrid fault line runs through the northwestern corner of Tennessee, and it has resulted in some noticeable earthquakes in the state.

While California may be known for massive quakes resulting in serious damage, the fact is that people in Tennessee are also familiar with these terrifying tremors.

Earthquakes don’t give any warning, so you won’t be able to get to an appropriate shelter. However, you can still do a few things to try and stay safe until the tremors pass:

  • Drop and crawl under a sturdy piece of furniture for protection from falling items
  • Stay close to the floor and hold furniture legs for balance
  • If you can’t get under any furniture, then head for a structurally sound interior wall away from windows and shelves
  • If you’re in the car, then stop on the side of the road, taking care to avoid bridges, power lines, and road signs

– Severe Snowstorms and Blizzards

A severe snowstorm will have a combination of accumulating snowfall and high winds reaching speeds more than 35 miles per hour. Low visibility will make travel difficult if not impossible, so people are typically urged to remain at home in severe storms.

You can prepare for a winter storm ahead of time because you’ll typically have several days notice that it’s coming. Pick up food, make sure your car is winterized, and fill the fuel tank to prevent fuel lines from freezing.

You’ll always want a flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, and a first-aid kit on hand. Be sure that you have at least a three-day supply of food, water, medications, and pet supplies.

Rock or salt are ideal for keeping your walkways free of ice, and you’ll want to stock up on your cold weather gear like mittens and hats.

Tips for General Natural Disaster Safety

Preparing for any disaster starts well ahead of time.

Depending on the area you live in and what types of disasters you’re likely to face, you’ll want to research and develop a plan. It may involve having wood on hand to board up windows or being able to quickly get your important family papers and pictures to higher ground.

Put the plan in place ahead of time so that you’ll know what to do when the emergency strikes.

Listen to your state’s emergency services so that you’ll know what to expect.

Your state’s emergency service will help you determine if you should stay put or try to evacuate. You can use the information to decide if things are winding down or if you should prepare for another few days of isolation.

Worst-case scenarios include being separated from your family or having to evacuate your home at the last minute. Make plans ahead of time with family members in other areas so that you’ll know where to go if this happens.

You should also discuss meeting places with your family so that you’ll know where to meet up if something happens while you’re all away from the home and you’re unable to get back to the area.

What type of auto insurance will protect you?

Comprehensive coverage is designed to cover damages to your car caused by anything other than an accident. All kinds of damage from natural disasters will fall under this type of coverage.

Your car will be covered if you were driving and storm waters swept the car off the road, and it will also be covered if a branch falls on your parked car in the driveway.

However, there are other considerations when it comes to your vehicle insurance. In order to truly prepare for an emergency, you may want to invest in:

  • GAP Insurance
  • Umbrella Policy
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance

Shopping for an Auto Insurance Provider in Tennessee


When looking at different insurance providers, be sure to check their overall consumer ratings. The company should be financially sound and have a solid rating with a company like A.M. Best.

You can check your options by shopping around to see who has the best rates and plans. Finally, be sure to ask about discounts so that you can enjoy lower premiums now and in the coming years.

Looking for better auto insurance coverage in Tennessee? Start comparison shopping today by entering your ZIP code below!

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