Here in East Tennessee, there's no shortage of issues that can affect our homes and our lives.

In the past year alone, we've seen a fire that devastated much of Sevier County, an EF-2 tornado that destroyed homes and claimed lives further south and inches of rain in a day that prompted a landslide.

Knoxville resident Betsy McGill catches a photo of a jeep entirely covered by a fallen tree. 

Day or night – summer or winter -- way up in the mountains or down in the valley – it doesn't matter the conditions, when disaster strikes, we need to be ready.

That's why we're taking this week to focus in on the specific disasters most likely to affect our region, and discussing what you need to know to be prepared. It may sound bland, but the last thing you want to find in the moments after you lose everything is that you have no way to get it back.

One of the best things you can do is know your insurance policy inside and out, said Heather Kyle Harmon from UT Extension.

"The biggest recommendation that we have is to talk to your insurance agent, read your policy, but sometimes it's so complex, you don't even know what it's saying, so that's why our insurance agents are there - just have a conversation with them, say what is this saying?" Harmon said.

Your insurance agent can tell you exactly what is covered in your policy, and what's not.

"Homeowner's policies are sold in packages, so the common things that they all have in them are replacement, so replacement of your property; liability, which includes if someone gets hurt on your property, and this includes dog bites, but the disclaimer is there are some dog breeds are not included in that, so you need to look and see if your specific dog breed is covered in that; and then personal property from theft, and then living cost, if you are displaced from your home, it will pay for the living cost," Harmon said.

She said one common thing people don't realize is that pets are not covered under a homeowners' insurance policy.

"You can carry a separate policy, but they're not just generally covered on your homeowners," Harmon said.


One interesting fact to note: Harmon said the most common insurance claim in East Tennessee is for wind damage.

Throughout the week we'll continue to dive into the specific threats you may need a little extra coverage for.
Everything from floods to earthquakes, plus, what you need to know when the insurance companies won't do enough, and how you can seek help from TEMA and FEMA, and which is right for you.