National Flood Insurance Program
The City of Cookeville is an active participant in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), therefore anyone can purchase a separate flood insurance policy for any property located within the municipality. Flood insurance is backed by the Federal government and is available to everyone, even for properties that have flooded in the past. To qualify for this coverage you do not have to be located in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) as Zone A. Policy premiums are based on the location of the property in relationship to the SFHA as shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Properties outside of a Zone A are shown on the map as Zone X and are considered to be a low to moderate risk. Properties in this zone may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy which provides inexpensive flood insurance protection. Please note that home owners insurance typically does not cover damage from floods. The current Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for the City of Cookeville became effective as of May 16, 2007. In conjuction with the map updates, FEMA also prepared a Flood Insurance Study (FIS) for all of Putnam County, including the City of Cookeville. Although this is not a detailed study, it is the first FIS ever produced for this area. FEMA Flood Insurance Study.
As of May 31, 2016, the NFIP Community Information System reports that 55 Flood Insurance Policies are in effect for properties located within the City of Cookeville with Flood Insurance Coverage totaling $11,045,200.00 for building coverage and an additional $3,872,000.00 for contents coverage. Cookeville has participated in the regular phase of the NFIP since August 19, 1986. (There have been 13 claims filed since 1989 and paid losses during that period total $326,698.00). People often purchase flood insurance because it is required by their lender when they get a mortgage or home equity loan. The Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 requires federally regulated lending institutions to make sure that mortgage loans secured by buildings located in high risk areas are protected by flood insurance. This type of flood insurance only covers the building’s structure and not the contents. During the kind of flooding that typically occurs in Cookeville, there is often more damage to the furniture and contents than there is to the structure. Anyone can purchase separate coverage for contents through the NFIP program, even renters. If you currently have flood insurance, review your policy to see if you also have coverage of contents. Before most forms of Federal Disaster Assistance can be offered, the President must declare a major disaster. Federal disaster declarations are issued in less than half of flooding events. The most common form of Federal Disaster Assistance is a loan that must be paid back with interest. For example, the monthly payment on a $50,000 disaster home loan at 4% interest is $303 per month for 20 years. The annual payment on this loan is $3636 per year and the total of the 240 payments would be over $72,000. The average premium for federally backed flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program is $550 annually. The cost of a Preferred Risk Policy starts as low as $119 per year. Flood insurance claims are paid even if a disaster is not declared by the President. Claims are paid promptly to facilitate faster recovery and policy holders may request advance partial payments for immediate needs. Flooding does occur outside Special Flood Hazard Areas. A number of properties in Cookeville located outside the FEMA identified SFHA’s were inundated in the September 2009 and August 2010 flooding events. Flood insurance covers all surface floods. It is important to know that you should not wait until the next flood to buy insurance. There is a 30 day waiting period before National Flood Insurance coverage takes effect.
Community Rating System
In May of 2014 the NFIP sent notification that the City of Cookeville had been accepted into the Community Rating System (CRS). The CRS designation establishes that the voluntary floodplain management actions undertaken by the community exceed the minimum standards of the NFIP and meet the criteria for a CRS Class 9 rating. The floodplain management activities implemented by the City of Cookeville qualify it for a 5 percent discount in the premium cost of flood insurance for NFIP policies issued or renewed in Special Flood Hazard Areas on or after May 1, 2014. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage or contact the Planning Department for additional assistance.
City Flood Services
Under the provisions of the City of Cookeville Floodplain Regulations, the Planning Director and Building Official serve as the administrators of the regulations (Section 230.8A of the Cookeville Zoning Code). The duties and responsibilities of the administrators, as specified by the Floodplain Regulations, include obtaining base flood elevation data from other sources when such data have not been provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Upon request, the Planning Department of the City of Cookeville can help you to evaluate if you are in a mapped floodplain. The Department can also assist in estimating the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for any property located in the City. This elevation is derived by overlaying the FEMA provided digitized locations of special flood hazard areas with the City of Cookeville’s digitized topographic data. The topographic data in the Cookeville Geographic Information System is based on two (2) foot contours and this topographic data was utilized in the development of the current Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Cookeville/Putnam County, Tennessee (effective date May 16, 2007). There is no charge for this service and it is available by contacting the Planning Department in person, by phone, by fax or by email. Request for Flood Hazard Area Review. Upon request, the Public Works Department will visit a property to review drainage and or flood problems. To report problems of flooding or maintenance of storm water management systems on public and private property, call Public Works at (931) 520-5249.
Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive and a mere six inches of water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to make sure the surface is still there. Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers. These are commonly erected because roads or bridges are washed out. Stay away from power lines and electrical wiring. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution since electrical current can travel through water. Immediately report downed power lines to your electrical power provider or public safety agencies. Have your electricity turned off by the provider. Some appliances, such as television sets, retain electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Never use appliances that have gotten wet unless they have been serviced by a qualified technician. Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their habitat may seek shelter in yours. Use a prod such as a pole or stick to turn things over and scare away small animals. Look for hazards before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris which may include broken glass and nails. Floors and steps that have been covered with mud are very slippery. Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not smoke, use a lighter, candle, lanterns or any other open flames unless you know that gas has been turned off correctly and the area has been properly ventilated.
The following link is directly to the FEMA NFIP publication site. A wealth of information is provided which can be downloaded from the site or ordered directly from FEMA at no charge (FEMA NFIP). Special Flood Hazard Area Property Interpretation is available from the staff of the Planning Department. Request for Property Special Flood Hazard Interpretation (PDF)