March 30, 2023


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Storm damage proves to be lesson in home insurance coverage for Anderson County couple

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Since the coronavirus pandemic began, everyone has faced different challenges, but imagine not being able to live in your home for the last six months after it was damaged.

That’s what it has been like for an Anderson County couple whose house was nearly destroyed in July. To make matters worse, they didn’t have enough homeowners insurance to cover all of their losses.

Debbie Dougherty invited WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare to her home recently to talk about the coverage she and her husband had.

Protecting your investment into a home with the right homeowners insurance coverage is important.

Especially since it could serve as your most valuable asset, and one you likely can’t afford to replace out of pocket if disaster hits.

From a distance Debbie Dougherty’s home looks OK, but Debbie and her husband have yet to move in where they’ve lived for 30 years.

Up close, damage from a sudden wind storm last July is still visible.

On July 21 three large trees landed on Debbie’s house as she was sitting in her kitchen.

“I turned around and I all at once I saw the big old tree limb coming through the kitchen and I said, ‘Oh, my God, we’re going to get hit.’ I hurried to move and here it came into our house. We had God watching over us that’s for sure.”

Debbie Doughtery

Inside her home today, it’s taken six months and thousands of dollars for contractors to make repairs.

She says she’s learned a lot about insurance policies the last six months.

The homeowner’s coverage she had left her in the red, with thousands coming out of her own pocket.

What she didn’t realize is that her homeowners insurance Actual Cash Value (ACV) was a policy that included depreciation. The other option for policy holders is the slightly more expensive Replacement Cost Value or RCV.

Kevin Shires is a vice-president at Tennessee Insurance Services, TIS. He does not know Debbie Dougherty, but is an expert on the differences in policies.

He says, ACV is replacement cost less depreciation. So, depreciation is taken out for the time that has elapsed.

Let’s say a roof, damaged by a storm, originally cost $12,000 18 years ago. If you had an actual cash value policy, the value of that depreciated roof is today a lot less than that.

“You just get what it is worth at the time of the loss. Rather than what it would cost to put a new roof on or rebuild a new home.”

Kevin Shires, TIS

On the other hand, the replacement cost value is the amount of money it would take to replace your damaged home with the exact home in today’s market.

“Pure replacement cost coverage which is what it would cost to rebuild your home with like, kind and quality of material at today’s cost for labor and material.”


In a few days, Debbie and her husband will be moving back into their home a lot wiser about home insurance coverage.

The Doughertys have upgraded their insurance since the storm. Homeowners insurance coverage is not required by law, but if you have a mortgage, your lender will likely require you to insure the home to protect its investment.

If you have a question about your homeowners insurance, call your agent.