Hurricanes and Insurance

The Atlantic hurricane season is upon us. Knowing your rights and liabilities now, before these sea monsters strike, can help lessen their financial effect.


Renters’ Insurance can reduce financial loss due to storms, as well as losses due to fire, theft, and other disasters. Carefully consider whether you need such coverage. Coverage amounts generally begin at about $20,000 and such policies are fairly inexpensive. Make sure to review coverage exclusions; water damage due to flood and losses resulting from electrical power outage may not be covered. If you already have such a policy and need to evacuate, you may want to bring it with you.


Family Housing Renter’s Insurance. Lincoln Military Housing provides a $10,000 renters’ insurance policy as a benefit to all its tenants. But, as with any insurance policy, you should review it carefully. It has a $250.00 deductible and may contain special limits concerning the type of property lost or the cause of the loss. Residents of Atlantic Marine Corps Communities (AMCC) housing no longer receive this benefit, which was discontinued January 1, 2015. Residents who began their tenancy prior to that date should still be covered by the policy.


Homeowner’s Insurance. Make sure that you are current in your payments and that you have a copy of the policy available, or at the very least, the policy number and telephone number of your agent. Check the coverage limits and update as needed. Many policies, especially in hurricane prone areas, do not cover damage by flood, a separate matter covered by a policy with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Make sure you have made the required payments for any FEMA flood policy you may have. After you have made the required payment, FEMA will send you a document proving that you are insured for the coverage period.


Vehicle Insurance. Liability coverage, required under state law, only insures against damage or injury to another caused by the insured. It does not cover damage to the insured’s own vehicle. Lenders will usually require comprehensive insurance as a condition of obtaining a loan, and failure to maintain such insurance constitutes default and justification for repossession. Motorists who can and do choose to purchase liability insurance only, either because comprehensive insurance is not required by their lender or because no balance is owed, will not be compensated by their insurer if the car is damaged or destroyed by a storm. In other words, if a tree falls on your car and you have liability only insurance, you’re not covered.


Evacuation Expenses and Insurance. Under certain circumstances, the installation commander, pursuant to chapter 6 of the Joint Travel Regulation (JTR) and volume 9, chapter 7 of the Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation (DODFMR) has the discretion to authorize the United States to pay per diem to service members and Department of Defense employees and their respective dependents who evacuate due to a hurricane. Such payments were authorized in September 2018 in response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Florence. As with any other potential claim, claimants should be prepared to provide receipts for travel related expenses, such as lodging. Receipt of such payments does not require the claimant to reduce his / her insurance claim expenses. A claimant may receive both the commander authorized per diem, and any authorized insurance compensation. Put another way, receipt of command authorized evacuation expense does not require a downward adjustment of an insurance claim.