Last Updated on June 7, 2022
Summer is just around the corner, and along with baseball, beaches, and barbeque, it’s the start of hurricane season.
In 2021, the Atlantic hurricane season was active, producing 21 named storms, including seven hurricanes of which four were major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or greater.) Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm with winds as high as 150 mph, swept the Gulf Coast in late August and caused flash flooding as far north as New York and New Jersey.
For 2022, we’re looking at more of the same, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The organization is predicting 21 named storms, of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes, with 3 to 6 as major hurricanes. That’s above-average activity for the seventh consecutive year.
“In the Carolinas, the possibility of a hurricane is very real. And as we’ve seen in the past, storms can elevate to hurricane strength very quickly,” said Robin Price, president of Allen Tate Insurance. “The minute a hurricane is on the radar, it’s too late to get insurance.”
Hurricane damage is caused by wind and water. A standard homeowners insurance policy covers damage from hurricane winds (subject to deductible) but does not include coverage for damage caused by flooding. For that, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy. Hurricane damage to personal vehicles usually falls under comprehensive (“Other than collision”) coverage.
But once a hurricane is sighted, insurance companies restrict binding any new coverage – even for inland properties not directly in the hurricane’s path.
“Most consumers understand that they can’t buy flood insurance or change their insurance coverage once a hurricane has been named,” Price said. “But what they don’t realize is that a named storm will keep them from obtaining insurance coverage needed to close on a home or purchase comprehensive and collision insurance for a vehicle.”
Price recommends that consumers obtain insurance for a home they are buying as early as possible, since insurance is required to close. Once a storm is named, insurance carriers are unable to bind coverage until the storm has passed.
What should you do if your home or vehicle is damaged by a storm? The first thing is to protect your property from any further damage, by covering it with a tarp or other materials to protect it from water. You should call your insurance carrier as soon as possible to report damage and be sure to document or keep damaged items.
The best offense is a good defense when it comes to hurricanes.
“The Carolinas are an amazing place to live. But unfortunately, this is a region that will continue to be impacted by storms, and it’s important to have proper coverages in place. The time to do that is now, before a storm is forecasted,” Price said.