People throughout the Southeast are struggling to put their lives back together after the damage caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the last few weeks. More trouble, however, is on the way. Most immediately this takes the form of Hurricane Maria. This latest storm is already hitting a number of Caribbean islands hard (some of which were also hit by the earlier storms) and may also strike the US mainland in the coming days.
Some of the trouble, however, will be completely man-made. Over the coming weeks and months many homeowners struggling to rebuild are likely to discover that the policies they counted on are written more with a mind to protecting insurers than helping the insured.
Most media attention concerning hurricanes and insurance focuses on flood insurance. Few private companies are willing to underwrite flood insurance for anyone living in a flood-prone area so it is offered by the federal government instead. At times like these we see many newspaper and television stories about people who should have bought flood insurance but didn’t or, in the wake of massive storms like Harvey and Irma, people who didn’t think they needed flood insurance in the first place and are now discovering that their policies do not cover the damage to their property.