We’ve discussed the catastrophic effects and devastation of hurricanes before, but what we haven’t looked at is the alternatives to make the problem go away altogether.
2017 was an exceptionally bad year for the Caribbean Islands when Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate came barreling through. All these hurricanes started their life on the other side of the Atlantic and many meteorologists even claim that hurricanes are bred in the foothills of Ethiopian mountains. Gaining in energy over the Saharan desert, they are nothing more than storms, however as soon as they power through the hurricane alley that is between West Africa and the Caribbean, they pick up enough moisture to make them the monsters that we know as Hurricanes.
This phenomenon happens in the months of August – November, which is the latter part of the sailing season in the Caribbean, and bodes the question of why anyone would need their yacht to be in the Caribbean at this time of year. After all the considerations of storing yachts in the safest way during a hurricane, the only solution to not being hit by a hurricane is surely not to be in it’s path.
Without being too cynical, we know too right that there are many factors to consider when moving your yacht. The first being the price. It can be expensive to hire a professional skipper to move a yacht outside of the hurricane box. Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, and the North Eastern states of the USA are far afield, so the bill can quickly rack up to a couple of thousand pounds or dollars to have a yacht moved. When looking at the cost, the most important thing to consider is mitigation. Some insurers will re-imburse you for these costs as you’ve saved them potentially thousands of pounds or dollars worth of damage from the hurricane that they have to foot the bill for, and even if they don’t you’ve spent a little more money to make sure you have piece of mind and don’t have to pick up the pieces with the repairs after the hurricanes passed through.
So what can you do when you see that Hurricane Florence may turn south and rumble towards the Bahamas or Florida, with two further guaranteed Hurricanes bringing up the rear? You can get on the phone to your insurers to see if they have any allowance for reimbursing you for moving your yacht, get hold of a professional skipper who’s able to move your yacht, and make the decision of how much peace of mind is worth.
This is also a good time to revisit what each individual insurance policy may or may not cover as a result of hurricane damage. Some policies excluded hurricanes altogether, so it’s worth checking and making sure that you don’t have any Named Tropical Storm exclusions in your Policy Wording. Most insurers that do cover hurricane damage request that Hurricane Preparation Plans are submitted to and approved by them prior to a hurricane going through. These plans lay out exactly what you are going to do prior to a hurricane, and it’s important to adhere to these once they are agreed.
One big clause that some insurers have written into their policies is a New for Old / Betterment deduction. If a claim arises and damage is caused to your vessel, then they may be entitled to deduct a certain percentage off your claim costs because of the fact that you have now replaced old damaged gear, with brand new parts. This is always worth checking, and sometimes you may be able to pay a small additional premium to have this clause removed from your policy.
We’ve now seen the pros and cons of getting out of the way of a hurricane, and the question rests with you. What will you do?