Snowbirds: Prepare for Hurricane Isaac

If you are bound for Florida or the Gulf States this coming weekend (August 25 through 27), or if you’re a snowbird who has property in this area, you need to keep your attention focused on tropical storm/hurricane Isaac, now building steam in the Caribbean.

Though forecasting storms is a risky business, the most reliable computer models predict the storm will move through the Caribbean, possibly hitting Jamaica with hurricane force 1 or 2 category winds and then turn north directly over Miami or just to the west, into the Gulf.  In any case, it will cause damage far into Florida and beyond.

If you have property anywhere in Florida that is unattended, call a neighbour who lives there and ask them to check things out for you, batten down anything that may be subject to wind damage, and make sure you secure an open communication channel with them so you might check with them during and after the storm passes.

It is predicted to be a category 2 storm so that could bring winds in excess of 100 mph.

If you have plans to travel to Florida or the eastern shore of the Gulf coast, keep checking with the weather service and if you have trip cancellation insurance, read your policy carefully—particularly the section on exclusions and limitations, or check with your travel insurer.  You can’t just cancel outright if you only suspect a storm may hit your destination and expect to save your deposit or any other prepaid fees you have already put out. If you do cancel and the storm spares your destination, you will likely not get your money back.

Also, some insurers will only reimburse your losses if a significant portion of your vacation trip is lost, such as more than 30 percent.

Also, if the airlines feel it’s safe to keep flying into the area, your losses from cancellation may not be reimbursable.

Most important keep checking with your government travel service (DFAIT in Canada, the State Department in the U.S). You can find them by clicking Travel Links at the top of our home page. If they issue a warning not to travel into the area, you better not: you’re insurer won’t reimburse your losses if you do.

If you have any doubts, call your travel insurance company.

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