• White & Stradley devote a significant portion of their practice to protecting clients wronged by insurance companies.

The Hatteras / Ocracoke Evacuation: Will I get my money back?

-by North Carolina Attorney, David Stradley (919-844-0400; OBXclaims@whiteandstradley.com)
The electrical power outage and mandatory evacuation of Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands in July and August of 2017 ruined many vacations. Renters want to know if they’ll get their deposit and pre-paid rent money back. The answer depends on which of three categories apply to you:
      • Trip Insurance Purchased
      • Trip Insurance Offered but Not Purchased
      • Trip Insurance Never Offered
Trip Insurance Purchased
If you purchased trip insurance, you should locate the policy document and read the policy terms. You should be able to find the policy on the website of the realty company with which you did business. If your policy provides benefits only where the evacuation is caused by a named hurricane, then there is likely no insurance coverage and you will have to seek reimbursement from the landlord or rental company. You should consult an attorney in that situation.
However, if your policy provides benefits for evacuations caused by a road closure or by a man-made disaster, then you should receive insurance benefits. To obtain benefits, you should promptly contact the insurance company and follow the proper procedures for making an insurance claim.
Trip Insurance Offered but Not Purchased
If you were offered, but declined to purchase, trip insurance that would have provided benefits for an evacuation caused by a man-made disaster, then it is unlikely that you are entitled to recover your deposit or rent from the landlord.
However, (and this is a bit of a brain-teaser) if you were only offered a trip insurance policy that would not have provided benefits for this evacuation, then you may have grounds to recover your money from the landlord or rental company. This is another situation where you should consult an attorney.
Trip Insurance Never Offered
If a renter was not offered trip insurance, then the prepaid rent must be returned. You should promptly contact the rental company or landlord in writing and request prompt reimbursement.
If you have questions, please call White & Stradley, PLLC, at (919) 844-0400 or email us at OBXclaims@whiteandstradley.com.