After Hurricane Ian makes landfall in Georgetown, South Carolina, the Carolinas deal with heavy winds and rains, coastal flooding, and storm surge throughout the night. Now, the process of property assessments and guest notifications begins.
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In a perfect world, during a perfect vacation, every day would be sunny and warm! The reality of that, however, is that the North Carolina coastline experiences its fair share of inclement weather, specifically during hurricane season. Neither Margaret Rudd & Associates nor our property owners can be held responsible for inclement weather and its potential impacts on your Southport-Oak Island vacation.
Tropical Depressions, Tropical Storms & Hurricanes
The most common adverse weather events facing the southeastern North Carolina coast are tropical depressions, tropical storms and hurricanes. Hurricane season officially starts on June 1 and ends on November 30 each year. Per the National Weather Service, the number of tropical storms and hurricanes increases substantially in August, peaks in mid-September and decreases toward a minimum by early November.
In the event that a tropical system is headed our way prior to or during your Oak Island vacation with Margaret Rudd & Associates, we suggest that you remain "weather aware" by monitoring this page of our website, our Facebook page, the local government agency websites, local news stations and weather reports, and both the National Weather Service-Wilmington and the National Hurricane Center. Margaret Rudd & Associates does monitor the weather situation as it pertains to business operations and our guests, and will issue communications based upon any severe threat that could impact your stay with us. For links to the various weather-related news sources, please make sure to click the "Frequently Asked Questions" button at the bottom of this section.
Should a tropical depression, tropical storm, hurricane or any other potential disaster threaten the areas of Caswell Beach, Oak Island and/or Southport, local governing bodies could announce and order evacuation procedures according to the threat level. More specifically, the Town of Caswell Beach, the Town of Oak Island and the City of Southport could issue a voluntary or mandatory evacuation order in the safety interests of those municipalities and their residents and visitors. To learn more about the differences between the evacuation order types, please make sure to click the "Frequently Asked Questions" button at the bottom of this section.
Please note that in the event of a voluntary evacuation order, Margaret Rudd & Associates advises its guests to heed the warning and evacuate the area keeping their own safety in mind. No matter what, we ask you to use your best judgement in the interests of you and your family. In the event of a mandatory evacuation, you are required by law to evacuate the area. Not only is this mentioned in the Tenant Duties section of the Vacation Rental Agreement, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission touched on it in a statement from September 4, 2019.
(1) The first and most important thing to remember is that when state or local authorities order a mandatory evacuation of a coastal area, tenants occupying vacation rental properties must comoply with the order. Evacuations are ordered to protect human life and health and are not undertaken lightly. Brokers managing vacation rental properties should support state and local authorities by encouraging and facilitating tenant compliance with evacuation orders.
The most common concern and/or issue during weather unrest is the topic of refunds. Margaret Rudd & Associates follows the law and guidelines of the state of North Carolina and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. Simply put, Margaret Rudd & Associates does not issue refunds for risks or events covered by the optional travel insurance offered.
Per the Commission's statement from September 4, 2019:
(2) When a vacation tenant complies with an evacuation order, he or she is generally entitled to a refund of a share of the money he or she has paid for the rental (rent, security deposit, taxes, etc.) prorated for each night the evacuation order is in effect.
(3) There is an exception to this rule, however. If the tenant was offered travel insurance that covered the risk of mandatory evacuation, then the landlord has no obligation to refund the tenant's money. To trigger the exception, the cost of the insurance offered cannot exceed 8% of the cost of the vacation rental and the policy cannot exclude the particular storm. It is important to note that some vacation rental insurance companies exclude coverage for storms that have been named by the National Hurricane Center prior to date the insurance was purchased. If a storm is named prior to the purchase of travel insurance and, if the insurance will not cover the tenant for losses or damages resulting from a mandatory evacuation or from damages and losses cuased by the named storm, then the tenant is entitled to a refund from the landlord of all monies paid.
Sometimes, following a storm and after an evacuation order has been lifted, Margaret Rudd & Associates is unable to provide access to a property for other reasons not covered by the optional travel insurance. The house could have suffered significant damages, the road could have washed out, etc. The Commission further clarified the policy in these situations by saying,
(4) If, following a storm and after any mandatory evacuation has been lifted, the landord or his broker cannot provide a promised rental property to a vacation rental tenant - whether the reason is that the house was significantly damaged or that is it inaccessible due to damage to or closure of roads or ferries - the tenant is entitled to either a refund of his money or the substitution of a reasonably comparable property at the same cost. This refund may come in the form of a paid claim against travel insurance. Tenants and vacation rental managers are encouraged to read and understand the limits of the coverage being offered.
You may refer to either of the following documents for clarification on the refund policy per the state of North Carolina's Vacation Rental Act and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.
You may also refer to the information on the Attorney General's website at: Disasters and Your Vacation.
Protect Your Vacation Investment
Safeguard your trip and your peace of mind with an optional travel insurance plan through Generali. This optional travel insurance plan provides a wide array of coverages including, but not limited to, trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delay, emergency assistantce and transportation, etc. Travelers who purchase this plan also receive Teledoc membership for their trip. Additional benefits under the plan include concierge services, identity theft resolution, and roadside asistance. For a very small percentage of your total folio cost, Margaret Rudd & Associates highly suggests adding the optional plan to your reservation. It can be purchased at the time of booking or any time prior to making your final payment on the folio/reservation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about the adverse weather that affects our area, potential impacts, where to go for more up-to-date information, and the refund process in the Frequently Asked Questions for adverse weather and your vacation. There, you'll also be able to see a few examples of how storm evacuations have worked for our area.