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Should People Be Reimbursed for the Cost of Evacuating?

By JLP | September 24, 2008

I was watching the news after the evacuation for Gustav. They did a story on the evacuation and how hard it was on people. They took a news crew out to interview various people and they asked them if they thought the government should reimburse people for the cost of evacuating. Astoundingly, most people said yes!

Do people realize that when we talk about the government, we are really talking about our fellow taxpayers? Is it really fair for us to ask our fellow taxpayers to pay for the cost of our evacuation?

We already have a system in place to help those who can’t afford to evacuate so I hardly see the need to reimburse everyone else. If you don’t like evacuating, then I’d suggest moving away from the coast.

I fear for the future of this country as it seems we are just becoming a nation of beggers (individuals and corporations). It’s really getting embarrassing.

So, what are your thoughts? Should we reimburse people for the cost of evacuating?

Topics: Hurricanes, Question of the Day | 30 Comments »


30 Responses to “Should People Be Reimbursed for the Cost of Evacuating?”

  1. Steve Heath Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I agree with you that those not in need should not be reimbursed, unless they bought “evacuation insurance” from a private company… but on the other hand, with the US government bailing out almost everyone and everything, and giving away money left right and center, why shouldn’t these people, who are now on the hook for their share of the financial bailout, feel that they deserve a bailout for their problem too?

    Of course, while that has it’s own form of logic, ultimately that path really, totally, screws the people who did the right thing all along.

  2. JLP Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 8:35 am

    Steve wrote:

    “with the US government bailing out almost everyone and everything, and giving away money left right and center, why shouldn’t these people, who are now on the hook for their share of the financial bailout, feel that they deserve a bailout for their problem too?”

    Unfortunately, that’s the precedent our government seems to be setting.

  3. Traciatim Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    This is a big resounding NO. Out of the 24,709,000 square kilometers they could have chosen in North America to live, they choose live in a disaster prone area.

    Why doesn’t someone start an evacuation insurance company?

  4. tom Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Tom’s Evacuation Insurance Company – Patent Pending.

    That’s actually a really good idea. How often do they issue manditory evacuations (post Katrina it’s been more often) and do private companies offer that type of insurance already?

    JLP, you mention they have evacuation systems in place, I hadn’t heard of them until now…

  5. Peggy Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    What Traciatim said about choices. If you don’t want the struggle and hassle and expense of evacuating several times a year, move somewhere else.

    The follow-up to that, of course, is, “If the only people who will insure your property are the federal government and/or federal agencies, you might want to live elsewhere.”

  6. philip Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 9:52 am

    @Tom, the evacuations systems that are in place are busses that will then take you to a shelter in a safe area. Therefore free transportation and free shelter. If you can not afford to drive and stay at a hotel or with someone you know then you should accept what is given.

    As far as telling people to live somewhere else some of it has to do with the huge job market in the Houston area. Also lots of these people likely work at the refineries, do you really want everyone to stop working at those and have more dependence on foreign markets for gasoline?

    All that said however, I still feel that the government is paying out for lots of things that either insurance or homeowners should be taking as a risk. I know it is horrible to lose a home but that is why you have insurance.

    Does anyone know what kind of support was given to people after the 1900 hurricane wiped out galveston? I think the people then were on their own to rebuild, and likely insurance market did not exist either. I know that they did not have air conditioning then either and I feel sorry for them about that :)

  7. Steve Braun Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Evacuation costs should not be reimbursed.

    But if the government does…

    Then they should also reimburse me for the cost of having my sidewalks and driveway cleared of snow and ice all winter long.

    Afterall, snow IS a natural disaster.

    Since snow comes with the cold they should also throw in some additional subsidies to mitigate the higher cost of heating my home.

    Afterall, cold weather IS a natural disaster.

    And by that logic…

    Shouldn’t the federal government send the State of Michigan billions and billions of dollars MORE in “emergency disaster relief” to completely restore our roads to pristine condition after each winter season? It is a well-known fact that northern states have terrible roads due to repeated freeze-thaw cycles during winter.

    Only seems fair to me given how much the feds spend each year to rebuild infrastructure in the gulf states from hurricanes.

    Afterall, weather IS a natural disaster!!!

    We have weather up here too so why can’t we get our share of the money?

  8. FMF Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I’m with you. No way.

  9. Lindsay Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 10:21 am

    “We have weather up here too so why can’t we get our share of the money?” That’s hilarious!!!

    My answer: no, no, and NO! I don’t know when our mindset changed to become one that thinks natural disasters can happen without anyone actually suffering from them. That sounds harsh, I know. But it’s spoken as one who has been through two of them (so far). To expect to come out of these situations with NOTHING different than you went in is just unrealistic – a childlike mentality.

    My kids were surprised when we came home from evacuation and everything looked different. In their minds, even though there had been a storm, they still expected everything to be like it was before Ike. Unfortunately, I think a lot of adults come home with the same mentality. They should have electricity. Ice. Internet. Cable. (You know, the necessities.) And, of course, their budget shouldn’t suffer just because there was a hurricane.

    After all that, though, I have a question, too. Given the fact that the government should NOT pay people for evacuating…if they set up a program to offer “assistance”, and you qualify, should you take the money?

  10. My Dollar Plan Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Part of choosing a place to live is evaluating the risks and rewards. If you want to live near the ocean, then you deal with hurricanes. Up north, we deal with ice storms. Tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

    Your choice and also your responsibility to finance your choice.

  11. Andy Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    If you can’t afford to evacuate, then don’t live in an area where you might have to.

    Should we now buy cars and/or umbrellas for people who live in rainy areas that can’t afford them? After all, you might get wet/sick/cold.

    If private groups want to help people evacuate (and some do), then that’s fine, of course.

  12. sam's tips paradise Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 11:40 am

    I’m not really sure about that. Here in my country, they’d rather make you take a drastic step or else, you don’t get any.

    Well, at least that’s the way it works here.

  13. Sam Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 11:54 am

    This is just another symptom of the gradual change of the US population into a bunch of juveniles that need to be taken care of by the government. Adulthood is out of style – adolescent neediness is the new thing.

  14. Adam Jones Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    @ Steve Braun: I think the government should send billions and billions to those of us in Ohio for having Michigan as a northern neighbor…sorry, I am only kidding. A good Buckeye cannot profess love for anything having to do with Michigan and must respond when a Michigander posts anything on the Internet. :)

    As far as your question goes, JLP, I think I agree with most of the others: NO. It does seem like we are becoming beggars. Everyone wants some sort of funding for everything they do. If you choose to live in a particular area, you must be aware of the circumstances. If nothing bad happens to you, great. If a natural disaster rolls through and you have to evacuate, you should have known that it could happen. People like you who seem to take the good with the bad and behave responsibly should be the examples people follow instead of them thinking they can get free money.

    I think Steve Braun has the right idea for a question like this. If people evacuating get money for it, we should all get money for the perils we face with the choices we have made in our lives. I think the government should take all of this money they are giving as handouts and do something worthwhile with it. They could at least spend it on something we need.

  15. JLP Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Finally something most of us agree on!!!!!

    Haha!

    As far as evacuation insurance goes, I can imagine a company offering it and then pulling out of the area once people actually use it. That’s how insurance seems to work.

  16. Yana Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    *If you don’t like evacuating, then I’d suggest moving away from the coast.*

    I’d say it is more reasonable to say don’t move there in the first place. If a place has always been home, it is difficult to move.

    Who CAN afford to evacuate? If insurance is going to exist, then everyone should be covered regardless of their financial position. And yes, it should be done via the government, which would be in fine shape if it acted based on wise priorities instead of foolish waste. Government has been teaching deficit spending for as long as I can remember, and the current situation is a clear reflection of that. What a dream come true it would be to have an efficient government with an intelligent sense of priorities, which includes seeing to it that the health and welfare of the citizenry is taken care of. It’s just a dream. But one that could have been a reality right now if not for foolish management of funds.

  17. Scott Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    Rethink the question. Were you under MANDATORY evacuation, or did you leave because you thought it was the best thing to do? Actually read your homeowners policy to see if it has ALE (additional living expense) coverage. You need to know that as well as the conditions to collect: ie mandatory evacuation order, damage to your home, damage in your area, damage in surrounding area, is your house uninhabitable, how long do you have to be gone before coverage kicks in (deductible), etc. How about if you own a business? Do you have loss of income insurance? Do you have loss of rents insurance? Do you have other coverages to pay your employees for the imme they were forced to be off work (up to 120 days for major damage). How many people have actually read their policies to really understand what is covered, available, and what your risks are. If you live in a seacoast tier 1 county in Texas, is windstorm covered by your homeowners policy or is it excluded and provided by the windsoorm pool or ICAT? If you have damage from a flood, the damage will not be covered unless you have purchased a flood policy.

    For people who had losses where there was a storm surge and hurricane force winds, the loss will most likely be considered a flood claim because the surge preceeds the wind. Try fighting that, Trent Lott did after Katrina and lost.

    By the way, I too think we need to take care of ourselves as much as possible, then insure above that limit and not depend on help from the government. If it is needed, then it would be welcomed.

    Scott

  18. Steve Braun Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    @ Adam Jones. Appreciate the humor.

    Ohio would not qualify for federal dollars because it is only a large cornfield and not an actual state. Its roads only exist for transporting said commodity to market and as a gateway to more pleasant places to live.

    I have several generations of Buckeye blood in my family. I’m first generation Wolverine and am hoping that superior genetic line replaces the inferior Buckeye mutations in subsequent generations. Go Blue! :)

  19. Sp Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    No.

    But if someone is really struggling because of this, someone should help. It seems like something that churches and charities could take care of (in this case, not in all cases of assistance).

    Does the gov’t really need to be involved?

  20. JimmyDaGeek Says:
    September 24th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Why should us taxpayers pay for someone’s foolishness of living in harm’s way? We already pay for people’s health choices, especially poor people and criminals.

    I remembers seeing an interview with a women that lost everything in Katrina. She remarked that she didn’t buy flood insurance because they were not in a flood plain and were not required to. She shrugged her shoulders and said “Oh well, it was my choice and I chose wrong. I will have to start from scratch.”

    Why do people expect someone else to pay for their stupid mistakes?

  21. Terry Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 1:46 am

    If an evacuation is voluntary, government shouldn’t pay for it.

    But is evacuation is mandatory, there is a case for reimbursement.

  22. Foo Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 6:41 am

    No.

  23. Matt Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Absolutely not. Everyone should bear their own costs with regard to their choice of living place.

    No one reimburses me for the cost of shoveling my driveways in the winter because I live in Michigan. It’s an inconvenience I’ve chosen to bear, and the same is true of evacuations in hurricane-prone areas.

    How is the cost of evacuation going to be calculated? Are we reimbursing people for lost wages, too?

    In the event of government-mandated evacuations, the government may be less likely to require evacuation or may downplay the threat if they know that they’ll have to reimburse people who evacuate.

    Bottom line, though, is that there’s no reason one can’t save and prepare for evacuation expenses.

  24. Squeezer Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 8:15 am

    heck no to the government reimbursing anyone for evacuating. those people chose to live there in hurricane/flood prone areas.

  25. Tina Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 8:57 am

    NO NO and again I Say NO.

  26. Grumble Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Matt said:

    Bottom line, though, is that there’s no reason one can’t save and prepare for evacuation expenses.

    If your income is very low, you can’t save and eat too.

  27. JLP Says:
    September 25th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Grumble,

    True but there was help for those who could afford to evacuate on their own. There really wasn’t an excuse not to evacuate.

  28. Leslie Says:
    September 26th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    OK, I just have to ask: What part of the United States is safe from natural disasters? I mean, I’d be happy to live there if it existed, but I don’t know of one single corner of this nation that never experiences wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, or blizzards. So saying that people “should just live someplace else” seems kind of silly.

  29. Amber Jones Says:
    October 11th, 2008 at 8:46 am

    I agree with Leslie. No matter where you go, there will be something that causes some sort of damage somewhere, and there is no stopping this from happening. So wouldn’t it only be fair to give the entire country this help? But really, how could you calculate the correct amounts. There would always be those complaining that they didn’t get as much as another person did because the government didn’t feel that the weather issues there were as great as the weather issues elsewhere. So with that being said, people should try to save up their emergency funds for problems like this. Get a second job. Put the money away in a safe place and only use it in case of an emergency!

  30. Philippines Internet Review Says:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 9:20 am

    When you’re in another or different country, it works differently for such issues of reimbursements but what strikes me the most is whey ask the question. For me, they should be in all due respect.

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