For the past few weeks, most of us in Louisiana have been glancing southward at "something" that was supposed to be developing in the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center have been watching for it too. Yesterday, the Hurricane Center designated the broad area of low pressure in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and its associated showers and storms as "Potential Tropical Cyclone One".

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Yeah, it does sound ominous but it's basically the Hurricane Center's way of saying we know there is a weather system there. We believe it will become a tropical cyclone of some kind over the next day or so. And, most importantly, we want to make sure that people don't underestimate the potential damage to property and loss of life that might occur because of this system.

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For a tropical system to earn a name it must have maximum sustained winds of 39 mph or more. There are other characteristics a storm system needs as well. A lot of those have to do with circulation around a central point. Convection (thunderstorms/rain) that is associated with that central point is also a key player in determining a storm's status. That's a very broad interpretation of some of the things forecasters look for when deciding whether or not we need to get on a first-name basis with a weathermaker.

Your insurance company also looks for "names" when it comes to tropical weather systems. If you are not familiar with the term Named Storm Deductible with your homeowner's policy, I suggest you get familiar with it today. Hopefully, you'll never experience the great letdown that comes with learning that the coverage you thought you had for your storm recovery is a lot less than what you've been paying for.

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Based on information provided by the website Insurica.com a storm only earns a name when it is given by the National Weather Service. And while the NWS doesn't give tropical depressions names according to insurica.com they are still included as "named systems" by the insurance industry.

The other times storms earn a name is when they reach tropical storm status or hurricane status. The named storm deductible also looks at the timing of when a storm earns its name and when the storm is downgraded. Why this is important is the difference in the amount your insurance company will be covering.

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In most cases, a standard deductible for homeowners insurance is a fixed rate. You know up front that if your home is damaged in a storm without a name just how much out of pocket you'll be paying. But, if that storm has a name your deductible could be as much as 10% of your home's value. It's all based on what your policy states about named storms.

For example, if your home's roof is damaged by hail you might pay the standard deductible listed in your policy. But if your roof is damaged by hail from a storm caused by a named tropical system you might be out of pocket up to 10% of your home's value. That's a heck of a lot more than $500 or $1,000 deductibles that a homeowner's policy can have.

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Is a Potential Tropical Cyclone a Named Storm?

We looked at a lot of articles on the subject online and couldn't find a definitive answer. But since the law usually doesn't take "potential" into consideration you'd think that a potential tropical cyclone wouldn't meet the "naming" criteria for a named storm deductible. But, I bet your insurance agents have already created a loophole in your policy to avoid paying out your claim.

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Our advice is to call your agent or policyholder today and get clarification. Because the term "potential tropical cyclone" is a designation by the National Weather Service. That could trigger that higher deductible.

Based on the expected veracity of the tropical season for 2024, my guess is we will see a few more "potential tropical cyclones" before the end of November when the Hurricane Season comes to an end.

5 Cheapest Homeowners Insurance Providers in Louisiana

Several factors, like the risk of natural disasters, property condition, and personal characteristics determine how much you will pay for home insurance. And while Louisianians pay about $100 higher than the national average, below are the five cheapest homeowner insurance providers in the state.