With Hurricane Florence scheduled to make landfall along the Southeast, many military families find themselves making the choice to hunker down while others choose (or are ordered) to evacuate.

These tips and resources will prepare your family and increase safety. If the military orders an evacuation, as it has in the past, your family will know what you’re entitled to.


Military Evacuation Entitlements

According to a Military.com article, the military will only pay for evacuation expenses if evacuation is ordered by the appropriate military authorities. Here is what you need to know:

  • If you leave without a military order, you will not be reimbursed for any expenses incurred until such an order is given.
  • An evacuation order given by local civilian authorities does not qualify you for reimbursement.
  • An evacuation order can include a designated “safe haven” location or a distance which you can travel. If a specific location is designated, this is the location for which reimbursements will be paid.
  • If you feel it is in your best interest to evacuate, make the judgment call yourself. Just know that the military will only pay if they tell you to evacuate.
  • You must save all receipts for reimbursement.

What Will Be Reimbursed?

  • Mileage, lodging and incidentals will be covered. (If a safe haven is designated, reimbursements will not exceed the costs at the designated location.)
  • Mileage is paid at a flat rate. Mileage may be authorized for one vehicle per family member aged 16 or older.
  • Each evacuated person aged 12 and over receives meals and incidentals at 100% of the published rate for the safe haven location. Those under 12 receive 50% of the meals and incidentals rate.
  • Lodging is reimbursed up to the authorized rate for the designated safe haven location or the authorized rate for the actual location if no location is designated. Lodging rates are authorized for each family member over the age of 12, with those under the age of 12 eligible for up to 50% of the lodging amount.
  • Lodging is not reimbursed if you stay with friends or family.
  • You must save all receipts for reimbursement.

USAA Clarification

Every year during hurricane season you may see a chain message floating across Facebook saying that USAA will pay anytime you have to evacuate due to a hurricane. We wanted to make sure we got the word directly from USAA.

Below is there response:

“Homeowners and renter’s policies can vary state-to-state. We ask our members to review what’s covered in their policy or visit our mobile app, USAA.com or call directly for questions they may have.”

Hurricane Safety Tips

Whether you stay home or leave, there are ways to be prepared. Do what you can to safeguard your home, valuables and loved ones. If leaving, do remember to bring important medications with you. Please see these helpful tips.


  • Stock up on hurricane supplies — batteries, flashlights, lamps, lamp oil, non-perishable food, manual can opener, etc.  
  • Freeze tap water for cleaning, drinking or pets. Leave space between the top of the container and the lid so that it doesn’t crack when the ice expands.
  • Sanitize a bathtub and fill it with water.
  • Run your ice maker/make ice cubes and store them in bags in your freezer. Use perishables in advance to make room for ice.
  • Secure projectile items in your yard (grills, chairs, toys, etc.)  that may fly and cause damage during high winds.
  • Shutter windows and doors. Put towels by window sills in the event of leaking.


  • Gas up your car, ensure that tires are full and oil and other fluids are in check.
  • Have toll money in your vehicle.
  • If your family is evacuating and you own more than one car, consider taking only one to cut back on traffic.


  • Take photos of important documents and email them to yourself. Put originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.
  • Store valuables in plastic bins or bags in a high place such as a second floor or attic.
  • Have contact information for your insurance company and any necessary documents for your policies.


  • Electronic systems may go down. Get cash today from the ATM, don’t rely on credit or debit.
  • If you are evacuating to a location out of state, notify your bank so that they don’t lock up your card.


  • Ensure that you have water and food for your pets.
  • Bring necessary carriers and leashes with you.
  • Bring their records in case you need to have them at a shelter or safe haven.


  • Ensure you have chargers for your phones, laptops and other devices. Portable power banks and USB cords for your vehicle offer extra assurance.
  • Dim the screen on your device to increase battery life. Make sure apps not being utilized are closed.
  • Write down important phone numbers in case your phone dies and you need to touch base using someone else’s.
  • Share evacuation plans and movements with family and friends so they know where you are.

We wish that you and your family stay safe during the storm.






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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” former Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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