Homeowners insurance blog

Team Names, Natural Disasters, and Insurance

Your team just lost the big game. What a disaster, right?

To call one loss a disaster is a bit of a stretch. But for a handful of professional sports teams, it can be a disaster. What if your hometown hockey team drops a critical game to the Calgary Flames or Tampa Bay Lightning?

The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder, for a time, appeared to be on a crash course for the NBA Finals. If they had, you would have had to wonder: What’s more damaging, Heat or Thunder?

Bulldogs and Wildcats could once capture the fighting spirit of a sports team. Teams now have natural disasters and other insurance perils to expand on the danger. What match is a Duck for an Avalanche?

Here are natural disaster nicknames for the major professional sports leagues in North America. We included a little on their background – and a look at the insurance implications they bring.

Just in case the Hurricanes are on your schedule.


Miami Heat

  • Team name origin: The team held a contest among fans in 1988, when the franchise originated. It beat out another disaster-related nickname, the Tornadoes, as well as Suntan.
  • Insurance implication: Not that anyone in Miami would have one, but did you know homes with wood-burning stoves are way more expensive to insure? If your home also has small children, the likelihood you’ll find insurance coverage drops even more.

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Team name origin: When the Seattle Sonics moved to Tornado Alley in 2008, they became the Thunder.
  • Insurance implication: Tornado Alley extends south to north central Texas and north to South Dakota. It goes west to the Colorado-Kansas border and east to the Missouri River. If you live there, it’s crucial to check your homeowners insurance. You need coverage for full replacement value should a storm destroy your home.

The NBA has other insurance-related teams, such as the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets.

Car insurance will cover engine damage only if it happens as a result of covered peril. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, that could include vandalism, fire, or crash.

If you’re lucky enough to own a gold nugget, you might consider scheduling an endorsement or other measures to cover it. High-value items aren’t always fully covered by standard homeowners insurance. Be sure to include the nugget as part of your home inventory.


Calgary Flames

  • Team name origin: The team kept the name when it moved from Atlanta in 1980. Team owners named it for General William T. Sherman’s burning of Atlanta during the Civil War.
  • Insurance implication: Old homes with old wiring are a greater fire risk, and thus more expensive to insure. Alaska, Florida, and the western U.S., as far east as Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Texas, are prone to wildfires. If you live in this area, you’ll want to be sure about your coverage.

Carolina Hurricanes

  • Team name origin: The Hartford Whalers became the Carolina Hurricanes when they moved to Raleigh in 1997. Hurricanes Fran and Floyd inspired owners Peter Karmanos Jr. to change the name.
  • Insurance implication: If wind and rain cause damage to your home, most home insurance policies will cover it. Check your policy. Some carriers demand a higher deductible if you’re in a hurricane-prone region. Flooding as a result of a hurricane is not covered. You’ll need flood insurance.

Colorado Avalanche

  • Team name origin: Amid controversy because of its deadly implications, the Quebec Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche. The franchise moved to Denver in 1995. The previous Denver hockey team was the Rockies, which left for New Jersey in 1982 and became the Devils.
  • Insurance implication: Homeowners insurance won’t cover an avalanche. Separate flood insurance would cover events melting snow or rainfall would cause.

Tampa Bay Lightning

  • Team name origin: Florida has more death and injury related to lightning strikes than any other state. Tampa gets its fair share. Team ownership said the Lightning name was picked because it implies fast action on the ice.
  • Insurance implication:  Lightning can pack a 100,000-volt punch. Most policies can cover damage from lightning, including fire. Some policies can cover damage as a result of a power surge. However, you should know that if lighting leads to a power outage that causes food to spoil in your refrigerator or freezer, it will not be covered.


The National Football League has no natural disasters among its ranks, but it does have a few insurance risks. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover medical costs if a bear, like Chicago’s mascot, attack you in your home.


Major League Baseball also is devoid of natural disasters as mascots. The Arizona Diamondbacks do remind us of one limitation, though. Some carriers have declined to offer coverage to homeowners who own snakes as pets.