Is the market hot enough for you? It’s hot enough for some people that they’re thinking about what would happen if everything melted.

The S&P kissed the 2,000 mark in late August, a rise of almost 200% from March 2009. That’s raised fears of overvaluation, overheating and overstimulated investors. The Shiller PE ratio was hovering above 26 as of September 10, a yawning gap over its average of 16.55. There’s fear the major indexes are due for a correction at least or—if the slow GDP growth and sluggish employment are indicators of broad economic malaise—something worse.

Not surprisingly, defensive alternative investments are on people’s minds, including long-short mutual funds, with stock-shorting capabilities designed to provide an umbrella against the ineluctable bad weather.

For its boasted money fortifications, the long-short mutual fund category has seen a freshet of money come spilling into it. In 2013, says Lipper, the net inflows ballooned more than five and half times to $19.719 billion, from $3.468 billion in 2012. As of September 4, the net inflow for 2014 was $7.767 billion. Nineteen new long-short funds had hit the market in 2014 by late July, Lipper says.

A lot of that is likely fueled by investors preparing to cover themselves.

“There’s probably a feeling the bull market is starting to get a little long in the tooth,” says Jerry Verseput, an advisor with Veripax Financial Management in Folsom, Calif. “In the last big downturn, long-short funds did pretty well relative to the rest of the market because they had that short contingent that softened their drawdown.”

That sentiment is echoed by Morningstar, whose long-short category lost only 14% in 2008 while the S&P 500 lost 38%.

“The market crisis made me re-evaluate my entire strategy,” says Verseput. “And it made me add a significant number of other asset classes. So I look at long-short funds as being a different asset class. The lesson that I learned coming out of 2008 is that to have a diversified portfolio, you’ve got to have investments that do different things. So if you have a portfolio that’s full of long-only funds, all of them are just buying stocks … they are all doing the same thing. And they are all going to go down at the same time.”

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