Some homeowners ignore climate change risks at their peril, survey says

More homebuyers are choosing to move into harm's way

Maintenance activities like trimming trees, cleaning gutters and protecting outside HVAC equipment can help reduce storm damage to homes, a recent survey said.  (iStock)

Despite the growing number of climate-related catastrophes, 25% of American homeowners still don't think their homes are at risk for weather-related damages, according to a recent survey.

Of the homeowners impacted by recent weather events, 92% said they expected to be hit by bad weather again in the next decade, according to the survey by the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), in coordination with Munich Reinsurance America.

However, of the 68% of respondents who had not experienced a weather event in the last five years, 36% were unfazed by the threat of climate risk. 

Moreover, 64% said that their residences were not at risk of flooding and another 14% were unsure even though this weather event is a nationwide risk, according to the survey. Flood damage is typically not covered under a standard home insurance policy and is available as a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or the private market. 

"Many homeowners expect insurance to cover floods and are devastated when they find it does not," Sean Kevelighan, the CEO of Triple-I said. "Just how many low-income homeowners could withstand the total loss of their home from an unforeseen weather event without coverage? We found that the more educated homeowners are, the more likely they were to buy the coverage."

Homeowners should be prepared for what's shaping up to be an active hurricane season. If you want to make sure you have enough insurance and the right coverage for your needs, you can visit Credible to check out plans, providers, and costs.


More people moving into harm's way

A growing number of people are moving to southern states – including Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina – despite the increased risk of climate-related events, according to the survey. 

For example, listings of homes and the sales of properties in the hurricane-battered metropolitan area of Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida, have already bounced back in the wake of last year's major hurricane, according to a recent Redfin report

Many of the newcomers are unaware that they live in storm surge danger zones or that they may also have to spend more to insure homes in these higher-risk areas of the U.S. Flood insurance rates in some areas of the U.S. more at risk for flooding continue to increase, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

In some areas, premiums are on track to jump by double digits. Across all states and territories, the average cost of flood insurance will rise to $1,808 from $888 per policy, according to FEMA data.

If you have a mortgage, you're typically required to carry homeowners insurance, but you don't have to stick with any particular insurance company. If you want to save on your home insurance costs, you could shop around for the best rate. Credible can help you compare home insurance rates from top insurance carriers all in one place.


Preparing for weather events requires more than insurance

Purchasing insurance is one of many ways homeowners can prepare for a weather event, according to the Triple-I survey. Homeowners should also have an evacuation plan and disaster kit ready to reduce potential harm.

An inventory of possessions is also necessary because it can help make a recovery easier no matter which of the weather events causes the claim, the survey said.

Preparing the area around your home may also help reduce the damage potential, the survey said. This can include maintenance activities like trimming trees, cleaning gutters, protecting outside HVAC equipment, removing combustible materials surrounding the home and checking sump pumps.  

"Forty percent of homeowners state that they have taken maintenance and/or resiliences steps to better protect their home, while 60% claim to have not completed any steps at all," the survey said. "On a positive note, homeowners in the south and the west regions, where weather events are often more frequent and severe, were more likely to take steps to protect their homes."

Whether your concern is hurricane damage, tornado damage, wind damage, flood damage or beyond, it's best to obtain multiple quotes from several insurance companies to compare prices and what is and isn't covered. To help you find the best insurance rate for your situation, visit Credible to compare multiple providers at once and choose the right option for you. 


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