Natural disasters are costing homeowners billions — and if new data indicates anything, those costs are only going to rise in the coming years.
According to the latest National Hazard Report from CoreLogic, 2018 was the third consecutive year the U.S. has seen “above-average” catastrophic activity. This activity includes things like hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, hail storms and more.
Last year alone, there 11 natural disasters that caused $1 billion in damage or more. Between 1980 and 2017, the annual average for billion-dollar events was just six.
There were even rare occurrences — like flooding where such activity had a one in 1,000 chance of happening and a near-miss hurricane landfall in Hawaii. Only two hurricanes on record have ever made landfall on the islands.
These disasters — rare or not — are costing property owners big dollars. According to a recent report from Fixr, fires cost homeowners the most, with $6.3 billion in damages between 2015 and 2017 alone. Flooding cost homeowners about $5.1 billion in that time, while hurricanes and tornadoes racked up $4.5 billion in damages.
Unfortunately, a large number of 2018’s natural disaster damages were uninsured. According to the Hazard Report, about 85% of residential flooding losses were uninsured last year. Currently, only about a third of U.S. properties located in FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Area have flood insurance.
According to Howard Botts, chief scientist for CoreLogic, homeowners should be aware of the potential catastrophes that could occur in their area, so they can properly insure themselves against damages.
“In 2018, the U.S. continued to experience damaging weather and natural catastrophes in high exposure areas, and in some instances, in regions that had been impacted in less than a year prior,” Botts said. “Hazards will always pose a real threat to homes and businesses and knowing exactly what that risk entails is critical to helping ensure sufficient protection from the financial catastrophes that so often follow natural disasters.”
For homeowners looking to learn more, Fixr’s Yuka Kato recommends reaching out to the city, county or even the National Centers for Environmental Information for guidance. She also recommends investing in a generator to better prepare for these disasters.
“Having a generator installed can be a lifesaving help in an emergency,” Kato said. “Whether, flood, fire or storm, if the power goes, for the cost of a generator, you will be prepared and able to charge cell phones, cook, have lights and power medical devices for the frail if necessary.”
According to the American Housing Survey, only about 18% of homeowners have a generator.
- Originally posted on Forbes