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Natural disasters are up, but homeowners aren’t prepared, survey shows

Aly J. Yale
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Caught unaware

Natural disasters are on the rise — and according to a new survey, homeowners are woefully underprepared. Few have flood insurance, most don’t have generators and even fewer have a safe room or shelter in case of emergency.

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The cost of natural disasters

According to analysis from Fixr, home repairs due to natural disasters are costing American homeowners billions. In fact, the National Center for Environmental Information shows that severe weather events causing $1 billion or more in damage have jumped to 10 per year — five times the number seen just decades ago.

“It’s a scary but unavoidable reality that as a result of climate change, natural disasters are becoming a part of everyday life,” Fixr reported. “Apart from the risk to personal health and safety, this is particularly concerning for homeowners as these storms can lead to many thousands of dollars worth of damage to personal property.”

Dealing with home disasters: prevention and protection

Data shows fires have cost homeowners the most over the past two years, totaling about $6.3 billion in home repairs. Floods weren’t far behind, at $5.3 billion, followed by tornados/hurricanes ($4.5 billion), earthquakes ($44.7 million) and landslides ($27.7 million).

Drilled down to the project level, though, floods cost homeowners the most. On average, flood damage costs $12,000 per project to repair, while fires cost about $10,000 per project.

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Unprepared for disaster

Fixr’s analysis also looked at how prepared homeowners are for these potential disasters, checking for things like flood insurance, generators, shelters and more.

Only 18 percent of homeowners have a generator and 11 percent have flood insurance. A whopping 40 percent of those only have it due to mortgage financing requirements. Just over 12 percent have a safe room or shelter.

Fixr warns that this data “should be evidence enough that failing to prepare for the next natural disaster could leave you homeless and or bankrupt as a result.”

Why flood insurance is important; lessons learned from Hurricane Harvey

Get today’s mortgage rates

Are you thinking of refinancing to pay for disaster prep at your home? Then shop around and see what mortgage rates you qualify for today.

Verify your new rate (Dec 15th, 2018)