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Homeowners Unprepared for Storm Risks

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Homeowner attitudes in states at high-risk of hurricanes are yet to reflect any disaster preparedness according to a survey by ValuePenguin.

The survey of 1,050 homeowners found that while 77% of respondents in hurricane-prone states said that they felt prepared for the hurricane season, nearly half of the respondents also said that they hadn’t actually started making preparations.

“At minimum, these numbers imply that one in four respondents from these high-risk states felt sufficiently prepared while having taken no protective measures,” the survey revealed.

Homeowners are also underestimating the cost of damage due to a storm or a hurricane, the survey found. More than half of the respondents guessed that an average home would require less than $10,000 in storm damage repairs. This underestimates the actual cost of repairs which averaged $91,735 for hurricane-related claims in 2017, according to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Homeowners also believed that weather professionals exaggerated “the risk level of incoming hurricanes.” Almost four in ten homeowners believed this to be true, with two-thirds of respondents underestimating the number of hurricanes that would hit the country this year.

The survey said that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has projected between five and nine hurricanes (defined by winds of at least 74 mph) hitting the U.S. between now and November 30.

One of the reasons the survey cited for homeowners underestimating the losses from storm-related damages was the fact that many residents in these high-risk states didn’t know how much insurance cover would be needed to protect themselves from these damages. The survey found that in the 19 high-risk states 45% of respondents were unsure about the amount of insurance coverage they would need.

According to ValuePenguin data, the average claims after Hurricane Michael in 2018 stood at $57,754 while those after Hurricane Florence averaged $47,138. The highest claims payments in recent years were made after Hurricane Harvey in 2017, where insurance claims averaged $116,823.

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