The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reports that three out of four homeowners are at risk of becoming the victims of a severe weather event, but more than half of homeowners fail to take simple steps to mitigate such risks.
Many consumers also don’t realize that a standard homeowners’ insurance policy will not cover the type of flood damage that’s often the result of a climate-change related event.
“No matter where you live, your home is at risk for a climate-related loss,” the NAIC said in a December 2021 alert. “To protect the life you’ve built, learn what the risks are and how to reduce them.”
Among the statistics cited by the NAIC:
- 5 million homes in the United States were at high or extreme risk of wildfire, according to Verisk.
- About a quarter of all flood losses happen in homes outside of high-risk areas.
- In high-risk areas, there is a 25% chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage.
- There were more than 4,600 major hailstorms reported in the U.S. in 2020, which caused about $8 to $14 million in insurance losses, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Here are the eight steps that homeowners can take to mitigate their risk of experiencing a climate change-related loss:
- To help protect a home from wildfire damage, remove dead shrubbery, and any trees that hang above your roof, as they are likely to spread flames and embers.
- Avoid storing items under decks or porches and clear gutters. Clearing the debris from your gutters will help prevent ice dams during cold weather by allowing meltwater to drain freely.
- Use non-combustible materials around your home to prevent the spread of wildfires.
- To help protect a home from flood or rain damage, install a water alarm to provide an alert when water begins accumulating in the basement.
- Make sure sump pumps are charged, working, and have a backup power supply available.
- To help mitigate hail and wind damage, move loose items such as patio furniture inside before storms.
- Remove dead or loose tree branches, as the wind can move them during storms.
- To mitigate against snow and ice damage, cut back branches or stems that are dead, dying, diseased or broken.