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American Homeowners Are Not Prepared For The Next Natural Disaster

Katie Jensen
Sep 20, 2021

House hunting has become a different game now that frequent natural disasters are striking all across the country.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • 54% of respondents fear they will not be able to recover from the financial impact of a natural disaster or emergency.
  • Among the six listed emergencies, ranging from hurricanes to earthquakes, just 12% admit not being prepared for a single one.
  • However, responses about specific preparation measures suggest that consumer sentiment does not line up with reality. 
  • 67% of homeowners who live in hurricane-prone areas either don’t have or don’t know whether they have a flood insurance policy. Likewise, 66% of homeowners in earthquake-prone areas do not carry a separate policy. 

House hunting has become a different game now that frequent natural disasters are striking all across the country. After suffering through one of the hottest summers on record, with temperatures breaking records last set during the Dust Bowl, a devastating hurricane ravaged the Gulf Coast region and caused drastic floods to rise in the Northeast. The temper of the U.S. housing market and earth’s weather seem to be equally erratic, causing consumers to worry over whether they're prepared for disaster. 

According to the latest ValuePenguin survey of nearly 2,200 Americans, 54% of respondents fear they will not be able to recover from the financial impact of a natural disaster or emergency. Millennials (ages 25 to 40) felt even less confident, on average, at 60%. Among the six listed emergencies, ranging from hurricanes to earthquakes, just 12% admit not being prepared for a single one. However, responses about specific preparation measures suggest that consumer sentiment does not line up with reality. 

Additionally, researchers found that 67% of homeowners who live in hurricane-prone areas either don’t have or don’t know whether they have a flood insurance policy. Likewise, 66% of homeowners in earthquake-prone areas do not carry a separate policy. 

ValuePenguin’s survey found that a minority of consumers (23%) have never experienced a natural disaster. Out of those who have experienced a natural disaster, 39% wish they had been more prepared, while 48% report being as prepared as they could have been, and 14% report not being prepared at all. Overall, 52% of consumers who experienced a natural disaster report not being as prepared as they should have been. 

When it comes to certain kinds of disasters, most consumers feel they can adequately prepare for extreme heat. Nearly 77% of Americans think they can ensure the safety of themselves, their family, and home in the case of a heat emergency, with 37% who are very confident in themselves. Also, 72% of consumers feel they can adequately prepare for bad winter weather. 

However, no more than 62% of Americans expect to be prepared for any other kind of natural disaster. Although confidence in hurricane and flood preparedness is relatively high at 62%, if a tornado formed, only 58% of consumers would feel prepared, and if a wildfire or earthquake occurred, the figure shrinks down to 46%. 

Despite only 12% of Americans admitting to not being prepared in a natural disaster, the percentage of those with adequate emergency supplies is shockingly low. Most households (823%) have a working flashlight, 76% have a first aid kit and 71% have three days' worth of food. Fewer people have three days supply of water and less than half of people have an evacuation go bag (40%) or a generator (30%). Additionally, 53% of pet-owners don’t have an evacuation plan for their pet.

 


 

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