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Hurricane Damage by the Numbers
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts that the cost of hurricane damage will rise significantly in the next several decades, largely because of climate change and real estate development along the nation’s coasts.
Total spend on hurricane damage is expected to rise nearly 40 percent, to $39 billion dollars per year. Perhaps even more troubling, though, is that the number of people who are “substantially” affected by hurricane damage is projected to increase by more than 700 percent in that same timeframe, from 1.2 million to 10 million people.
Yearly Hurricane Impact
People “substantially affected”
Top 5 Most Expensive Hurricanes
The CBO’s predictions of increasing hurricane costs ring true to anyone who’s paid attention to storms in the last few years. Four of the five most expensive storms in US history have happened since 2012, and all five have happened since 2005.
Hurricane Damage by State
Today, the state of Florida experiences more than half of the country’s hurricane damage, as measured by cost. Texas is the second most impacted state, with 13 percent of the country’s spend, followed by Louisiana, with nine percent.
The top 10 states account for 94 percent of the country’s spend on hurricane damage.
How Much Does Flood Damage Cost?
One reason Americans care so much about getting hurricane updates and staying ahead of big storms is that they’re hoping to prevent flood damage, which can be expensive. A typical homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover the damage associated with hurricane-related floods (that is, it doesn’t cover damage from water that comes from outside your home).
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) tracks average payouts it makes by month. For the period between June 2017 and May 2018, those averages ranged from $11,015 (for May 2018) to a whopping $113,016 (for August 2017, when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma hit).
Flood Damage Takeaways
- Flood damage is always expensive. Even on the low end, $11,000+ in damages is a lot. If you’re not insured, those costs have to come out of your pocket.
- Flood insurance doesn’t cover everything. NFIP policies only cover up to $250,000 in structural damage (i.e., rebuilding your home) and $100,000 in contents (i.e., replacing damaged stuff in your house). Most policies also exclude coverage of anything kept in a basement or crawlspace.
- More than one in five claims the NFIP pays are for homes considered to have a low or moderate risk of flooding. So even if you don’t live in what’s considered a flood zone, you may want to invest in flood insurance to prevent a major unexpected expense in the event of a flood.
Keep an Eye on the Next Hurricane
Regularly check this NOAA map of hurricane activity in the Atlantic. It’s updated several times per day to reflect the latest known information about developing tropical storms, tropical depressions, cyclones, hurricanes, and other storms.
Hurricanes & Homeowners Insurance: Important Information
If your home is damaged by a hurricane, your standard homeowners insurance may not cover all the damage. Typical homeowners policies:
- DO cover wind damage related to hurricanes. This portion of the coverage is sometimes called hurricane insurance.
- DO have a separate deductible for hurricane-related damages. This is called a hurricane deductible.
- DO NOT cover flooding from hurricanes. For that coverage, you’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy (typically from the NFIP, though Kin can help you get coverage, too).
How to Prepare for a Hurricane
Ever heard that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? It’s a cliché, but it’s highly applicable to hurricane preparation. Your best bet at minimizing the damage a hurricane can cause is to prepare in two ways:
- Prepare your home to survive the high wind and water. This includes both long-term planning like making sure your roof meets wind mitigation standards and short-term hurricane-proofing you can do once you know a storm is coming.
- Plan short-term living alternatives. This involves planning where you’ll go if and when you get an evacuation order. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to prepare for a hurricane.
Recovering from a Hurricane
Even the best preparation can’t prevent all hurricane damage. If your home is hit, you’ll want to start the recovery process as soon as possible.
To get an idea of how Kin handles hurricane recovery, read about our strategy post-Irma, where we used texts to communicate with our customers and drones to snap photos of damage so we could start the claims process before many people had returned from evacuation.
Apply for Disaster Assistance
- Find out whether your home is in an area where a disaster has been declared at DisasterAssistance.gov. You can apply for disaster assistance online from this website.
- Get a sense of what your disaster assistance options are and where to find the resources you need from FEMA’s individual disaster assistance page.
- Find basic information about securing financial assistance after a disaster from USA.gov.
Submit a Flood Insurance Claim
If you have flood damage after a hurricane and you have a flood insurance policy, you’ll have to submit a claim to your insurance company to get the funds you need to repair or rebuild. Here’s a guide to handling the flood claims process. The most important takeaway: start the process sooner rather than later to ensure you’re able to get the compensation you need to recover.
What Not to Do after a Hurricane
When the storm has passed, you’ll likely want to get your life back to normal as soon as possible. But keep in mind that full recovery may take some time, especially if the damage is severe or widespread. To make sure you don’t put yourself or your family at risk, be sure you follow these safety guidelines:
- DON’T return to your home if there is still an active evacuation order.
- DON’T try to wade, swim, or drive through standing water.
- DON’T touch downed power lines; instead, report them to the police or fire department.
- DON’T use generators indoors, including in a garage, crawlspace, or basement. Before refilling a generator with gas, let it cool off first.
- DON’T burn charcoal indoors.
- DON’T eat or drink anything unless you know it’s safe. Check out the CDC’s food and water safety guidelines for more.
More Hurricane Resources
Check out these hurricane preparation guides and easy explainers on hurricane insurance.
How to Prepare for a Hurricane
Hurricane season has officially begun, and now it's time to make a hurricane preparation plan. This guide can help.
6 Ways to Hurricane-Proof Your Home
These tips can help you prepare for hurricane season and protect your home against wind and water damage.
Pet Disaster Preparedness: How to Keep Your Pets Safe in an Emergency
Your pets are part of the family, and their safety in an emergency requires a little extra planning. This guide can help make sure your pets are looked after in a disaster.
What Is FEMA's Role in Disaster Relief?
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) became a household name after Hurricane Katrina when the agency came under media scrutiny for its failure to respond to victims in a timely fashion. What are its duties today?
The term “hurricane insurance” can be misleading. There is no policy that covers all the damage caused by a hurricane. However, most home insurance policies offer coverage for hurricane wind damage.
Hurricane Deductible Definition
A hurricane deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket before your insurance benefits kick in to cover hurricane wind losses.