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NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2020 – More U.S. homeowners are taking steps to protect their homes from natural disasters like flooding and hurricanes, according to a new Consumer Poll conducted by the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).
Forty-two percent of homeowners who responded to the Triple-I’s online survey this summer said they’d made improvements to protect their homes from floods, and 39 percent reported they had taken steps to protect their homes from hurricanes. Elevating and retrofitting homes to strengthen their exteriors are among the steps commonly taken to reduce the impact of flood and wind-caused property damage.
“The insurance industry’s focus on resilience is starting to pay dividends as more Americans recognize the very real risks their residences face from floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I. “There is still time to act. Hurricane Sally today became the eighth named storm to make landfall in 2020 but the Atlantic hurricane season continues through the end of November.”
Twenty-six percent of homeowners surveyed said they live in an area likely to experience a hurricane and about four out of five in this group had heard the U.S. seasonal hurricane forecasts. When the forecast predicts either an average or an above-average number of hurricanes, about seven out of 10 homeowners make more preparations to protect their homes, the Triple-I found.
In something of a surprise, 27 percent of homeowners surveyed reported they have flood insurance, the highest level of flood coverage reported since the Triple-I began asking Americans this question in 2007. Most insurance industry and FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) sources estimate anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of U.S. residences are covered under a flood insurance policy.
It is possible a number of Triple-I Consumer Poll respondents with homeowners insurance believe they have flood coverage when they actually do not. The discrepancy between those who have flood insurance and those who think they do gives insurers an opportunity to inform their customers about the need to purchase flood insurance, either from the NFIP or a private insurer, according to the Triple-I.
In addition to floods and hurricanes, the poll looked at how Americans assessed the risks they face from wildfires and earthquakes while also surveying the percentage of U.S. drivers who received auto insurance premium relief this year after the pandemic reduced miles driven nationwide.
The Triple-I’s 2020 Consumer Poll was conducted online in July 2020. The full report can be downloaded online from the Triple-I’s website.