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Over 50% of homeowners have invested in climate threat protections

Homeowners nationwide are focused on protecting against extreme temperatures, flooding, hurricanes and other climate-related threats

About 58% of homeowners in the U.S. have invested in their homes in order to make them more resilient to climate threats, according to a new Redfin report.

Per the report, about 33% of homeowners have spent $5,000 or more to fortify their homes against climate threats, while about 25% have spent up to $4,999. About 42% of homeowners have not invested anything.

When it comes to the type of climate threats that homeowners are preparing for, the majority are focused on extreme temperatures. About 26% have invested in making their homes more resilient to extreme heat, while about 22% have invested in protection against extreme cold, according to the report.

Another 16% have invested in protecting their homes against flooding, while 14% have focused on hurricanes and other major tropical storms, according to Redfin’s data. In addition, 13% have focused on poor air quality, 12% on tornadoes, and another 11% on either earthquakes or fires.

“Americans are shelling out cash to fortify their homes against natural disasters as they increasingly move to at-risk areas despite intensifying climate change,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather.

And while extreme temperatures are the main focus of homeowner investments, Redfin’s report shows that when it comes to climate risk and home insurance, homeowners are focused on flooding.

About 36% homeowners have purchased an insurance policy that covers against flooding, according to Redfin — which makes flood insurance the most common type of climate risk that homeowners are insured against.

Another 33% have purchased insurance against tornadoes, while 29% are insured against hurricanes or tropical storms, 24% against wildfires and 18% against earthquakes.

The rate of homeowners with insurance that protects climate threats has increased since February 2021, according to Redfin’s data, with hurricane and major storm coverage seeing the biggest growth, increasing from 19% to 29% year over year.

Wildfire coverage also grew on an annual basis, jumping from 15% to 24%.

But while flood insurance is the most common type of climate risk coverage, the report states that a lot of flood-prone areas are also underinsured.

Just 18.5% of homes in the Florida counties that were under an evacuation order due to Hurricane Ian were covered through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, according to Redfin, while 9.4% of homes under the evacuation order but outside of the high-risk zone had a policy.

The report found that 71% of Florida-based homeowners have spent money on protecting their homes against climate risks, and homeowners in the state of Florida are more likely than the rest of the U.S. to make such investments.

Report data also showed that about 40% of homeowners in Florida have invested money to make their homes safer against hurricanes — a rate that’s triple the national average. 

“Unfortunately, their investments aren’t always enough — a reality that came into focus when Hurricane Ian destroyed scores of homes, many of which lacked flood insurance,” Fairweather said. “Homeowners should be aware that their property value could drop over time if their area becomes uninsurable and/or uninhabitable due to climate change.”

Redfin released a report earlier this month that showed more than 60% of Americans who plan to buy or sell a house in the next year are hesitant to relocate to a natural disaster-prone area that is experiencing extreme temperatures or rising sea levels.

A 2021 Redfin report found that America’s most disaster-prone areas are popular spots for relocation, including counties that face high heat, drought, fire, flood and storm risks, owing to positive net migration. Moreover, these areas are typically more affordable with lower property taxes, according to the report.

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