83% of U.S. homeowners unprepared for natural disaster

83% of U.S. homeowners unprepared for natural disaster


Anyone who has read our post on the seven biggest disasters in Dallas-Fort Worth history knows how important emergency preparation is for homeowners. But despite 2017 bringing what seemed like a barrage of natural disasters, a recent study found that 83 percent of homeowners in the U.S. are unprepared for natural disaster.

What’s more, even though over 80 percent of respondents said they would feel more confident about getting through natural disasters if their communities invested in high-tech tools, next to no one—a scant 3 percent—said they would invest in personal technologies themselves in the next three months.

Personal technology

Many homeowners may overestimate the cost of personal technology aimed at mitigating property damage during natural disasters—and underestimate how much money they can save in the long run.

“Homeowners can invest in smart home sensors and alert devices, which can alert you to impending damage from fire, water, and other hazards,” notes Craig Edmonds, vice president of claims practices for Esurance. For example, “Spending $30 to $60 for a Wi-Fi enabled water sensor or alert device could save a lot of money in the long run.”

Most people—76 percent—have staples like food, water, and first-aid kits available in case of an emergency. However, nearly half of the study’s respondents had no idea that in-home technologies like smart home alarms or water sensors (which can alert homeowners of danger via cellphone) even exist.

Insurance and recordkeeping

Two-thirds of the study’s respondents rank property damage high on their list of fears during natural disasters. That makes reviewing insurance policies a priority, since a lot of homeowners don’t understand the breadth of their policies and may assume these cover all disasters without limit.

If disaster does strike, it helps to have proper documentation ahead of time. Make sure all your records are both up to date and digitized. Update your home inventory on at least a yearly basis, listing any new purchases and home improvements. Document both the inside and outside of your home, with photos or video if possible.

That goes for any rental properties, too. For more on making a rental property claim, see our guide here.