Filed Under:Claims, Catastrophe & Restoration

Changing weather patterns mean homeowners need to rethink risks

Insurance agents can help clients re-evaluate their risk profile at least once a year to ensure their homeowners' policy provides the protection needed.

Connie Hall stands by her house as she looks at the damage Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Franklin, Tenn., after a storm swept through the area. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
Connie Hall stands by her house as she looks at the damage Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Franklin, Tenn., after a storm swept through the area. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

Fewer than 22 percent of homeowners view changing weather patterns or disasters as an important factor when updating their homeowners insurance policy, according to a new survey from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

With disasters on the rise, the NAIC urges consumers to consider their insurance risks and understand what is and is not covered in their current policies.

Impact on home insurance needs


More than 800 emergency or disaster declarations were made in the United States from 2005-2015, resulting in an average of $24 billion in annual insured losses due to natural catastrophes. However, the NAIC survey revealed 56 percent of homeowners have not reviewed their insurance policies in more than a year and 14 percent are unsure when — if ever — they last reviewed their policies.

Research also indicates that nearly half of homeowners (44 percent) have a home inventory. But of those who have an inventory, more than 40 percent have not updated it in more than a year.

"During the past decade, the U.S. has experienced significant shifts in the frequency, severity and location of natural disasters," said Mike Consedine, NAIC Chief Executive Officer. "According to our survey, most consumers aren't connecting the dots between these shifts and the impact on their home insurance needs. Missing these links can be costly."

Generational differences


NAIC's survey also shed light on generational differences to approaching home insurance. Millennials (19 percent) are significantly more likely than Gen Xers (10 percent) and baby boomers (8 percent) to consider changing weather patterns when reviewing their homeowners insurance.

Compared to Gen Xers and baby boomers, millennials are more likely to have reviewed or updated their insurance policy within the last five years. Millennials also are more likely to have a home inventory and to have reviewed or revised it within the last five years.

Re-evaluate risk annually


Consumers should re-evaluate their risk profile at least once a year to ensure their homeowners policy provides the protection they need. Questions to consider include:

  • Am I now at risk? Are earthquakes, wildfires or other disasters now a threat? Do I need a flood insurance policy?
  • What has changed in my home? Did the number of people (and belongings) increase or decrease? Have I made any major purchases?
  • Have I updated my home with a kitchen renovation, new security system or other improvements?
  • Should I be looking at different coverage? Can I save money by bundling my home and auto insurance?

New Disaster Prep Guides from Insure U can help consumers determine the best course of action before, during and after a disaster strikes. The free guides include information and tips for tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires.

Related: 15 surprising consumer actions & beliefs related to homeowners' insurance

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