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Weather Patterns in the U.S. and Our Resulting Risk

America just might be the only country in the world that faces catastrophic risks from tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, volcanoes, wildfires, and tsunamis. Our unique span of geography and terrain makes us susceptible to these natural disasters in different regions of the country. As a result, writing insurance in this county is also unique compared to the rest of the world. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.

Tornadoes, Hurricanes, and Windstorms
The region of our country between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains provides an “open space” that makes us more likely to experience more and larger tornadoes. In fact, the NOAA reports that the U.S. averages 1,200 tornadoes a year, more than four times the amount seen in all of Europe annually.

Similarly, the Atlantic Ocean produces hurricanes that impact the U.S. and Caribbean more than other regions of the world. This is due to conditions ranging from water temperature to distance from the Equator. An average of 10 tropical storms per year form in the Atlantic, with an average of six of those becoming hurricanes. If they strike our coast, the damages have an average total of almost $23 billion per event.1

Perhaps unsurprisingly, according to the Insurance Information Institute, U.S. homeowners file more claims for wind damage than any other type of loss.

Everyone is in a flood zone. No matter your elevation, torrential rain can cause flooding. First Street Foundation data shows that 20.8 million U.S. properties with an 80% or better chance of flooding by 2053, but only 4.7 million have flood insurance.

Nearly 75% of the U.S. has at least some risk for damaging earthquake shaking.2 We know of the more obvious locations, but only Minnesota and North Dakota can say that their states face a less than 5% risk of an earthquake statewide. And yet despite the potential for these impacts, only 11% of Americans carry earthquake insurance.

Other Natural Disasters
You may not live in an area where tsunamis, volcanoes, or wildfires are likely to occur. However, there are not many Americans who do not live in a region where these might occur. Very few states have low wildfire risk, there are 165 volcanoes in the U.S., and a tsunami even struck California recently.

Wherever you live, risks of extreme weather and natural disasters can impact you. Talk with your agent about the coverage options you have as you weigh the risks for your area.



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