What Natural Disasters Cause the Most Damage to Homes

Depending on where you live, your home is susceptible to one type of natural disaster or another. Some disasters, like a wildfire or tornado, can completely destroy your home, while others, like a flood, can cause you a lot of headaches with repairs. According to a CoreLogic study, one in every ten homes gets damaged by a natural disaster every year, so always be on the lookout when the news reports an impending natural disaster in your area.

How Much Damage Do Natural Disasters Cause to Homes?

In 2021, there were 20 weather events that each caused at least a billion dollars worth of damage to homes in the United States. Every year, the number seems to be going up. Since 1980 there has been around $2.1 trillion in damages from natural disasters. These are the natural disasters that caused the most damage and how you can prepare your seller for them as an agent. 

1. Highly Damaging Tropical Cyclones

Since 1980, tropical cyclones by far have caused the most home damage, coming in at over $1.1 trillion. Hurricanes bring high winds along with potential flooding that can hit homes at the same time. These damages occurred primarily across the Southeastern United States including Florida, Louisana, and Texas. The peak season for hurricanes is from late July into early October. 

As an agent, you should know a few things when trying to sell during hurricane season. Talk to your client about hurricane proofing their home by adding permanent shutters or impact-resistant glass to minimize potential damage. It even adds value to the home.

2. Severe Storms like Tornadoes

Severe storms came in second in total damages since 1980, with $330 billion in damages. These storms are most likely to occur in the spring and summer and consist of tornadoes, hail, and high winds. Tornadoes and the potential 100-300 mph winds they bring can devastate an area. Winds can rip houses from their foundations and any debris can act like a missile, causing major structural damage. 

One way you can help your client make their home more attractive in tornado-prone areas is to trim any trees that are within falling distance of the home.

3. Drought/Wildfire in the West

Wildfires and droughts have caused $120 billion worth of damage in the last 30 years. The size and amount of fires in the Western United States continue to grow every year as the droughts that cause them last longer and longer. The states with the largest areas devastated by fires are California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. If firefighters can't contain these fires, they can wipe out entire communities within minutes. Not only do fires affect houses, but droughts can cause foundations to crack, shift, or sink, making for costly repairs.

Be sure the home you are working with meets the latest fire code in states like California. The current landscaping may need altering to create a defensible space of 100 feet around the home.

4. Flooding

Flooding caused $164 billion in damages across the country since 1980. While flooding can happen due to severe storms and hurricanes, the worst times for it occur in the spring when areas get large amounts of water from snowmelt and rain at the same time. Areas like the Mississippi and Missouri River basins are the most flood-prone areas in the country. 

To prepare a buyer looking at houses in a flood plain, do your research and see if the potential house is in a high or low flood risk area. Make sure they get flood insurance as well to protect their investment.

5. Cold Winter Storms 

While winter storms have caused the least amount of damage since 1980, with $78 billion, the damage is still felt throughout the areas they affect. Typically, heavy snow can cause damage to gutters or roof collapse in severe cases, while freezing temperatures may cause pipes to burst. Winter storms cause the most damage when they hit warmer climate areas that aren't expecting them. These homes weren't built to withstand the stress of the cold and snow, causing potentially severe damage. Natural disasters like winter storms affect the value of homes across the country.

There are a few things you can do to make a house more capable of standing up to cold winter storms. Use spray-in insulation in the attic and walls to help retain heat. You can also insulate water pipes with pipe wrap to prevent them from freezing. Outside of the house, you can prune any trees that may potentially fall towards the house during heavy snow or ice storms.

Avoid Natural Disaster Seasons when Selling Houses

When it is time to sell a house, avoid selling during any season in which a natural disaster is likely to take place. Selling during this time period can affect the home price if it gets damaged, and it also affects the title insurance. Learn the best time of year to sell a house and more when you sign up for a continuing education course through AceableAgent.com.

Need to Renew Your Real Estate License? Begin your Continuing Education Course today!

Get Started Now!

Want to know more about being a real estate agent?