Life Insurance

Revealed – what could save $1.6 billion in annual property damage?

“While one of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard properties against natural disasters is to adopt and follow hazard-resistant building codes, almost two-thirds of the country hasn’t adopted them,” said Divya Sangameshwar, home insurance expert at ValuePenguin. “At the same time, natural disasters are becoming increasingly common and more destructive due to climate change.”

The study found that adopting building codes established in 2015 or later could prevent $1.6 billion in annual losses from flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes. That’s about $129 per analyzed building across the US. Of the $1.6 billion in potential losses, about $1.1 billion would affect one- and two-family homes, the study found.

By event type, most losses could be prevented by meeting hurricane-resistant building codes, the study found. Of the $1.6 billion in potential annual losses, about $1.1 billion comes from potential hurricane wind damage. Meeting flood damage building codes could prevent $483.6 million in annual losses, while meeting seismic building codes could prevent $59.9 million in potential losses.

Read next: Reinsurers shift away from property catastrophe risks

Overall, Wisconsin could prevent the most losses per building, according to the report. By adopting the latest building codes, properties in Wisconsin could prevent $2,416 in potential annual disaster-related losses per analyzed building. Indiana ranked second, with average avoided losses of $1.704 per building, followed by Arizona, with potential avoided losses of $1.543 per building.

Properties in the District of Columbia could prevent $2,499 per building in flood losses – the most of any state affected by flooding. Florida could prevent the most wind losses at $514 per building, while Hawaii could prevent the most earthquake losses at $56 per building.

New Hampshire and Vermont would save the least money by adopting the latest building codes, the study found. They were the only two states where potential avoided losses were below $1 per building. In New Hampshire, adopting modern building codes would save just 12 cents in annual losses per building. In Vermont, adopting modern building codes would save only 78 cents per building.


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