Flood Risk and Sea Level Rise in South Bay, San Francisco, California. The pink and red areas of this map show areas of the South Bay that are vulnerable to sea level rise. The pink zone shows a 16-inch rise; the red zone shows those areas within a 55-inch rise. As shown, the offices of numerous Silicon Valley firms lie within or near these zones. The purple indicates those areas vulnerable to a 100-year flood, or a flood that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. Map produced by GreenInfo Network. Data from Knowles 2008, Seigel and Bachand 2002, FEMA, and California GAP 2009. Graphic: South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study

By Geoff Williams
14 April 2017

(US News and World Report) – Tornadoes have been striking the country at a record rate this year so far, according to numbers released from the U.S. Storm Prediction Center (536 tornadoes in 2017, based on preliminary data at the time of this writing). Meanwhile, in many parts of the country, severe storms have been passing through almost with the regularity of an assembly line, blamed by record temperatures at the water's surface in the Gulf of Mexico. Further, 2016 was the warmest year for the planet on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

All of this undoubtedly would make any homeowner wonder: As heat, tornadoes, and storms continue to break records, will the extreme weather eventually break my home insurance policy?

Probably not. But as the years go on, when it comes to your homeowners insurance coverage, there will be changes.

You may end up factoring in climate change before you buy a home. It depends where you're looking for a house, of course, and this is already happening. Real estate agents and companies have been furnishing data that suggests home sales in flood-prone areas have been growing at a slower rate than in counties that don't have a reputation for flooding. For instance, last year, ATTOM Data Solutions, a source for comprehensive housing data, released its annual U.S. Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index, which found that home sales had fallen below the national average in counties with the highest risk of earthquakes, hurricane storm surge, wildfires and floods, while counties with the lowest risk for those natural hazards have seen home sales volumes increase faster than the national average.

People are going to be thinking about natural disasters and their homes more frequently than they used to, says Donna Childs, who owns Prisere LLC, a Warwick, Rhode Island-based company that consults businesses on disaster prevention and specializes in helping companies come up with solutions for reducing their risk to the negative consequences of climate change.

According to Childs, in the past your pre-purchase due diligence "involved a home inspection and consideration of the neighborhood with regard to such issues as the quality of the local school system," she says. "Now … you must consider the extent to which the community is at risk from rising water levels and other threats." [more]

How Climate Change Will Impact Homeowners Insurance

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