In a recent Forbes Advisor publication, a list of the most disaster-prone counties in the United States was released. This list was compiled based on several factors, including the city’s history of natural disasters, its proximity to fault lines and other hazards, as well as its population density, using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).
According to this list, the top 10 most disaster-prone counties in the United States are:
- Los Angels County, California
- East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana*
- Orleans Parish, Louisiana*
- Riverside County, California
- Jefferson Parish, Louisiana*
- Washoe County, Nevada
- Sonoma County, California
- Charleston, South Carolina*
- Duval County, Florida
- Ventura County, California
*Disaster Smart Service Areas
These counties are all at risk for a variety of natural disasters, including hurricanes, fires, floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes. In fact, many of these cities have already experienced devastating disasters in recent years. For example, Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $160 billion in damage in Orleans Parish in 2005 and according to Forbes between January 2013 – January 2023 “88.5% of all U.S. counties declared a natural disaster, including 95% of the 200 most populated counties.”
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) has developed a set of standards for building homes that are more resistant to natural disasters. These standards are known as the Fortified Home Program. Homes that meet the Fortified Home Program standards are up to 90% less likely to be damaged in the face of a natural disaster.
There are numerous benefits to building homes to the Fortified™ Home Program standards. The most important of which is that they can help to save lives. However, they can also protect homeowners from financial losses caused by natural disasters, as well as helping to reduce the impact of natural disasters on communities.
The IBHS estimates that if all new homes in the United States were built to the Fortified™ Home Program standards, it would save an estimated $100 billion in property damage each year. It would also save an estimated 1,000 lives each year.
The Forbes list of the most disaster-prone counties in the United States is a reminder that natural disasters can happen anywhere. By building homes to the Fortified Home Program standards, homeowners can help to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from the devastating effects of natural disasters.
Additional benefits of building homes to the Fortified™ Home Program standards include:
- Increased property value: Homes that meet the Fortified™ Home Program standards are often worth more than homes that do not meet the standards. This is because buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes that are more resistant to natural disasters.
- Reduced insurance premiums: Homeowners who build their homes to the Fortified™ Home Program standards may be eligible for reduced insurance premiums, as insurance companies are less likely to have to pay out claims for homes that are built to the standards.
- Increased peace of mind: Homeowners who build their homes to the Fortified Home Program standards can rest assured knowing that their homes are more likely to withstand a natural disaster. This can provide peace of mind and reduce stress levels.
If you are considering building a new home or remodeling an existing home, we encourage you to consider the Fortified™ Program standards. By building your home to these standards, you can help to protect your most valuable assets as well as your community from the devastation of a natural catastrophe.