Escalating insurance industry crises have drawn national attention to the Ten Across states of Louisiana, Florida, and California, as providers have withdrawn homeowners insurance business in response to the accumulation of overbalanced risks and forecasts of increasingly volatile climate conditions.  In a recent report, Riskiest Cities for Homeownership 2024, the consumer advocacy group ClaimGuide ranked the 170 largest cities throughout the U.S. according to the insurance-based risk factors faced by their homeowners.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FBI crime reports, among other sources, ClaimGuide considered climate-related factors as well as property crime, median age of homes, vacancy rates, and accessibility to emergency services. The report also includes a nationwide survey of individuals on their preparedness for and direct experience of such risks.

Key findings revealed:

  • Houston is ranked as the #1 riskiest city for homeownership due to properties’ high exposures to heat, flood, and property crime. The report identifies 98% of homes in the Houston area as at risk of severe heat, and 64% of homes at risk of flooding within the next three decades. 
  • The top ten riskiest cities for homeownership are all located in coastal California, Florida, Texas, and Louisiana. Broadening to the top 20 adds only Alabama to the latter four states, with Mobile ranked eleventh.
  • While exposure to flood, fire, and a history of natural disaster vary between the cities according to geography, 18 of the 20 riskiest cities in this ranking rate a heat risk of 95-100%. 100% of properties in San Bernardino, California are identified as at risk of extreme heat, and 91% in zones affected by wildfires.
  • One in three Americans are prepared to move to change their sense of safety, with 35% of respondents saying they’re considering a move that would reduce their overall risk of climate-driven disasters.
  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents say they don’t feel fully prepared to deal with a weather-related event.

Risk to residential property is only one of the ways to assess the livability and resilience needs of U.S. cities. However, as discussed at the Ten Across Los Angeles Summit during the “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once: Is the Future Insurable and Can California Lead the Way?” panel session, risk industry perspectives can contribute a bottom-line clarity to discussions of issues that may otherwise seem subjective or politically charged.

Additional articles citing Claimguide’s Report findings:

ClaimGuide: Riskiest Cities for Homeownership 2024

Los Angeles Times: You think L.A. is risky? Try Houston. Or San Bernardino

Houston Public Media: Houston is the riskiest city in the U.S. to own a home, report says

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