UPDATED: FEBRUARY 15, 2023 | 1 MIN READ
Natural disasters and extreme weather are the most common reason for home insurance claims, no matter where you live. Wind and hail alone historically account for nearly half of home insurance claims every year. As climate change becomes an increasingly immediate concern, this is likely to worsen in the coming years.
Different natural hazards will plague different locations. That said, it’s good to cover your bases and ensure you are prepared for the coming year. To help give you an idea of what to expect, here are some vital natural disaster statistics in 2022.
By the Numbers
Though nature can spread catastrophe in many different ways, most can be boiled down into specific categories. Generally, these categories include storms, earthquakes, and wildfires
Hurricanes, Droughts, and Severe/Tropical Storms
Far and beyond, the most common natural disasters are related to storms. Floods, droughts, and severe thunderstorms account for 80-90% of global disasters in the last decade. As a result, most sub-categories of natural disturbances (wind, hail, flooding, tornadoes, etc.) can also be tied to the side effects of severe thunderstorms.
Many of the more severe instances of these disasters were also deadly. Hurricanes, flooding, drought, and winter storms claimed thousands of lives in 2022. It’s important to note also that droughts can lead to wildfires, which will be explored later.
To give you an idea of how frequently these natural disasters occur, here are the 2022 statistics for these occurrences in the U.S.
|Natural Disaster||2022 Occurrences|
|Tropical Storms/Cyclones and Hurricanes (named)||88 events (40 tropical cyclones, 17 major tropical cyclones)|
|Severe Winter Storms (named)||26|
|Droughts||2.3 billion people faced water stress|
Another common natural disaster that impacts many different parts of the country and the world is earthquakes. In the United States, the majority of earthquakes occur in California since it borders the Pacific Ocean and thus the “Ring of Fire,” which is categorized by volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.
In total, there were 15,438 earthquakes globally in 2022 (over 4,000 of which were in California). Of these, 11 fell into the 7.0-7.9 magnitude category, which makes them major events.
Finally, arid climates and wooded areas can be notoriously prone to wildfires. This is another common natural disaster for residents of California. These statistics understandably spike during hotter summer months and heat waves. They have also worsened in recent years overall due to the effects of climate change and global warming. This means that residents should not only invest in earthquake protection home insurance policies but wildfire insurance as well.
Specifically, the 2022 wildfire season in California was brutal. California saw 7,641 recorded wildfires by the end of the year, with 363,917 acres burned across the state. Other states that commonly see wildfires include Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Colorado.
Notable Impacts of Natural Disasters
The cost of natural disasters in the United States adds up. Even more mild occurrences can incur serious financial hardship for the affected areas. The more catastrophic events are often responsible for significant loss of life.
Natural disasters wreak havoc on roads and infrastructure, leading to millions in economic losses each year. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the United States has sustained 338 severe weather and climate disasters costing over $1 billion since 1980. These costliest events add up to a total cost of $2.3 trillion.
Disaster losses add up fast. In 2022, the United States incurred a total of $165 billion in damages from natural disasters. This is dramatically higher than the average cost of $57.6 by the end of a year and slightly higher than the $155.3 billion in damages incurred in 2021. These costs are broken down by disaster type below.
|Tropical Cyclones||$116.4 Billion|
|Severe Storms||$21.8 Billion|
Evacuations and the destruction of homes lead to many displaced individuals and families. This not only worsens the financial hardship of the individual as they are forced to seek alternative accommodations, but the overall economy as large portions of the workforce are left displaced.
3.3 million U.S. adults were displaced by natural disasters in the past year. That accounts for 1.3% of the adult population. More than half of these relocations were the result of hurricanes.
Loss of Life
Finally, the most tragic natural disasters are deadly. While financial hardships and displacements are devastating, there is nothing that can remedy or replace the loss of life.
Of the 18 notable events in the United States in 2022, there were a total of 474 fatalities. This adds to a total of 1,751 deaths in the last five years, making it above the overall average of 350.
It’s important to note that these are the statistics of a first-world country with access to medical and emergency resources in the event of a disaster. Less wealthy countries regularly see thousands of deaths yearly from natural disasters—a 2022 flood season in Pakistan killed over 1,700 people alone in 2022.
Nature is completely out of our control, including devastating natural disasters. That said, there are ways to better prepare yourself and your home in the case of catastrophe.
The natural disasters likely to threaten you and your home may vary depending on where you live. For instance, people living in Florida will be more prone to hurricanes, while people in California will be more prone to experiencing earthquakes. Knowing the weather patterns of your location are an important first step when you are finding the right preparedness and home insurance policy.
Hurricanes and Severe Storms
Coastal U.S. cities—especially ones boarding the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico—are intimately familiar with tropical storms and hurricanes. Even smaller tropical storms can incur damage to roads and property, so they are always to be taken seriously.
Wind and rain are the main components of these disasters, and they are both common and costly. The Insurance Information Institute reports that roughly a third of home insurance claims result from wind, rain, and hail damage. As a result, you will likely want to purchase an additional home insurance policy specifically for wind and hail if you live in a regularly affected area.
Fortunately, these are natural disasters that often come with a degree of warning. It is important to stay vigilant and prepared during hurricane season so that you have the proper supplies in the event of an approaching storm. This can include shutters on your windows, sufficient water and supplies, securing or removing outdoor furniture, and investing in generators.
Fire and Lightning
Home insurance claims surrounding fire and lightning damage account for roughly 23.8% of total claims. While this may not seem like a massive percentage, they are also the most expensive claims, averaging around $77,340 per claim.
This kind of damage is precisely why it’s important to have full insurance coverage for your home. While it may be frustrating to pay a monthly premium during uneventful stretches of time for your home, filing an insurance claim for lightning damage or a bad fire can serve as a sobering reminder of how expensive home damage can really be.
Outside of proper insurance coverage, it can be hard to prepare for fires or lightning. Since these damages are caused either by forces of nature out of your control or pure accidents, they typically catch homeowners off guard. The best way to stay prepared is to rely heavily on fire-retardant materials where possible and to remain vigilant with candles, electrical appliances, and approaching storms.
Finally, if you live in a part of the country that’s susceptible to earthquakes, it’s important to know the risks they pose to your home. If you live in an at-risk state like California—which experiences around 90% of the country’s earthquakes—you have a much higher chance of significant, expensive damage. This could possibly even include the complete destruction of your home.
Home insurance policies do offer coverage for damage by earthquakes that can save you from financial ruin. That said, many insurance companies offer this coverage separately, so it’s important to make sure you are covered by whichever policy you choose. Even small earthquakes can cause worrying damage to the foundations and integrity of your home.
The cost of insurance premiums for earthquake insurance will vary depending on the value of your home. In California, these numbers typically range from around annual premiums of $438 for a $250,000 home to over $1,750 for a $1,000,000 home.
In terms of keeping your house safe from earthquake damage, to begin with, it can be difficult to predict specific earthquakes before they strike. As a result, it’s important to have an earthquake-conscious home if you live in an area that’s susceptible. By avoiding damage in the first place, you can avoid potential out-of-pocket costs or raised premiums that result from making a claim.
Which country has the most natural disasters in 2022?
According to the World Risk Report at Harvard University, the Phillippines, India, and Indonesia had the highest risk in 2022.
Which are the deadliest natural disasters in 2022?
- Floods killed 182 people in Afghanistan, 192 people in India, 233 people in Brazil, 461 people in South Africa, 612 people in Nigeria, and at least 1,739 people in Pakistan.
- Droughts killed over 200 people in Africa.
- Tropical Storm Megi killed at least 214 people in the Philippines.
- A 5.6 earthquake killed 334 people in Indonesia, and a 5.9 earthquake killed 1,036 people in Afghanistan.
What is the difference between natural disasters and natural catastrophes?
A natural disaster refers to a naturally occurring weather event impacting a large and heavily populated geographical area. Natural disasters typically cause a significant amount of property and infrastructure damage.
A natural catastrophe refers to when inadequate forecasts and predictions lead to a lack of communication and failure to evacuate residents. These are often associated with unforeseen tragedies in the form of fatalities and severe property damage due to the lack of preparation.
What percentage of natural disasters are weather-related?
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction reports that over 90% of natural disasters are weather-related.
How many people died from natural disasters in 2022 in the U.S.?
According to the National Center for Environmental Information, the recorded death toll from natural disasters in 2022 is 342 people.
Be prepared for natural disasters
There is nothing you can do about the reality of natural disasters, but you can plan ahead to keep your home as safe as possible. By staying informed and taking the necessary precautions against upcoming disasters in your area, you will often be able to avoid worst-case-scenario damage.
Part of being prepared is knowing that not everything is in your control. Having the best home insurance policy for your unique circumstances will help to cover the gaps when disaster does strike. That said, the insurance industry can be difficult to navigate. Compare rates today to make sure you are getting the best possible coverage for natural disasters.