I’m not sure if it’s age or if I’m growing numb to the ever-depressing headlines of today’s news, but the Weather Channel fascinates me. A 24/7 channel of weather forecasts and predictions while spotlighting inclement weather and natural disasters. The naming of hurricanes and tropical storms along with the cause/effect study of inclement weather sometimes has me rethinking my career path and regretting not being a protege for Jim Cantore.
Recent flooding, wildfire, and sea-level rise events have many Americans fearing natural disasters. Climate change has made the chances of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, rain and droughts, more frequent and severe. As a result of these changes, unprepared properties and communities are losing value. Sixty-three percent of people who have moved since the pandemic began say they believe climate change is—or will be—an issue in the place they currently live. As such, homeowners are concerned that climate change could influence their housing preferences, like increasing flood insurance rates for at-risk properties.
Climate change isn’t the only factor for people deciding where to live. Affordability will also loom large as the biggest constraint, and more affordable housing that is resilient to climate change or is located in areas naturally resilient to climate change will need to be built. West Virginia tends to be pretty fortunate in terms of being victims of natural disasters. The terrain and topography protect us from destructive southeast hurricanes and runaway tornadoes that tear through the midwest and the plains. Flooding is one of the most common disasters in West Virginia. Even only two inches of rain can cause significant damage in low lying areas.
Flood insurance covers losses directly caused by flooding. In simple terms, a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties.
Water damage caused by flooding is not covered by homeowners or renters policies because it is considered a gradual event rather than sudden or accidental. As a rule of thumb, if the water first touches the ground before entering your home, it is considered flood damage. You can check if you’re located in or near a flood zone at FEMA.gov.
Preferred risk flood insurance policies start as low as $129 per year. The average standard flood insurance policy costs around $600 a year for an average of $100,000 of coverage.
The optimist and Weather Channel enthusiast in me also considers what the additional rainfall does for outdoor activities. As the West continues to dry and the East is getting ‘wetter’, West Virginia could soon become the nation’s capital of white water rafting and other outdoor activities. Additionally warmer climates could ease the strain on energy consumption and could allow historically frozen regions to harvest crops. Maya Angelou is quoted saying, ‘If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude”. Like it or not, climate change is real and it is here. And if you don’t agree, tune in with me to the Weather Channel.
Until next week, love where you live. And if you don’t…contact your local REALTOR®.
Brian Haufe, 2022 MBOR President