How Climate Change Can Impact Home Owners
Climate change is real and it has serious impacts on homeowners. In 2017 alone there were 16 separate billion-dollar climate-related disasters in the U.S. That's billion with a "b". Sixteen times.
Here's how climate change can impact your home.
Living on the coast has always meant you were at risk during hurricane season. But in recent years, the average number of coastal flood events has been increasing, causing even more damage to homeowners.
Coastal cities aren't just worrying about flooding during storms either. Cities like Annapolis, MD, and Charleston, SC are seeing more frequent floods during high tides and both cities are already working to reduce those effects with new building guidelines.
The wildfire that leveled Paradise, CA is certainly one of the biggest in recent headlines, but it's definitely not the only one. Yes, the West has always dealt with wildfires as part of the natural seasonal change, but climate change has created drier conditions, making the fires more frequent and more dangerous.
There have been guidelines on how to build in fire-prone areas for decades. But as wildfires are becoming more prevalent, people are calling for more strict building guidelines or even banning building in fire-prone areas.
Climate change means you can expect already hot cities to get hotter. Really hot. Like, why would anyone go outside in this heat, hot. Like you can bake cookies in your car and it's too hot for airplanes to fly, hot.
For homeowners, there are obvious quality of life issues with not being able to comfortably go outside. But you also have to consider your cooling bills and any damage to construction that might be caused by the extreme temperatures.
Not even coastal homeowners are safe from the heat. Just this year, a bridge to a popular beach in South Carolina was closed Memorial Day weekend due to extreme heat. So, if you're an Airbnb host, you can expect some angry emails from guests who couldn't even make it to your house.
Heat's best friend, drought, has always been an issue in the west, but it's really been ramping up in recent years. In the west, where water usage was already a hot issue, growing cities are even more at odds with other water users like farmers and ranchers. States in the Colorado River basin have recently begun taking bigger steps to protect the states from ongoing drought.
So what does that mean for homeowners? The least of your worries is that you're probably not going to be able to have a lush, green lawn. The most severe worry is that there is a legitimate concern that some cities may run out of water in the not so distant future.
Even if your home stays relatively unscathed from climate change effects, you can expect increasingly higher insurance premiums. That's because unpredictable weather leads to uncertainty and uncertainty is risky for insurance companies. That's especially true for areas that are often affected by natural disasters, which can make it prohibitively expensive to get insurance.