How to Protect Your Home from Climate Change

This summer, the United States bore witness to the far-reaching consequences of climate change, from the drifting smoke of Canadian wildfires to flash floods in the Northeast and scorching temperatures gripping the South.

Beyond the immediate physical dangers, the financial implications for homeowners are becoming increasingly apparent. As extreme weather events escalate, the cost of home insurance rises, creating a ripple effect that touches the very core of our households. For example, from May 2022 to May 2023, some home insurance policy premiums rose by an average of 21% at renewal, largely due to climate change.

Generally speaking, the more natural disasters we experience, the more insurance companies have to pay out in claims, which means those costs get passed onto consumers. But you can take a proactive approach to making sure your assets are properly insured! As natural disasters and unpredictable weather become more frequent and severe, it’s imperative to be armed with knowledge and strategies to protect what matters most—your home, your family, and your financial stability. We’re here to help you do just that

Evaluate Your Risk

So, where do you start?

The first step is to contact a local insurance expert to get an assessment of your home or business. These professionals can conduct a survey to quantify your specific risk factors and customize home insurance or small business insurance solutions to your needs.

For the big picture on what kinds of weather-related issues you could face, check out the National Risk Index from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This handy interactive map can show you the likelihood of hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, coastal flooding and more for your area.

If you’re curious about your home’s individual risk (because who isn’t?), give a try. This nifty tool from the nonprofit First Street Foundation lets you plug in your address to get a sneak peek into your home’s chances of facing flooding, wildfires, strong winds, or extreme heat over the next 30 years.

You can also start assessing your home or business on your own by asking yourself questions like:

  • How old is my roof?
  • Has my home ever faced off with a disaster?
  • Is it in or near a flood zone?
  • Is my area at risk for wildfires?

Purchase the Right Homeowners or Business Insurance

Having the right coverage for your home or business is another area where a local insurance provider can help you protect your assets.

Once you’ve evaluated your risks and spoken to your insurance company, you can review your insurance coverage and make sure it’s aligned to the specific disasters that might come knocking on your door.

It’s important to note that not all policies cover the same things. Fire and wind damage might be covered, but if external flooding is a potential threat from heavy rain or overflowing rivers, you might need to invest in separate flood insurance for an extra layer of protection.

Now, let’s talk about coverage limits. If a natural disaster strikes and your home costs $300,000 to rebuild, but your policy only covers $250,000, guess who’s footing the extra $50,000 bill? Yep, you. That’s why choosing the right coverage limits is crucial.

Don’t just pick a number out of thin air; it should be based on the reconstruction price of your home. You may need to consult a licensed contractor to get an accurate estimate. Ask them, “If I have to rebuild my house, what am I looking at?” That way, you’ll have an idea of what kind of coverage you need.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to ask your insurer about personal property coverage for your furniture and gadgets. Take an inventory of your valuables, review your coverage limits, and make sure they’re keeping up with inflation. If you’ve added a swanky new kitchen or a cozy addition, your coverage needs an upgrade too.

In a nutshell, understanding your insurance policy might seem complex, but taking the time to understand and assess your needs will pay off in the long run.

Be Proactive!

The right kind of insurance for your home or business is a great step to take to protect your investments and your livelihood.

But there are things that you can do on your own to help ensure you’re protected – and you may even earn a discount on your homeowners or business insurance policy.

Once you’ve assessed your risk, you can help strengthen your house against the three common causes of insurance claims: flooding, wildfires, and wind.


One of the best ways to protect your home or business against flooding is to elevate it. But most people probably can’t afford that kind of expense. So, to minimize damage in the event of a flood, you can:

  • Raise appliances like water heaters, heating and cooling systems, and electrical panels to higher levels.
  • Refrain from placing valuable items on the lowest floor of your home.
  • Maintain clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Set up a sump pump or another drainage system in your basement.
  • Utilize landscaping to redirect water away from your home.
  • Install sewer backfill valves to prevent floodwater from entering your home through drainpipes.
  • Secure fuel tanks to a concrete slab to prevent them from being carried away.
  • Incorporate flood vents to enable water to pass through your basement without compromising the building’s structure.


When people think of wildfires, they often think of walls of flame engulfing everything in their path.

While this does happen, as we’ve seen in the sprawling wildfires in California and Canada, the reality is that many homes actually catch fire from hot embers flying through the air well ahead of the fire.

Embers can land on roofs, dry leaves, wood, and other combustible materials and ignite even more fires, which can destroy your home or business.

To reduce this risk, consider looking at your home and determining which areas might be prone to this type of risk. Consider your roof. Is it covered with leaves? Have dry pine needles built up in your gutters? Consider these and other solutions such as:

  • Switch out flammable exterior materials for safer alternatives, such as metal window frames, stucco walls, and multi-pane windows.
  • Plan your landscaping to establish a defensible space around your home. This involves selecting fire-resistant plants, reducing the use of mulch, maintaining well-mowed lawns, and clearing debris away from your home or business.
  • Integrate fire sprinklers into your property.
  • Shield vents, chimneys, and soffits with fine metal mesh to prevent embers from entering.
  • Close gaps in exterior walls using fire-resistant caulk or foam.


Now let’s talk wind, specifically the kind that comes with a vengeance during hurricanes, Nor’easters, or other wild weather. Your roof is key in protecting your home or business from these unpredictable weather events, so when it’s time for a roof upgrade, why not go above and beyond?

Don’t just settle for a roof that meets the standard code; aim for something better. Why?

Well, losing your roof in a natural disaster often means losing your whole home or business. Scary thought, right?

So, what’s the secret weapon for a roof that stands strong against the wind’s fury?

When it comes time to replace your roof, contact a professional who can install weather-resistant materials such as metal or slate roofs. Speak to them about hurricanes, snow and ice, wildfires, and more so that they understand your needs.

Now, to double down on your home’s wind resistance, here are some extra tips:

  • Invest in a garage door that’s wind and impact rated.
  • Consider hurricane shutters or impact-resistant windows for an added layer of protection.
  • Ensure your porch and carport roofs are securely anchored.
  • Seal the deal with bracing soffits in the areas where they’re inserted.
  • Trim those trees and secure outdoor furniture to minimize potential projectiles.
  • Give your roof an extra layer of security with hurricane clips or straps.

After all, a stronger roof means a safer and more secure haven for you and your loved ones.

In the face of escalating climate change, safeguarding your home is not just a matter of protection—it’s a financial necessity. As extreme weather events surge, so do home insurance premiums, placing the onus on homeowners to fortify their assets intelligently.

By assessing your risk factors, obtaining the right insurance coverage, and taking proactive measures, you can significantly enhance your home’s resilience. Choosing the right coverage limits and understanding the intricacies of your policy are crucial steps in this process.

Remember, the financial repercussions of underestimating the threat posed by climate change are significant. By taking these steps, you not only enhance your home’s safety but also contribute to minimizing the economic fallout from increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters.

Taking steps to make your home more resilient can often earn you discounts on home insurance. Even more importantly, it may help you avoid serious damage and pricey claims if disaster strikes.

Are you concerned about climate change affecting your home or business?

Our agents are ready to help you out, so contact us to learn how we can customize your homeowners insurance policies to meet your needs.

*Disclaimer: We offer content for informational purposes; Co-operative Insurance Companies may not provide all the services or products listed here. Please contact your local agent to learn how we can help with your insurance needs.


CNBC. Will climate change make your homeowners insurance unaffordable? Here’s what you need to know.

Flash. Buyer’s Guide to Resilient Homes.

FEMA. National Risk Index.

Forbes. How You Can Protect Your Home From Climate Change.

Nerd Wallet. How Climate Change Could Make Your Home Harder to Insure.

Nerd Wallet. 3 Ways to Protect Your Home From Climate Change. What Will Climate Change Cost You?

Pickard Roofing Company, Inc. Best Roofing Materials for Severe Weather Conditions.

Policy Genius. Home insurance prices up 21% as homeowners are left to deal with climate change, turbulent market.

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