In a world where danger lies around every corner, insurance is a must-have. While the first thing that may come to mind when you hear the word ’insurance’ is for your health or car, there’s one type of insurance that is increasingly important—and increasingly expensive—house insurance. As climate change worsens, so do climate disasters like flooding, wildfires, and extreme storms. These disasters do more than risk lives and property in the moments of impact—they leave Americans stranded and uninsured. The risk of losing insurance should not be ignored; rising insurance rates or lack of insurance can lower property values and destroy the little funds that many poorer Americans have. When Americans are forced to choose between house and health insurance, many will choose their health. When disaster inevitably strikes, they and their home are doomed.
Why does the increase in climate-related disasters pose such a threat to house insurance? Insurance companies are completely removing certain areas of coverage, like those in California that face yearly wildfires or coastal properties that deal with extreme flooding, since they’ve become such a risk for insurers. In areas where insurance companies remain, many customers have seen increases in policy prices anywhere between 60% and 80%, something that can be destructive for lower-income Americans. These higher rates not only affect customers’ current bills but can make it nearly impossible to sell and rid themselves of their unfortunate positions.
As climate change worsens and our leaders stand aside and let it happen, losing house insurance may become a reality for many Americans. Will lawmakers finally listen when their constituents lose their homes and lives? I doubt it.