Only Some Americans Are Financially Prepared for Natural Disasters

By Alex Padalka June 12, 2020

Most Americans believe a natural disaster will affect them personally in the near future, but the majority are not prepared for one financially, according to a recent survey.

Six in 10 Americans believe it’s likely they’ll be impacted by a natural disaster in the next three to five years, and 19% believe it’s very likely, the American Institute of CPAs found. And while close to three in four Americans have taken at least one step to prepare for such an event, only 15% have set up a plan to protect their finances, AICPA found in a survey of 2,050 U.S. adults conducted in the fall of 2019. 

Close to four in 10 respondents say they don’t have a clear idea of how much it would cost them to recover from a natural disaster, even though 71% believe such an event would have a major or moderate impact on their finances, according to the survey. 

Meanwhile, 2019 was the fifth year in a row the U.S. was hit with at least 10 weather and climate disasters costing a billion dollars or more in associated losses, AICPA says, citing data from the Office for Coastal Management. 

AICPA suggests several steps to prepare financially for a natural disaster, particularly in light of the disruptions caused by Covid-19. This includes investigating alternatives to obtain cash in case a bank branch is closed, as well as looking into mobile banking; reviewing insurance coverage and how to contact insurance agents who may be working remotely; reviewing disability coverage or the ability to tap a 401(k) or a similar plan for funds or loans; and reviewing wills and powers of attorney, according to the report. 

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