How climate change could cause a home insurance meltdown

Climate change is causing insurance companies to abandon homeowners in high-risk areas, posing challenges for homeowners and the housing market at large.

Main issues: Big insurers such as Allstate and State Farm are reducing their coverage or stopping new policies sales in areas frequently hit by wildfires and hurricanes, in reaction to the climate change impacts.
* Beth Pratt, a homeowner in California, had her coverage dropped by Allstate after 31 years because of wildfire risk.
* Insurers in states like Colorado, Louisiana, and Florida are cutting back to avoid significant losses as climate change fuels increasingly severe disasters.

Ripple effect: The decreasing availability of insurance leads to higher costs and fewer choices for homeowners.
* Fallout from major disasters is causing home insurance markets to crumble in areas like Florida and Louisiana, with insurance costs skyrocketing and availability decreasing.
* Without insurance, homeowners can’t secure mortgages, and those without sufficient coverage often face financial hardship after a disaster.

Insurance industry obstacles: The industry claims it can’t raise rates enough to cover increasing risk in disaster-prone areas, while still dealing with regulation aiming to keep prices low.
* Climate change has made predicting disasters and their costs more difficult and uncertain, so insurance companies are retreating from the market in certain areas.
* Michael Young, vice president at Moody’s RMS, points to the restrictions from state regulators on insurance rate increases as a significant issue.

Looking forward: There’s urgency in building more resilient homes and restricting development in high-risk areas to mitigate losses.
* Retrofitting homes and offering premium discounts to homeowners are some strategies being used by insurers.
* However, these measures are right now insufficient, and the article suggests that future strategy needs to include limiting new development in areas of high climate risk.

View original article on NPR

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