important point

  • Los Angeles County, California tops the list of counties most at risk from natural disasters, followed by the Parish of East Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Riverside County, California. and Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
  • Coastal states are most affected by natural disasters. Four California counties rank among the top 10 counties most at risk from natural disasters, along with three Louisiana parishes, two South Carolina counties, and two Florida counties.
  • Fires and hurricanes were the most common disaster types in the top 10 counties most affected by disasters.
  • Between January 2013 and January 2023, 88.5% of all U.S. counties declared a natural disaster. This includes 95% of the 200 most populous counties.
  • Only 10 of the 200 most populous counties have not declared a disaster in the last decade, five of them in Ohio.

Natural disasters are occurring more frequently and more severely. Over the past five years, the United States has experienced an average of 17.8 natural disasters each year. According to the National Center for Environmental Information, this includes 18 climate disasters that occurred in 2022, with total damage reaching $169.8 billion.

Some regions are more vulnerable to these disasters than others. For example, states with natural disasters tend to be coastal states. To determine which counties are most at risk from natural disasters, Forbes advisors reveal the number of disaster declarations issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) over the last 10 years for the 200 most populous counties. Did. .

Top 5 most disaster-prone counties

1. Los Angeles County, California

  • Los Angeles County tops the list of counties most affected by natural disasters. The county has declared 22 natural disasters in the last decade, including 20 fires and two severe winter storms, floods and landslides.

2. East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana (tie)

  • With 17 disaster declarations issued in the last 10 years, Baton Rouge East Parish was the second most affected by natural disasters, along with Orléans Parish.
  • Between January 2013 and January 2023, Baton Rouge East Parish experienced 10 hurricanes, 3 coastal storms, 2 floods and 2 severe ice storms.

2. Orleans Parish, Louisiana (tie)

  • The Parish of Orléans is tied with the Parish of East Baton Rouge (county equivalent) for the second highest risk of natural disasters.
  • In the past decade, the Parish of Orléans has declared 17 weather disasters, including 11 hurricanes, 3 coastal storms, 2 severe ice storms and 1 tornado.

4. Riverside County, California (tie)

  • With 16 disaster declarations in the past decade, Riverside County ranks fourth most affected by natural disasters alongside Jefferson Parish.
  • Riverside County has experienced 13 fires, 2 floods and 1 severe storm in the last 10 years.

4. Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (tie)

  • Jefferson Parish, tied with Riverside County, was the fourth most affected by natural disasters.
  • From January 2013 to January 2023, Jefferson Parish has declared 16 disasters, including 11 hurricanes, 3 coastal storms, and 2 severe ice storms.

Finding the Best Homeowners Insurance Companies for 2023

Home insurance against natural disasters

Whether you can claim homeowners insurance after a disaster depends on the cause of the damage. That is why it is important to know what kind of insurance covers natural disasters.

Home insurance covers fires, such as wildfire insurance that pays out if your home is damaged in a wildfire. However, home insurance companies typically do not cover flood or earthquake damage.

flood insurance

Home insurance does not usually cover floods. Instead, you will need a separate flood insurance policy. Flood insurance is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), administered by FEMA and private insurers.

Flood insurance provides housing and property coverage to protect your home and property. NFIP policies have a housing coverage limit of $250,000 and a housing coverage limit of $100,000, although higher coverage is available through private insurance companies.

NFIP insurance has a 30-day waiting period, so if you need flood insurance, you can’t wait until a big storm hits. This policy must be implemented at least 30 days before flooding occurs.

earthquake insurance

Earthquake insurance provides compensation in the event that your home or household goods are damaged or destroyed by an earthquake. Standard home insurance does not usually cover this damage. Without earthquake insurance, you will pay the full cost of repairing or rebuilding your home.

There is one exception. Home insurance covers fire damage in the event that a house burns down due to a fire caused by an earthquake.

hurricane insurance

Things get even more complicated when it comes to hurricanes and home insurance. Hurricane insurance combines multiple types of insurance, such as home insurance, flood insurance and, in some areas, storm insurance.

Home insurance usually does not cover flood damage, so you will need to purchase flood insurance separately. Depending on where you live, you may need to purchase additional storm insurance. Some states allow insurance companies to exclude wind damage from standard home insurance policies.

Nineteen coastal states also allow insurers to set hurricane deductibles. Hurricane deductibles are separate from home insurance deductibles. Hurricane deductibles are often part of home insurance coverage. So if you have insurance for $300,000 and a 5% hurricane deductible, your deductible will be $15,000. Home insurance companies will deduct that amount from hurricane-related claims.

Tips for getting the best home insurance for complete protection

If you want to buy home insurance, start by deciding how much home insurance you need.

It is imperative to make sure you have enough housing security to rebuild if your home is wiped out. If your insurance company offers either extended or replacement cost coverage, you should consider purchasing these coverages. This expanded coverage increases your chances of being able to rebuild your home if it is destroyed under your homeowners insurance limit.

  • Extended replacement cost coverage is a set percentage (such as 20%) added to the home coverage amount to provide an economic buffer if a rebuild is required and local material and labor costs rise.
  • Guaranteed replacement cost coverage will pay for any cost of rebuilding your home.

It’s also a good idea to consider how much additional cost of living (ALE) coverage you want within your homeowners policy. ALE (Loss of Use Coverage) covers additional costs if you are temporarily forced to live elsewhere when your home is damaged due to an issue covered by your insurance. Coverage for additional living expenses is usually set at 20% of the housing coverage amount, but if you feel that this is not enough for restaurant meals, hotel bills, or other additional expenses, you can increase the coverage. You can also increase it.

Once you’ve decided on your coverage amount, it’s wise to compare home insurance quotes from multiple companies. Each insurance company has its own pricing formula, so scouring home insurance quotes is essential to finding the cheapest home insurance that also provides the coverage you need.

According to Forbes Advisor analysis, the average cost of home insurance is $1,582 annually for a $350,000 home insurance policy. The actual amount you pay depends on your coverage amount, location, building materials, age of your home, deductibles, claim history, property claim history, and several other factors.

Affordability is important, but the best home insurance companies are also quick to respond when needed during crises such as natural disasters. So customer satisfaction and reviews should also be considered when comparing home insurance companies.


To determine which counties are most at risk from natural disasters, Forbes Advisors surveyed the 200 most populous counties and equivalent entities (including parishes, boroughs, census tracts, and independent cities) in 20131 We analyzed FEMA disaster declarations from January to January 2023.

County population estimates are from the U.S. Census Bureau, 2021.

Information provided on Forbes Advisor is for educational purposes only. Each customer’s financial situation is different and the products and services we review may not be suitable for your situation. We do not provide financial advice, advisory or brokerage services, nor do we endorse or advise individuals to buy or sell any particular stock or securities. Performance information may have changed since publication. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Forbes Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted. However, the benefits contained herein may not be currently available. The opinions expressed are those of the authors only and are not provided, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by our partners.


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