Earthquakes, Tornados, Floods, Fire and Hurricanes: When Natural Disasters Hit Home
Some of the largest cities in the world have been built in areas that sooner or later get hit by natural disasters of incredible magnitude. In the U.S., for example, Los Angeles, along with much of the rest of California, sits astride a massive fault line. Several eastern U.S. sea port cities are in prime hurricane country, and a fair portion of the Midwest is plagued by tornadoes.
But as dangerous as these areas can be, people still call them home despite the high cost of destruction. Below are a few examples of past natural disasters and their related costs:
- The 1994 earthquake that rocked Los Angeles killed 61 people, doing $64 billion in damage.
- Hurricane Katrina and the ensuing floods took 1,322 lives and cost $144 billion.
- The deadly tornado that flattened much of Joplin, Mo., in May of 2011, killed 158 people and is estimated to have caused up to $3 billion worth of damage.
Assessing the cost of natural disasters
When disaster strikes, the cost in terms of lives and dollars can be difficult to grasp. Homeowners often are hit hard when it comes time to replace and rebuild. Some of the most common repairs after a natural disaster include:
- The roof. From asphalt to tiles, the cost of roof repair varies dramatically depending on the severity of the damage — anywhere from $2,000 to $60,000, or more.
- The windows. Replacement windows cost a minimum of $100-$200 per window and more for windows designed to withstand high winds for the next time around. It’s not unusual to pay $5,000 to $40,000 for a complete job.
- The walls. Skimping on purchasing wind-resistant new siding seems like a great money-saver, but if most of your siding flies off in a storm, you might pay between $3,500 and $20,000 to completely reside the house.
- The foundation. Floods turn everything into mud, including the once-stable base your foundation rests on. Tricky, time-consuming foundation repairs can cost between $8,000 and $40,000 and are not always covered by insurance. A flooded basement could be another $500 to $10,000 to pump out, clean up and repair.
- The insurance. Disaster-prone areas usually require residents to carry insurance for certain so-called acts of God. It’s good when calamity strikes, but the more often your area is hit, the more those costs usually rise.
Of course, no one can put a price tag on the lives of loved ones, pets, family heirlooms, photographs and precious mementos, and those are the best reasons of all to be as prepared as you can be.
Blue Planet Green Living (Home)
Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. With an eye for design and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West. He often dreams of flipping houses, from replacing windows to custom siding, someday he’ll do it all.