As the weather gets more extreme, homeowners get more resilient

Has your home recently been flooded, damaged by storms, or worse, scorched by wildfire?

No? Thank goodness. We share your gratitude for staying safe.

But, you may ask, are you just lucky? What about the next time? How safe are you and your home, really?

Depending on where you live, the answer may come as a shock. As Time magazine noted in a 2021 article, “Millions of American homes are vulnerable to flooding, wildfires and storms, and they will only become more exposed as the effects of climate change worsen.”

This post isn’t meant to stoke fear. Nor is it meant to convince you of what’s causing the climate to change. It is meant to show how you can make your home safer—and reap the resulting peace-of-mind and financial benefits.

In fact, if you read on, you’ll learn how you can gain more confidence in your family’s and your home’s ability to avoid or, at the least, minimize the destructive effects of severe weather. Even better, you’ll discover you can actually save money and lower some of your monthly costs, such as those for insurance.

Weathering extremes requires resilience

One thing we can all agree on: The weather’s getting weird. And more extreme.

The numbers bear that out. Flooding already causes $20 billion in property loss every year and will swell to more than $30 billion annually in three decades. Extreme weather led to $105 billion in insured losses in 2020, according to a report from the reinsurer Swiss Re. In Texas, the winter storm of 2021 caused $200 billion in losses, $20 billion in insurance claims and a huge spike in energy costs. In California alone, $2 trillion worth of real estate is located in areas at high risk of wildfire, says real estate brokerage Redfin.

Damage from weather extremes to homes, infrastructure like roads, pipes and wires, and lives is a huge and growing problem that will require solutions at local, state, national and international levels.

But what can you do as a homeowner? While you may not have the power to stop floods, fires and more frequent storms, there’s plenty you can do both to avoid problems in the first place when buying a home, or to safeguard the home you’re in now.

The key lies in what we call resiliency: Making your home better able to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at it.

Resilience pays dividends

If you’re like most Americans, your home is your nest egg, making up from 65 to 75 percent of your total financial assets. And yet about four in 10 Americans say they don’t have enough money saved to cover more than $1,000 in emergency expenses. 

Coupled with that, as mortgage interest rates rise and the supply of homes dries up, more Americans are staying put where they are. That makes it even more important to make your current home safer, avoid problems before they happen and preserve its value.

Here’s the good news: Resilience pays off. In fact, we estimate that, for every dollar invested in making your home more resilient, you get $13 back. That’s a whopping 1,200 percent return on investment. Trying getting those returns in the stock market!

The not-so good news: Resilience is complicated. There are lots of risks out there from severe weather. But which risks do you target and tackle? Which resiliency strategies are best? How do you right-size that for you family and your financial situation?

The truth, we discovered, is that it’s really hard to do this work on your own. Sure, there is plenty of data and information out there, but it’s scattered all over the place. Believe us, we ran down a lot of rabbit holes searching for it.

Quoll makes resilience simple

Which is why we created Quoll: To make home resiliency simple and easy to take action. To take all the intelligence out there, translate that, and say, “Here’s exactly what climate change means for you, here’s what you should do about it, and here’s how we can help you do it.”

Again, this is not about politics. Your home doesn’t care whether extreme weather is caused by humans or not. It just cares about keeping you and your family sheltered and secure.

Here’s how Quoll works: 

  • First, go to the Quoll website and enter an address—any address in the United States, whether yours, your neighbor’s or a home you’re interested in. As soon as you do, you’ll get a resiliency score. This score tells you your climate risk, the economic factors that go into it, and how it works with your specific home. 
  • Next, you learn exactly what you should do about those risks, with recommended strategies custom-tailored to your specific home and requirements. It tells you what products or improvements will make your home more resilient. And it shows you which ones provide the biggest bang for the buck.
  • Then we refer you to a vetted list of vendors who are actually selling and installing those measures. For example, let’s say your biggest risk is from flooding. The recommended fixes for your particular home might include waterproofing your basement and installing a sump pump. You learn that waterproofing your basement not only would make your home more resilient, but it would provide a return on investment of about 30 percent. You get a list of contractors and retailers who supply those products and services.
  • Finally, you discover all the discounts, incentives and bonuses available for doing that work. That includes not only discounts on purchases of products and services. It also includes discounts on things like insurance premiums and interest rates—similar to good driver and garaging discounts from car insurance companies.

Resiliency: can you afford not to?

For prospective buyers, resiliency means knowing your risks before you buy. Comparing home risks and possibly avoiding some properties and locations altogether. Knowing what to negotiate over. Getting the best deal possible.

For current owners, resiliency means lowering your cost of ownership, maximizing your home value, and making your home stand out in the market if you plan to sell.

But resiliency is not a one-and-done deal. So when you become a homeowner, we certify that you’ve done your resilience measures, which helps you maintain your discounts. You get continuous resiliency recommendations, be they seasonal or longer-term measures. You stay on top of your risks as they change. And you build a track record as good homeowners, which helps you get even more discounts.

After all, the question is not whether you can make your home more resilient. It’s whether you can afford not to.

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