- Climate change hazards like extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, and coastal flooding are expected to impact millions of Americans by 2050.
- Vermont is the best state to move to avoid climate change.
- At-risk homeowners can minimize threats and save money by future-proofing their homes.
Doomsayers may want to relocate an underground bunker to New Hampshire.
Climate change hurts homeowners financially. It destroys property and incentivizes insurers to raise home insurance prices. It’s not enough for fire and flood to destroy one’s belongings and treasured memories -- climate change directly impacts the bottom line. Specialized insurance like flood and wildfire can cost homeowners tens of thousands of dollars annually.
Climate change is weird. It’s scary. It makes me want to stick my head under the nearest boulder and hope for the best. But it’s important to remember there are options to reduce risk -- you don’t need to be a cactus-drinking, bunker-dwelling survivalist to prepare for the worst.
For example, some places are less affected by climate change. In fact, these seven states are the best spots to move to avoid climate change hazards, according to data drawn from the SafeHome.org Risk Index.
Vermont scores lowest on the SafeHome.org Risk Index -- by a lot. Of all five climate change hazards measured (extreme heat, drought, wildfires, inland flooding, coastal flooding), only extreme heat threatens Vermont. Experts believe the state will only have about nine “dangerously hot” days per year by 2050. Not bad. To put that in perspective, Florida, a heatstroke-inducing swampland, is projected to host 151 dangerously hot days per year by 2050. Yikes.
2. New Hampshire
Extreme heat and coastal flooding threaten New Hampshire residents. But the good news is that only 1.5% of people there are in danger of extreme heat, the smallest percentage of any state. Plus, only 0.4% of residents are at elevated risk of coastal flooding. For comparison, a whopping 20% of Louisiana residents face similar flood risks.
A minority of Massachusetts residents can expect to deal with extreme heat, coastal flooding, and inland flooding. It’s worth noting that extreme heat is expected to extend mosquito season by 23 days each year by 2050, which is neither high nor low compared to other states.
Minnesota is one of the best states to move to avoid climate change. By 2050, only six days per year are expected to be dangerously hot. That’s 15 times fewer dangerous heat days than are expected in the state of Mississippi!
Extreme heat, wildfires, and drought threaten Colorado. But the impact of extreme heat is expected to be minimal. Only about 1.8% of the population is expected to be vulnerable, and mosquito season is projected to extend only five days by 2050. Compare that to Maryland, which is projected to tack on 37 blood-sucking days of mosquitos to their seasonal calendar.
Like in Colorado, Wyoming residents should consider the risks posed by extreme heat, wildfires, and drought. Despite this, risks for most hazards remain low. There is one notable exception: Over 80% of the population is at elevated risk of wildfires, the largest percentage of any state.
7. Rhode Island
Rhode Island rounds out the list of the top states to live in to avoid climate change. Extreme heat, inland flooding, and coastal flooding do threaten residents here, but Rhode Island holds up well to the risks posed to all 50 states. In fact, risks to residents are middling across the board, with none outstanding.
What if I own a home in a high-risk state?
If you own a home in a high-risk state, you have two options. Option one is moving to a lower-risk state. High-quality mortgage lenders offer affordable rates for homeowners migrating cross-country.
Option two is minimizing the risk posed to you and your residence. At-risk homeowners can check out affordable home insurance policies that offer discounts to homeowners who invest in future-proofing their homes – a win-win for wallet and safety. Example discounts include:
- Discounts for impact-resistant roofs that hold up to hail or rainstorms.
- Discounts for safety-monitoring devices like fire alarms.
For more peace of mind, you may want to shop for hazard insurance policies tailored to your risk tolerance and the threats posed to your area. For example, California homeowners may want to look over affordable wildfire coverage. And at-risk homeowners should consider building up an emergency fund to prepare for climate expenses ahead of time.
Whether you already own a forever home or are considering buying a house in the future, do your research, prepare how you can, and don’t forget to stock your doomsday bunker with toilet paper -- preferably somewhere your bunker-approved toilet isn’t at risk of flooding. Climate change is out of any one person’s control, but how we respond to it is up to us.
Our Research Expert
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
The Ascent is a Motley Fool service that rates and reviews essential products for your everyday money matters.
Copyright © 2018 - 2024 The Ascent. All rights reserved.