Erie Insurance Survey Finds Only 14% of U.S. Homeowners Know Flooding is the Country's Most Common and Expensive Natural Disaster

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Most homeowners also don't realize the amount of damage that only three inches of water can cause; and they reveal which items they'd be most worried about losing in a flood.

ERIE, Pa., March 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Erie Insurance asked U.S. homeowners to name the most common and expensive natural disaster in the U.S. and only 14% got the right answer: flooding.* A plurality (37%) thought it was hurricanes. The survey on a wide range of flood-related topics was designed to raise awareness of flood damage risk and what homeowners can do to mitigate it. Erie Insurance (ERIE) commissioned the survey to coincide with the recent launch of its new Extended Water insurance coverage. Realizing that typical homeowners policies don't cover flood damage, ERIE expanded its coverage to help fill in the gaps.

The survey also questioned homeowners about how high floodwater would have to get to make it likely they'd need to replace drywall and baseboards. Many think it would have to be a foot or more, but actually it's a mere three inches,* which only 7% guessed correctly.

When asked what they would be most concerned about losing to flood damage, a large majority of survey participants (77%) said important documents like personal papers, titles and IDs. Next were family photos, with a third of homeowners (34%) concerned about losing them – women were much more worried about this than men (44% vs. 24%, respectively). That was followed by expensive electronic equipment (25%), antiques (8%) and wedding albums (7%).

"Our survey shows that many homeowners underestimate not only the risk of flooding but also the significant amount of damage that a relatively small amount of water can cause," said Michelle Tennant, vice president of Product Management, Erie Insurance. "There are several things homeowners can do to prevent water damage, like redirecting water away from their homes, sealing roofs and making sure plumbing systems are well maintained. But they should also talk with their insurance agent to make sure they're covered in the unfortunate event that damage does occur."

ERIE's Extended Water covers damage not only caused by natural disasters but also by sewer and drain backups.** It covers the home and its foundation; electrical and plumbing systems; HVAC equipment; appliances; and personal possessions such as furniture and clothing. It also provides up to $10,000 in flood avoidance reimbursement for certain equipment or material to help protect the home before flooding occurs.

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*Source: FEMA
**Extended Water is not yet available in New York and North Carolina; soon to be available in D.C.

About the survey

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Erie Insurance from November 21 - 23, 2022 among 1,454 U.S. adult homeowners ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level.

About Erie Insurance

According to A.M. Best Company, Erie Insurance Group, based in Erie, Pennsylvania, is the 11th largest homeowners insurer, 13th largest automobile insurer and 13th largest commercial lines insurer in the United States based on direct premiums written. Founded in 1925, Erie Insurance is a Fortune 500 company and the 19th largest property/casualty insurer in the United States based on total lines net premium written. Rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, ERIE has more than 6 million policies in force and operates in 12 states and the District of Columbia. News releases and more information are available on ERIE's website at

Check your facts on flooding.
Check your facts on flooding.
Erie Insurance. (PRNewsFoto/Erie Insurance) (PRNewsfoto/Erie Insurance)
Erie Insurance. (PRNewsFoto/Erie Insurance) (PRNewsfoto/Erie Insurance)

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SOURCE Erie Insurance Group