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U.S. Consumers Significantly Underestimate Flood Risk, New Survey Finds

Although statistics prove that more than 50% of American homes are at moderate to extreme risk of experiencing flooding, 63% of U.S. consumers believe they have low or no risk of flooding, according to a new study by AI-driven flood insurer Neptune Flood.

According to the inaugural "Neptune Consumer Survey of Flood Awareness," conducted in partnership with the University of South Florida Institute for Data Analytics and Visualization, consumers significantly underestimate their level of risk of flooding: while a Verisk 2019 study shows that 62 million homes representing over 50% of U.S. homes are at moderate to extreme risk of flooding, 63% of respondents to the Neptune survey believe that they have Low Risk or No Risk of flooding. Additionally, 65% of Floridians perceive themselves to be at low to no risk of flooding.

Other key findings include:

A perception that flood insurance is expensive:

  • 45% of those that non-renewed and 45% of those that never bought flood insurance opted to not purchase due to perceptions or concerns about the cost of flood insurance, when the average flood insurance policy sold in 2019 was approximately $708.

Misunderstanding about what entity provides their insurance:

  • 57% reported having private insurance, with only 41% reporting to have NFIP insurance
  • Since approximately 90% of homeowners with flood insurance have the government's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies, there is great misunderstanding of private coverage by homeowners who actually have an NFIP policy.

Private insurance companies are perceived to be more efficient at paying claims

  • 56% expect private insurers to be more responsive at claims processing
  • Consumers have high confidence in both private insurers and the NFIP in honoring claims.

University of South Florida Professor Dr. Philip Trocchia, who designed and conducted the survey, said, "The Neptune/USF survey of flood risk awareness in the US highlights the challenge of consumer adoption of an important, but mostly non-mandatory, product.  The data indicate that the low level of demand for flood insurance is largely driven by misunderstanding of risk, lack of knowledge of cost, and confusion around private versus government flood insurance." 

"The survey highlights a significant underestimation of flood risk despite years of climate change-driven extreme flooding throughout the country," said Jim Albert, Chairman and Founder of Neptune Flood. "The recurring tragedy of uninsured homeowners suffering permanent losses from flood events will take a concerted effort from both the government and the insurance industry to solve the large flood insurance coverage gap."

The survey was designed and conducted by the University of South Florida Institute for Data Analytics and Visualization.  Utilizing Qualtrics to construct the questionnaire, Amazon MTurk as the survey tool, and IBM SPSS analytics for evaluation of the results, the survey comprises qualified responses from 1,019 respondents across 36 US states.

For the full survey results, please visit



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