How Much Natural Disasters Cost in Every State

tornado
Edw / Shutterstock.com

Tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes and wildfires can make it seem like Mother Nature has it out for us. Indeed, there is no place in the country where you are safe from a natural disaster of some type.

But in some states, these dramatic events tend to be little more than cause for inconvenience. In others, they can be deadly and terribly expensive. ValuePenguin used data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service to determine how many natural disasters a state suffers in a year and how much those events cost residents, when averaged across all households. To reach its findings, ValuePenguin used data from the past five years.

Here’s a look at how much natural disasters costs per household, starting with the states that suffer the least monetary losses from these events, and ending with states where circumstances beyond human control run up the biggest bill.

50. Rhode Island

Rhode Island lighthouse
Rabbitt / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.4
Annual household cost: $3

Except for the occasional hurricane or winter nor’easter, Rhode Island seems largely sheltered from natural disasters. Those that do hit in the smallest U.S. state cause relatively little damage, ringing up about $3 per household each year.

49. Connecticut

Snowstorm in Connecticut
barbsimages / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.6
Annual household cost: $4

Rhode Island’s neighbor, Connecticut, likewise seems protected from most natural disasters and has low damage costs each year when broken down across all households. (Which is not to say they don’t have some mighty fierce weather!)

48. Delaware

New Jersey from Delaware
Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.2
Annual household cost: $6

In fact, New England in general seems to be a fairly safe place to hang your hat, at least when it comes to natural disasters. Averaging only 0.2 per year, Delaware is one of four states that tied for suffering the fewest weather-related catastrophes each year.

47. Virginia

Virginia flooding
Realest Nature / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.4
Annual household cost: $6

Old Dominion University notes that Virginia, sitting along the East Cost of the U.S., has the potential to be hit by hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, earthquakes, drought, tsunamis and more. In reality, less than one natural disaster occurs each year in the state, and those are relatively inexpensive to clean up.

46. Indiana

Indiana home damaged by tornado
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.2
Annual household cost: $6

Indiana is another of the states averaging less than one natural disaster each year. The cost associated with these events, which for this state include tornadoes and blizzards, averages out to $6 per household per year. Of course, if you’re the owner of a house that takes a hit — like the Henryville home above after a 2012 tornado — the average suddenly feels sort of meaningless.

45. Massachusetts

Boston in winter
Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.6
Annual household cost: $6

The cost per household for natural disasters in Massachusetts is $6 as well. The state experiences less than one extreme weather event annually.

44. Hawaii

Lava erupting into the Pacific Ocean on Hawaii's Big Island.
Alexey Kamenskiy / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.6
Annual household cost: $8

Granted, an ongoing volcanic eruption this year on Hawaii’s Big Island has destroyed hundreds of homes, and related earthquakes continued to rock the area into early August. That could change the state’s ranking on this list next year. However, at the time ValuePenguin completed its calculations, Hawaii had seen relatively few natural disasters and those had a low cost associated with them.

43. Ohio

Storm over lake in Ohio
StevenRussellSmithPhotos / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.2
Annual household cost: $9

Ohio is another of those states with fewer than one disaster occurring each year. It may see the occasional tornado or blizzard, but generally, all is quiet in this Midwest state.

42. Maine

Maine, Great Moose Lake
By Arend Trent / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.4
Annual household cost: $10

Continuing the trend of safe New England havens, Maine sees less than one natural disaster each year, which amount to an average cost per household of $10.

41. Illinois

Chicago with clouds
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.4
Annual household cost: $12

Illinois is another state that is relatively sheltered from natural disasters. Like other Midwest states, it may see blizzards and tornadoes, but they are rarely devastating from a financial standpoint.

40. New York

eddtoro / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.2
Annual household cost: $12

New York state suffers at least one natural disaster a year on average, running up a cost of $12 per household.

39. New Hampshire

Nashua, New Hampshire
Jon Bilou / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.2
Annual household cost: $16

Like New York, New Hampshire sees 1.2 natural disasters each year. However, they cause slightly more damage here, coming in at $16 per household per year.

38. Maryland

Knumina Studios / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.6
Annual household cost: $16

Flash flooding in Ellicott City, Maryland, made the news in 2016 and again in 2018. However, overall, the state is relatively insulated from expensive and devastating weather events, resulting in an average cost of $16 per household per year.

37. Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania
Lone Wolf Photography / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1
Annual household cost: $19

Pennsylvania residents can expect to see at least one natural disaster each year. If the cost of cleaning up afterward were spread across everyone in the state, those events cost $19 per household.

36. Nevada

serkan senturk / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.2
Annual household cost: $33

Flash floods, heat waves and earthquakes are some of the wild weather experienced by Nevada residents. On average, the state sees 2.2 natural disasters per year, which cost $33 per household.

35. Oregon

DanielFreyr / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 4.8
Annual household cost: $33

Damage costs from natural disasters in Oregon are the same as Nevada, $33 per household per year, but the state sees more than twice as many extreme weather events as its neighbor to the south.

34. Washington

neelsky / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 8
Annual household cost: $34

At eight natural disasters per year, Washington State has the second-highest average number of such events. The state’s Emergency Management Division lists a whole slew of potential natural catastrophes including avalanches, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and wildfire.

33. Utah

My Good Images / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.2
Annual household cost: $37

Utah only averages 1.2 natural disasters a year, and those events cost residents an amount equal to $37 per household.

32. South Carolina

Evacuation route sign in South Carolina beach neighborhood.
StacieStauffSmith Photos / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.8
Annual household cost: $38

Hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes are among the perils for South Carolina residents that lead to an average cost of $38 per household per year.

31. Montana

Burnt forest in mountains
bswhitfield / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 3.2
Annual household cost: $38

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services says the state is at risk for the following: wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes and winter storms. Each year, 3.2 events that are considered natural disasters occur in Montana, which averages out to a cost of $38 per household.

30. Wyoming

Police Wyoming
TheGreenMan/Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.2
Annual household cost: $40

Wyoming sees significantly fewer natural disasters than its neighbor to the north, Montana. However, the two states have roughly the same cost per household associated with clean-up and recovery.

29. Wisconsin

Digital Reflections / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.8
Annual household cost: $47

It’s not every year that Wisconsin experiences a natural disaster, but when one hits, the damages come to about $47 per household.

28. California

BrittanyNY / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 14.6
Annual household cost: $48

California is hands-down the most disaster-prone state, with 14.6 events occurring every year, according to government data. Since it’s the most populous U.S. state, however, these disasters don’t necessarily prove as expensive per household, and the state ranks in the middle of the pack for that factor. However, as of this writing, the state is battling one of the largest wildfires in its history which could change its ranking in future surveys.

27. Minnesota

Shoveling snow
Chiyaca / Shutterstock.com

Disaster per year: 0.8
Annual household cost: $49

Minnesota is another Midwest state to see relatively few natural disasters. When one does hit — usually a blizzard, flood or derecho (fast-moving straight-line windstorms) — the damage averages to $49 per household per year.

26. Georgia

Sasha_Kharlov / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.4
Annual household cost: $55

The risks of living in Georgia include severe thunderstorms and flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes and even winter storms.

25. Kentucky

Brymer / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.6
Annual household cost: $57

Kentucky experiences 1.6 natural disasters each year to the tune of $57 per household.

24. Michigan

Michigan lighthouse with high waves.
John McCormick / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.8
Annual household cost: $58

If you live in Michigan, you could go a whole year without seeing a natural disaster. The state has only averaged 0.8 per year for the past five years. But the per-household cost of those disasters ranks the state in the middle of the pack.

23. South Dakota

Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota
Rich Koele / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.6
Annual household cost: $61

South Dakota has relatively few natural disasters — only averaging 1.6 per year. However, they are costly enough for the sparsely populated state to land it in the No. 23 spot on this list.

22. Arizona

Deep Desert Photography / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.2
Annual household cost: $63

There are plenty of ways the weather in Arizona can cause damage. The state is prone to dust storms, extreme heat, drought, tornadoes and flooding. These and other natural disasters cost residents $63 per household per year in damages.

21. Alaska

M. Cornelius / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.6
Annual household cost: $64

Alaska is considered by many to be the country’s last wild frontier, but it’s relatively tame when it comes to natural disasters. The state averages 1.6 per year according to the government.

20. West Virginia

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.8
Annual household cost: $71

Averaging 1.8 natural disasters per year, West Virginians are faced with annual recovery costs that equal $71 per household.

19. New Mexico

Fires in the mountains in New Mexico
arak7 / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.6
Annual household cost: $73

Mother Nature can bring drought, tornadoes and fires to New Mexico, at an annual cost of $73 per household.

18. North Carolina

MarkVanDykePhotography / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.4
Annual household cost: $80

Hurricanes are one of the biggest risks facing North Carolina residents, who pay one of the higher costs for the average of 1.4 natural disasters experienced each year.

17. Tennessee

Tennessee
Alexander Narraina / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.8
Annual household cost: $96

Even though Tennessee is landlocked, it can still sometimes get walloped by strong weather from hurricanes and tropical storms. However, the 1.8 natural disasters it experiences each year are more likely to be floods or tornadoes with costs that work out to $96 a year per household.

16. Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri in snowfall.
PhilipR / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.4
Annual household cost: $100

Missouri is the first state for which recovery costs for natural disasters cost at least $100 per household per year on average, according to the ValuePenguin study. The state averages 1.4 natural disasters per year.

15. Colorado

Jeep driving on mountain road in winter
welcomia / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.4
Annual household cost: $106

Colorado, with its mountainous west and high plains east, gets all sorts of wild weather. There are fires, avalanches, earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards and floods. The cost of 2.4 of these a year ends up equaling $106 per household.

14. New Jersey

Hoboken after Hurricane Irene
Garrett Nantz / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 0.4
Annual household cost: $108

New Jersey only averages less than one natural disaster each year, but annual recovery costs for the fairly populous state equal $108 per household. That’s expensive enough to land the state in the top 15 of this list. Seen in the image above is Hoboken in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011.

13. Nebraska

George Burba / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.4
Annual household cost: $119

Nebraska is situated in the center of the “tornado alley” region of high risk of such weather phenomenon, not to mention its blizzards and flooding. The state sees 1.4 natural disasters each year with a price tag of $119 per household.

12. Texas

storm
AMFPhotography / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.4
Annual household cost: $122

Texas gets tornadoes too. And since it covers such a wide area — second only to Alaska, — it’s also prone to hurricanes, floods, wildfires and drought. Dangerous weather in the state causes disaster damage at a cost equal to $122 per household. Seen above is Houston after the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

11. Alabama

Terry Underwood Evans / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1
Annual household cost: $123

ValuePenguin found many of the most expensive states in the nation for natural disasters seem to be in the Gulf Coast region. Alabama is no exception. The state only averages one disaster per year, but its damages run $123 per household.

10. Idaho

rck_953 / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.6
Annual household cost: $124

Wildfires in 2012 were particularly expensive and helped push Idaho up the rankings to the No. 10 spot, with the sparsely populated state running up costs of $124 per household.

9. Florida

Mishella / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.2
Annual household cost: $125

While Florida can also experience tornadoes, wildfires and floods, it’s the hurricanes and tropical storms that seem to do the most damage there. All told, recovery costs from natural disasters in the Sunshine State average $125 per household per year.

8. Oklahoma

Vizual Studio / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 3.6
Annual household cost: $128

From its spot in the heart of tornado alley, Oklahoma experiences 3.6 natural disasters each year on average. Recovery costs come to an average $128 per household annually.

7. Kansas

Eugene R Thieszen / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 3.2
Annual household cost: $161

Tornadoes are a big risk in Kansas, too. Not all such events rise to the level of a natural disaster, but the 3.2 recorded each year contribute to damages equaling $161 per household.

6. Arkansas

Damaged house in July 2018 storm, Little Rock.
Reed Means / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.8
Annual household cost: $181

Arkansas sees a wide range of extreme weather from ice storms to tornadoes. It gets an average of 1.8 natural disasters each year that cost an amount equal to $181 per household. Pictured above is a home damaged in a severe storm in July.

5. Iowa

Tornado touching down near a farm in Iowa
Dan Ross / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 2.2
Annual household cost: $190

Iowa had 41 presidentially declared disasters from 1990-2017. In past five years, that has meant an average of 2.2 events annually with damages costing $190 per household per year.

4. Vermont

Christian Delbert / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.4
Annual household cost: $276

Most of New England has been spared expensive natural disasters, but not Vermont. The state only sees an average of 1.4 disasters each year — such as flooding or winter storms — but those cause damage that costs $276 per household.

3. North Dakota

Devil's Lake
By vagabond54 / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.2
Annual household cost: $600

According to ValuePenguin, North Dakota is faced with $181.3 million in damages each year thanks to flooding, tornadoes and blizzards. That works out to $600 per household in the sparsely populated state.

2. Mississippi

Gary Paul Lewis / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.8
Annual household cost: $1,322

Like other Gulf Coast states, Mississippi residents face their biggest threat from hurricanes. When they hit, they can cause severe damage. The annual cost per household to clean up natural disasters in the state is $1,322.

1. Louisiana

Chuck Wagner / Shutterstock.com

Disasters per year: 1.8
Annual household cost: $1,805

Louisiana takes the No. 1 spot for the cost of natural disasters by a landslide (though those aren’t among its problems). The state only averages 1.8 natural disasters per year but the damage results in a cost of $1,805 per household. Landslides may not be a problem, devastating hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding are.

How disaster-prone is your state? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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