One out of four respondents to a new survey of residents of Houston and South Florida said they have no insurance coverage for property damage sustained in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and many more are unsure whether they’re covered or not.
In the Houston area, 29.4% of respondents who’d suffered hurricane damage said they had no insurance coverage, and 29.4% said they were covered for all or a portion of their losses.
In Florida, 20.7% said they had no coverage for storm damage, and 31.9% said they were covered. 41.2% in Houston and 47.4% in Florida said they were unsure whether they had insurance to offset their losses.
The findings are from a survey by MFour Mobile Research of 250 respondents who were in Harvey’s path and 250 who experienced Irma. Respondents also were asked to put their hurricane experiences in their own words. Some examples:
- “It was terrifying and I and my family are all traumatized by this event....The thought of us losing everything we worked hard for was heartbreaking.” – Houston respondent.
- “It was horrible. Took 17 hours to get to Atlanta, then 14 to come back home. When I came back my house was destroyed. We lost everything. Everything.” – South Florida.
- “We drove to a suburb, Cypress, Texas, and we thought it would be fine. We were proven wrong when about five tornadoes touched down and houses around us experienced horrific damage.”
- “We lost everything. We saw pictures on Facebook. It was completely under water. We did not have flood insurance, so now we have to completely start over.” – Houston
- “I evacuated 3 days before and all was very well. I evacuated cuz I wanted to care for my family, that’s all. I don't want them to get hurt.” – South Florida
- “I chose not to evacuate because I didn’t have enough common sense to leave. I will not stay again.” – Houston
Among other findings:
- Scarred by their experiences in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, 8.8% of survey respondents in Houston and 7.9% in South Florida said they are highly likely to uproot and leave their areas permanently within the coming year.
- A large majority of Houston area respondents said Hurricane Harvey was not just a hardship, but a nasty surprise – with 72.4% of those surveyed saying the hurricane damage was worse than they expected.
- In contrast, only 14.4% of people surveyed in South Florida said the damage from Irma turned out worse than expected – perhaps an indication that Texans were caught unawares, and their experience informed Floridians’ greater fears.
- In Houston, 44.8% reported feeling endangered at some point during the Hurricane, compared to 33.2% in South Florida.
- Asked about their chief concerns or uncertainties in the hurricanes’ wake, 48.4% in Houston listed friends’ and families’ personal well-being or their own personal health as the top concern, and 34.4% listed damage to property – their own or friends’ and families.’ For 16.4%, jobs or education were the chief concern.
- For Florida respondents, 32% were most concerned about family and friends’ well-being or their own health; property concerns were foremost for 27.6%, and 22% cited disruption to their jobs or education.
- In Houston, 25.2% of respondents said they had put themselves “in harm’s way” to help others during the hurricane, and 21.2% said others had done the same to help them or their families.
- In Florida, 20% reported having put themselves in potential danger to help others, and 2% said others had done the same for them.
- Government rescue efforts were almost twice as likely to be rated excellent by South Florida respondents (48.8%) compared to Texans (26.8%). As for charities’ hurricane responses: 58.4% in Houston found them excellent, compared to 37.6% in South Florida.
- Factoring in those who rated responses as “good,” government agencies got a positive grade from 69.6% in Houston and 78.8% in Florida. For charities, it was Houston, 81.6% and Florida, 68.4%.
- 4.4% in Florida and 6.8% in Texas said the government aid response was poor; 4% in Florida and 5.2% in Houston felt charities responded poorly.
For a summary of key data in chart form, just click here: Hurricane Irma & Harvey Topline
For questions, interview requests and more detailed data from the study, please contact Allison Fletcher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 714-400-7323.
MFour Mobile Research surveyed members of its Surveys On The Go® research panel ages 18 to 64 in areas most affected by Hurricanes Irma & Harvey, including the Houston DMA and the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa-St. Petersburg DMAs. The survey was conducted Wednesday, Sept. 13. The data provide a snapshot drawn from the first 500 completed responses received, 250 each from the Harvey and Irma affected regions. The data should not be taken as statistically representative of the regions' overall demographics.