A new survey shows the pandemic has raised security concerns – and not just from health scares.

About a third of Americans will spend more to prepare for natural disasters this year than last, and they cite COVID-19 as the reason.

When Debt.com polled more than 1,200 Americans, just over 3 in 10 said they were “spending a little more than usual” getting ready for hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, blizzards, and earthquakes. Nearly 1 in 10 said they were “spending at least double.” They all said COVID-19’s aftermath was directly responsible for their extra allocations.

Debt.com’s Natural Disaster Survey not only revealed that Americans will be spending more money, they’ll also be paying more attention. More than 35 percent said the pandemic has convinced them to “take government warnings more seriously” and “prepare much better than I have in the past.” Only 14 percent said, “The pandemic actually made me more doubtful of government warnings and suggestions for preparing for natural disasters.”

Those results were predictable, says Debt.com chairman Howard Dvorkin. How long they will persist is unknown.

“Even during the pandemic, we saw how Americans were changing their spending and saving habits, often for the better,” Dvorkin says. “Now we’re seeing how long that will last. At least in this one area, for this one year, it’s obvious: COVID-19 took such a terrible and sudden toll, no one wants to be caught unprepared again – for anything. We’ll see if that lesson sunk in deep enough for it to last into 2022.”

3 out of 5 Americans say they’ve prepared for a natural disaster

 

Nearly 4 out of 10 respondents says they’ve been a victim of a natural disaster

 

More than 4 in 10 respondents said a natural disaster caused them to take on $500 or more in credit card debt

 

3 in 10 said they’re “spending a little more than usual” to prepare for natural disaster because of the COVID-19 pandemic

 

More than 3 in 10 respondents said they’ll “take government warnings more serious and prepare much better” for a natural disaster because of the pandemic

 

 

Have you ever prepared for a natural disaster? Percentage of respondents
Yes 58.80%
No 41.20%
Have you ever been a victim of a natural disaster? Percentage of respondents
Yes, in the past year. 6.37%
Yes, in the past two to three years. 7.37%
Yes, more than three years ago. 36.97%
No 49.29%
If yes, how much do you spend on items like food, water, batteries, and others? Percentage of respondents
$1 to $49 9.25%
$50 to $99 25.43%
$100 to $199 30.06%
More than $200 35.26%
Did you use credit cards to recover from a natural disaster? Percentage of respondents
Yes 26.99%
No 73.01%
If yes, how much credit card debt did you take on from that natural disaster? Percentage of respondents
0 to $100 9.41%
$100 to $250 14.71%
$250 to $400 18.82%
$400 to $500 15.29%
$500 or more 41.76%
Do you think you’ll spend more, less, or the the same this year to prepare? Percentage of respondents
More 22.55%
Less 22.86%
Same 54.59%
Did the COVID-19 pandemic convince you to spend more preparing for natural disasters? Percentage of respondents
Yes, I’m spending a little more than usual. 32.39%
Yes, I’m spending at least double. 8.81%
No, I’m spending the same. 47.96%
No, I’m spending less. 10.85%
Did the pandemic change how you think about other disaster scenarios? Percentage of respondents
Yes, I’ll take government warnings more seriously and will prepare much better than I have in the past. 35.61%
No, I’ll prepare the same as always, with no changes. 50.08%
No, the pandemic actually made me more doubtful of government warnings and suggestions for preparing for natural disasters. 14.31%

Methodology:  Debt.com surveyed 1,233 people and asked eight questions about their experiences planning for natural disasters, and whether it contributed to their debt. People responded from all 50 states and Washington, DC and were aged 18 and above. Responses were collected through SurveyMonkey. The survey was conducted from June 24, 2021, to July 12, 2021.