Homeowners insurance blog

A year later: Where does Sandy rank among the worst storms?

Remember last year: From the flooded tunnels that crippled New York City’s entire subway system, the monstrous waves that destroyed the Jersey Shore and the snowstorms in West Virginia, there’s no question that Hurricane Sandy caused terrible damage in the United States. But where does it rank in comparison to America’s most devastating hurricanes of all time?

Turns out it ranks third on the list with $18.8 billion in in property losses, not counting flood insurance claims covered by the federal flood insurance program. However, eight of the 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history have occurred during the past nine years, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That’s why it’s important for you to be prepared for the next Sandy – or even the next Hurricane Frances.

Remember these storms:

#10: Hurricane Frances ($5.6 billion)

This giant, slow-moving storm brought heavy rains and a deadly tornado outbreak across the southeastern U.S. in 2004. At its peak, Frances was classified as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum winds reaching 145 mph. The storm caused significant damage to Florida’s citrus crop and led to extensive flooding in Florida and North Carolina.

#9: Hurricane Rita ($6.7 billion)

Rita is the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane to ever be recorded and holds the record for the largest U.S. evacuation in history. In 2005, this Category 5 hurricane brought with it violent winds of more than 180 mph. Making landfall in Texas, Rita also affected low-lying areas in Louisiana – adding to the catastrophic damage left by Hurricane Katrina only one month prior.

#8: Hurricane Hugo ($7.8 billion)

In 1989, this Category 5 hurricane caused unprecedented damage in the Carolinas and other parts of the Southeast United States. Hugo was the most powerful and costliest hurricane on record until Hurricane Andrew broke its record, blasting the coasts of Florida and Louisiana in 1992.

#7: Hurricane Ivan ($8.7 billion)

Ivan crashed into the Gulf coast of Alabama as a strong Category 3 hurricane in 2004, leaving a path of destruction across more than a dozen states. The most severe damage was seen in Alabama and Florida, as whole counties were destroyed by the storm.

#6: Hurricane Charley ($9.2 billion)

In 2004, this strong Category 4 hurricane broke a 12-year record for the most powerful storm to strike the United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Despite affecting only three states in the Southeastern U.S., Charley caused billions of dollars in property damage in Florida alone and caused extensive flooding in major South Carolina cities including Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

#5: Hurricane Wilma ($11.1 billion)

This Category 5 Hurricane made history in 2005 as the most powerful tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and caused its most extensive U.S. damage in Florida.  Extensive flooding was recorded in the Keys as well as billions of dollars in property damage and other insured losses.

#4: Hurricane Ike ($13.4 billion)

At one point in 2008, this Category 4 hurricane had a diameter of more than 600 miles.  Oil and gas prices spiked as a result of the storm’s path through the Gulf of Mexico and throughout Texas, and strong winds as high as 135 mph devastated several counties in the Lone Star State. Catastrophic floods also caused extensive damage in Florida.

#3: Hurricane Sandy ($18.8 billion)

Sandy’s trek along the Eastern Seaboard last October resulted in 1.52 million claims, mostly home insurance claims. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia suffered losses, but by far the largest losses came in New York ($9.6 billion in insured losses) and New Jersey ($6.3 billion). In addition, about $7.1 billion in claims were filed through the federal flood insurance program.

#2: Hurricane Andrew ($22.9 billion)

Before Katrina’s catastrophic path through New Orleans in 2005, Hurricane Andrew held the record as the costliest hurricane in U.S. history for 13 years. Property losses in Louisiana alone topped $1.5 billion, and oil companies reported losses of $500 million. Andrew also spawned a series of 28 tornadoes, wreaking havoc across the Southeast.

#1: Hurricane Katrina ($46.5 billion)

The deadliest and most destructive hurricane ever recorded in U.S. history is by far Hurricane Katrina. In 2005, this Category 5 hurricane caused unprecedented damage in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana and left long-lasting effects on the economy that are still felt today. Failures of hurricane surge protectors in New Orleans submerged 80% of the historic city under water. No other natural disaster in the U.S. has come close to topping the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.