The Most Expensive Natural Disasters in U.S. History

Hurricane Ian could join this list of wind, water, fire and drought events that have all wreaked havoc on the United States. What’s been the worst?

Flooding after Hurricane Ida
(Image credit: Getty Images)


Hurricane Ian was one of the most powerful storms to hit the United States, with massive storm surges lashing Florida’s southwest coast, along with high winds and flooding across the state.  

That storm surge (damage from which, by the way, is not covered by homeowner’s insurance) is the main source of hurricanes' damage: The top eight in our list of 10 most expensive natural disasters are all cyclonic storms. Whether Ian joins this grim list remains to be seen, but based on early cost estimates from the Insurance Information Institute and other sources, it’s probable.

Neither hurricane nor wildfire season are over yet, so check your emergency kit, have a financial plan in place in case you have to evacuate, and take a look at the 10 most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history. 

Estimated cost and death figures are from the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Estimated costs are adjusted for inflation.
U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2022)., DOI: 10.25921/stkw-7w73

David Muhlbaum
Senior Online Editor,

In his current role as Senior Online Editor, David edits and writes a wide range of content for With more than 20 years of experience with Kiplinger, he has worked on and written for a range of its publications, including The Kiplinger Letter and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. He is a co-host of Your Money's Worth, Kiplinger's podcast and has helped develop the Economic Forecasts feature.