Most Americans do not have detailed natural disaster emergency plans

Recent Ipsos poll, conducted on behalf of Wells Fargo, shows less than half have started an emergency savings account

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Neil Lloyd Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, September 22, 2021

A new Ipsos poll, conducted on behalf of Wells Fargo, finds that most Americans do not have a detailed emergency plan for the event of a natural disaster. Those who don’t have one most often say it’s because they have not thought of making one, or are focused on more immediate issues. Less than half have started an emergency savings account in preparation for unexpected financial emergencies.

Detailed Findings

1. Most Americans do not have a detailed natural disaster emergency plan.

  • Despite about three quarters of Americans (72%) saying they or their family have been directly affected by natural disasters at some point, most (71%) do not have a detailed emergency plan for the event of a natural disaster.
  • Those who do have an emergency plan prioritize having food and water supplies (78%), emergency cash (63%), access to important documents (61%), and a planned transportation/evacuation route (59%).
  • Among those who do not have a detailed natural disaster emergency plan, 40% say it’s because they’ve never thought about making one, and 35% say they are focused on more immediate issues.
  • Though most don’t have detailed emergency plans, when describing emergency preparedness style, 39% say they have adequate plans and 40% say they have non-specific plans, while only 16% say they have not thought about emergency planning.

2. Less than half (44%) have started an emergency savings account to prepare for unexpected financial disasters.

  • About two in five (39%) say they have no emergency cash in their house, and about a third (35%) report having $500 or less in emergency cash.
  • Slightly more than half (55%) have recently reviewed insurance policies to ensure they have the right types and amounts of coverage.
  • Half (52%) would like their bank to proactively help them plan for a natural disaster, while 23% say they have contacted a qualified financial counselor about how to organize their finances for an emergency.

About the Study

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between August 31-September 3, 2021, on behalf of Wells Fargo. For this survey, a sample of 2,226 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.

The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2018 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Posthoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=2,226, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-3.9 percentage points).

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
Ipsos
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Neil Lloyd Senior Research Analyst, Public Affairs

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