A savings incentive is on the horizon for mitigation-minded homeowners who take measures to safeguard their property from natural disasters and destructive weather perils, said the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI).
The “Disaster Savings Accounts Act of 2013″ is proposed federal legislation that would help provide tax-free disaster mitigation by allowing homeowners to deduct up to $5,000 per year through tax-preferred “disaster savings accounts.”
The legislation was introduced by U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, a Republican who represents Florida’s 15th Congressional District. The tax relief would be available for expenses related to the mitigation and preparedness of natural disaster risks, including earthquakes, floods, hail, hurricanes, power outages, tornadoes, wildfires and lightning.
Ross described the legislation as a “win-win” for homeowners and the federal government.
“This legislation will give families more tools to invest in their safety and resiliency, and will help contribute to a potential reduction in the economic costs of natural disasters,” explained Ross, during an address to attendees at the 2013 “Mitigation 360◦” Conference on November 21 in Orlando. The conference was hosted by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), a nonprofit group which is dedicated to strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters.
“While families can’t be sure when or where a disaster will strike, they can take measures to plan ahead and increase home safety through mitigation efforts,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and CEO of FLASH. “We support this legislation which will off-set costs for disaster-resilient homes and help empower families to better protect their homes and investments.”
“Disaster mitigation can save lives, prevent injuries and reduce property damage. It may also potentially lower insurance costs, ” said Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president for public affairs and consumer spokesperson with the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), whose mission is to improve public understanding of insurance—what it does and how it works.
Disaster safety experts estimate that for every dollar invested in mitigation, a homeowner can expect to yield a return of up to seven times that amount in measurable savings. For example, installation of a $3,000 lightning protection system, can save a homeowner more than $20,000 in damages connected with a single lightning strike or surge event. If the lightning strike results in a structural fire, the damage costs are likely to escalate well beyond that $20,000 figure.
We are pleased to learn that this proposed legislation includes tax savings for lightning protection,” said Bud VanSickle, executive director for the LPI. “Lightning is the most dangerous and frequently encountered weather hazard people experience each year, and it causes more than one billion dollars annually in structural damage to buildings in the U.S. This measure will help communities to mitigate against lightning losses which will ultimately save lives and reduce property losses,” explained VanSickle.
Source: Lightning Safety Alliance