What Are The Odds? What Is Insured?

Compare the risk of dying from common causes to more rare events including natural disasters and flooding. All figures below are for U.S. residents.  In each case these are "Lifetime Odds" of dying:

Heart Disease 1-in-5
Cancer 1-in-7
Stroke 1-in-23
Accidental Injury 1-in-36
Motor Vehicle Accident* 1-in-100
Intentional Self-harm (suicide) 1-in-121
Falling Down 1-in-246
Assault by Firearm 1-in-325
Fire or Smoke 1-in-1,116
Natural Forces (heat, cold, storms, quakes, etc.) 1-in-3,357
Electrocution* 1-in-5,000
Drowning 1-in-8,942
Air Travel Accident*1-in-20,000
Flood* (included also in Natural Forces above)1-in-30,000
Legal Execution 1-in-58,618
100-sided die 
Tornado* (included also in Natural Forces above)1-in-60,000
Lightning Strike (included also in Natural Forces above)1-in-83,930
Snake, Bee or other Venomous Bite or Sting*1-in-100,000
Earthquake (included also in Natural Forces above)1-in-131,890
Dog Attack 1-in-147,717
Asteroid Impact* 1-in-200,000**
Tsunami* 1-in-500,000
Fireworks Discharge 1-in-615,488
** Perhaps 1-in-500,000

SOURCES: National Center for Health Statistics, CDC; American Cancer Society; National Safety Council; International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; World Health Organization; USGS; Clark Chapman, SwRI; David Morrison, NASA; Michael Paine, Planetary Society Australian Volunteers

It makes sense that the most common risks could be insured.  The top 5 health-related events are covered by life insurance or AD&D insurance.  Self harm and legal execution could not be covered by insurance. Of the remaining events, many are covered by insurance in Canada except flooding.  While flooding ranks relatively low down on the list of events in terms of casualties,  it is clear that the risk of a non-lethal event and property damage is much higher.  For example, the following table identifies the number of calls received from the public (in the City of Toronto) that reported basement flooding as a result of sewer back-up and/or overland flooding.

District  Total Calls
East        56
North     991
South     607
West      3105
Total      4759

It would be worthwhile identifying how many of these are caused by overland flooding and to what extent the overland flooding contributed to sewage back-up.


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