The Facts About Earthquakes And Buying Earthquake Insurance


The Facts About Earthquakes And Buying Earthquake Insurance

By: Adam M. Matheny

Investing In Earthquake Insurance

Unless you happen to live on the West Coast and more specifically California, earthquake insurance is probably the furthest thing from your mind. While it wouldn’t surprise you that someone in Indiana would never buy earthquake insurance, it might shock to know that records indicate only 10% of people in California are protected by this type of insurance. That means a whopping 90% of Californians are not covered.

So, if you have been sitting there wondering if investing in earthquake insurance is worth the cost, now you know you are not alone. One thing you should know up front is that no matter how much you pay for your homeowner’s insurance policy in the state of California, it will not include earthquake coverage. If you want this type of coverage, it must be purchased as an endorsement to your current policy or as a separate policy altogether. Keep in mind, without coverage; you are at risk of significant financial loss.

California Is Not the Only State

While everyone “knows” that California is going to break off and float away one of these days when the “Big One” hits, very few know that there are 42 states at risk of earthquake activity. If you have a hard time believing there is activity in your area, check out this interactive map. It is kept up to date of the latest seismic events across the country.

While the main “Pro” of buying earthquake insurance is obviously to protect what may be the most significant financial investment you ever make.

In the event of an earthquake, your insurance policy will pay to repair or replace what you lost instead of losing everything or being forced to take out a loan.

When you live in an area with a lower risk factor, the cost an earthquake insurance policy is much lower than in a high-risk area. So, it’s worth getting a quote from your agent. You might find the price of the premiums are worth the peace of mind they provide.

Depending on the coverages you elect, you may receive extra money to cover the costs of living elsewhere while your home is being rebuilt. Can you imagine trying to pay your mortgage while trying to pay the rent on another house or for hotel rooms, along with all the other expenses?

Earthquake Insurance Is More Important Than Ever

The one thing that has changed more than anything else is the way we, as humans, interact with the planet we live on. For example, after a 5.7 magnitude quake hit Oklahoma in 2011, it was determined that fracking activity on a long-dormant faultline were to blame. According to the U.S. Geological Society, this is not the only incidence of human activities causing movement if faultlines, many of which are thought to have been dormant for millions of years.

The Damage Caused By An Earthquake

The damage caused by an earthquake can include:

Your House – Full or partial destruction, collapse, structural damage that makes your home unsafe.

Additional Structures – Sheds, garages, swimming pools, etc

Other Forms Of Damage – Explosion, fire, gas leaks, avalanches, landslides, flash floods / tsunamis.

What To Be Aware Of When Buying Earthquake Insurance

Now that we’ve taken a look at the right reasons to buy earthquake insurance let’s take a look at what to be aware of when buying this type of coverage.

Cost – in states where there is a high risk of earthquakes, such as California, the cost of this type of insurance coverage can be very high. You have to decide if the cost outweighs the risk or vice versa. In the end, it is your choice and either way you are the one who has to pay.

High Deductible – even with this type of coverage, you are going to have a very high deductible to pay in comparison to the one on your homeowner’s policy. In many cases, your deductible will be based on a percentage of the coverage you choose.

Bear in mind that the cost of coverage is highest when the fewest people purchase it. The reason for this that the insurer has to have enough coming in to pay out in the event of a disaster. The more people who buy this type of policy the lower the premiums will be, something that has been proven to be true.

In the end, it is up to you to decide whether or not you can afford to take the risk of being without earthquake insurance if you live in one of the 42 states at risk. Keep in mind that it only takes a single major event to damage or destroy your property.

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