As people in Colorado and along the East Coast learned this month, earthquakes aren’t just for California anymore. Actually, they never were. According to the US Geological Survey, earthquakes happen
everywhere and all the time, but most just go unnoticed because they hit remote areas or have small magnitude. In reality, the National Earthquake Information Center says there are about 50 earthquakes every day right here in the U.S.A.
What was remarkable about this month’s news-making temblors was their magnitude (5.3 in Colorado, 5.8 on the East Coast) and the fact that they were relatively rare occurrences for those locations. The last time
Colorado was hit with something this big was 1967. The biggest previous quake in Virginia (the epicenter of the East Coast quake) was a 5.9 in 1897. Consequently, few people in those locations
carry earthquake insurance. They aren’t alone. Even in earthquake-prone California, only 12% of homeowners have policies.
Insurance experts in the recently rattled areas are estimating damages could run as high as $10,000 to $15,000 per affected home. As many people are now learning, their standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover earthquakes. They’ll be footing the bill for repairs to collapsed chimneys, crumbled masonry, broken windows and foundational damage.
That’s too bad, because you can get pretty cheap earthquake insurance coverage as a rider to an existing homeowner’s or renter’s policy. Note that homeowner’s riders can cover damage to the structure and personal property, while a renter’s rider will only cover personal property; and both will only reimburse up to the limits of the policy. Many policies will also cover alternate living expenses if your home or apartment is uninhabitable.
The good news about earthquake insurance is that it is relatively inexpensive, ranging from as little as a few cents to a few dollars per $1,000 worth of coverage. The actual amount you pay will vary depending on
the insurance provider, where you live, the type of building you’re insuring and its age.
The downside for many people is the deductible, which can range from 2% to 20% of a structure’s replacement value. For example, if your home sustained $100,000 in damages, you would pay the first $2,000 to $20,000. The lower your deductible, the higher your premiums will be. In areas where
earthquakes are rare, carrying a high deductible with lower premiums would give you some peace of mind without a lot of out-of-pocket. You can get earthquake insurance quotes online from top-rated insurers at Einsurance.com.