Unfortunately, your basic homeowners policy does not cover earthquake damage.
Earthquakes can literally shake up your life. Studies suggest that earthquakes have the potential to produce significant damage in 42 of the 50 U.S. states. So, most U.S. homeowners need to be prepared for the possibility of an earthquake. Unfortunately, your basic homeowners policy does not cover earthquake damage.
For comprehensive protection, you need an earthquake endorsement added to your standard policy. Earthquake activity occurs in nearly all parts of the U. S. including Maine. Click here to view a map of recent Maine earthquake activity.
In a 20 year period between 1975 and 1995, earthquakes occurred in every state except Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and Florida, per the USGS. According to a poll taken in 2016 by the Insurance Information Institute, only 8 percent of U. S. homeowners have earthquake coverage on their home. Even in California, just 11 percent of homeowners had earthquake coverage as of last year, according to the California Insurance Department.
Below are some facts to consider when purchasing earthquake insurance.
- Generally, insurance companies will not sell earthquake coverage immediately following an earthquake. After an initial earthquake of 4.5 magnitude or greater on the Richter scale the insurers will suspend selling earthquake coverage until a sufficient amount of time has elapsed, likely one or two months. This is the period of time following an earthquake in which aftershocks can occur and do further damage.
- Aftershocks are a common occurrence after an initial earthquake. These aftershocks can, at times, cause greater damage than the initial quake.
- Earthquakes can occur in every state, though some states are more likely to have earthquakes. Alaska leads the nation in earthquakes. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), almost 50% of Americans are at risk for damage from earthquake.
- The strength of earthquakes, unlike hurricanes or tornadoes, is very difficult to predict.
- Earthquake insurance is very inexpensive in Maine. There are several factors that drive the cost of earthquake coverage on your homeowners policy including the following:
- Your home’s age
- Foundation and construction type
- Your home’s distance from a seismic zone
- The deductible you select
- The cost to rebuild your home
It’s important to ask yourself this question “Can I afford to skip this coverage and pay out of pocket for earthquake-related repair and replacement costs to my home and contents?”