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Your Insurance Policy and Earthquakes
|If you are a
homeowner in the United States, you may think that your homeowners
insurance covers you in the event of any major catastrophe that may
strike your home. Think again. In the United States earthquake damage to
homes is not covered by standard homeowners insurance.
Although other forms of insurance cover damage brought on by earthquakes such as car insurance, after examining your homeowner’s insurance policy a little closer, you will likely find that your home is not covered in the event of an earthquake.
In the United States there are certain areas and regions that are more prone to earthquakes. The west coast, for example, lies directly above a major fault line in the Earth causing frequent earthquakes, some of which have been tremendous. California is one state that has been home to a number of disastrous earthquakes throughout history.
However, if you do not live on the west coast of the United States do not assume you are free of the danger of earthquakes. Earthquakes can occur anywhere at anytime and on average about 5,000 earthquakes occur in the United States each year.
In the past century earthquakes had been registered in 39 of the 50 United States, well over half of the country. Earthquakes measuring at least a 7 on the Richter scale, which measures the magnitude of an earthquake, occurred in both the eastern and central regions of the United States in the 19th century.
Earthquakes can range from barely being able to be felt, to shaking the ground so violently that major buildings collapse to the ground. If you happen to be caught in one of the worse earthquakes your home will surely be damaged.
The most recent earthquake to cause considerable damage to surrounding areas was in Northridge, California in 1994. The earthquake measured at a 6.7 magnitude on the Richter scale and caused almost twenty million dollars in damage in Northridge and the surrounding towns and cities. A major earthquake has the ability to cause billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and entire communities.
The Northridge earthquake only measured a 6.7, but there have been a number of larger earthquakes around the world in subsequent years, including the earthquake centered in the Indian Ocean which caused the Asian tsunami. That earthquake measured a 9 on the Richter scale.
Do not assume that just because your homeowners insurance does not offer coverage for earthquakes that you will not find coverage. Earthquake insurance is available throughout the country for those who wish to protect their homes and possessions from the threat of earthquakes.
Although a considerably low amount of Americans currently have earthquake insurance, if you live in an area that is at high risk of major earthquakes, you would be a fool not to invest in earthquake insurance.
Officials realize how important earthquake insurance is for Americans in certain areas of the country like the west coast. They have made strides in recent years to make cuts on earthquake insurance rates in states like California where it is vital for citizens to consider insuring themselves against the damage of earthquakes.
Earthquake insurance can be relatively easy to get. Other types of disaster insurance not covered in homeowner’s insurance policies, such as flood insurance, are only offered through the government. However, earthquake insurance can be easily obtained through private insurance companies. This makes obtaining earthquake insurance more convenient for the common citizen.
Residents of California can also obtain earthquake insurance policies from the California Earthquake Authority. Earthquake insurance will cover any structural damage to your home and its contents due to the shaking and shifting of the earth caused by earthquakes. Other damage to your home will be covered through your homeowner’s insurance.
Unlike other natural disasters such as major hurricanes and tornadoes, earthquakes of any size cannot be predicted. There is no way for scientists to tell when an earthquake will strike, which is why it is so important for you to be properly prepared for a major destructive earthquake.
If you live in an area with a high risk of earthquake damage, make sure your home and possessions are insured to make certain you are not left with major losses.
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