September 24, 2015

Missouri Department of Insurance encourages homeowners to consider earthquake coverage

September is National Preparedness Month

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging homeowners to check their insurance policies for earthquake coverage during National Preparedness Month. Only three out of every 10 homes are covered in Missouri. That number drops to two out of every 10 homes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

The New Madrid area is the most active earthquake zone in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains. Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. Separate earthquake coverage, called an "endorsement," must be purchased.

"Having earthquake coverage is the best way to ensure you and your family, as well as our state, can recover from an earthquake," said Insurance Director John M. Huff. However, the department's 2015 Earthquake Report shows that Missouri is experiencing a coverage crisis.

"We have reached a critical juncture where the amount of uninsured property in Missouri will soon eclipse the amount of insured residential property, estimated at $101 billion. This could jeopardize our ability to fully recover from a major earthquake."

Some homeowners may not buy coverage, expecting the federal government to help rebuild their homes should a major earthquake hit, Huff said. Under FEMA's Individual Assistance program, the maximum grant award is $32,900, far less than what most homes are worth.

To help Missourians find coverage, the department provides an online list of insurance companies that offer earthquake insurance. Consumers with questions about earthquake coverage are encouraged to call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390.

Earthquake Drill Oct. 15
To help prepare Missourians for an earthquake, Missouri's annual statewide earthquake drill is set for Oct. 15 at 10:15 a.m. Hundreds of thousands of Missourians will simultaneously participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut.