October 07, 2015

Missourians should consider earthquake insurance coverage during Great Central U.S. "ShakeOut" drill

Homeowners insurance coverage does not cover damage from earthquakes

Jefferson City, Mo. - Last week's earthquake that rattled parts of southeast Missouri serves as a reminder for homeowners to check their insurance policies for earthquake coverage. The Missouri Department of Insurance encourages Missourians to consider earthquake coverage and to participate in the upcoming Great Central U.S. "ShakeOut" earthquake drill to prepare for an earthquake.

"Part of being prepared for an earthquake is to make sure you have the right insurance coverage to repair or rebuild your home if there is an earthquake," said Missouri Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff. "I strongly encourage you to check your policy to make sure you do have coverage to protect your home. If you don't, now is the time to talk to your agent about purchasing earthquake coverage."

Most homeowners policies do not cover damage from earthquakes. Separate earthquake coverage, provided through an endorsement, typically must be purchased.

The department recently released its 2015 Earthquake Report. The data in the report suggests southeast Missouri is now facing an earthquake coverage crisis. Only about 30 percent of homes are covered in Missouri. That number drops to 20 percent in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, the most active earthquake zone in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains.

Some homeowners may not buy coverage, expecting the federal government to help rebuild their homes should a major earthquake hit. 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.

More than 400,000 Missourians have already signed up for the Great Central U.S. "ShakeOut" earthquake drill on Oct. 15. at 10:15 a.m. During the "ShakeOut", participants practice the "Drop, Cover and Hold On" technique for 60 seconds. To sign up for the "ShakeOut" visit http://www.shakeout.org/centralus.