February 24, 2014

Missouri Department of Insurance encourages consumers to consider buying earthquake insurance

Most homeowners policies do not include coverage

Jefferson City, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging Missourians to check with their insurance agents to see if their property is covered by earthquake insurance. Most homeowners policies do not include this coverage, which must be purchased separately.

"At a minimum, consumers need to know if their policies include earthquake coverage," said John M. Huff, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance. "Now is the time to check. Consumers who aren't covered are encouraged to buy this extra protection for their homes, businesses and belongings. "

Missouri is home to the New Madrid Seismic Zone, centered in southeast Missouri and the nation's most active earthquake zone east of the Rocky Mountains. At least three of the largest earthquakes ever recorded in the continental United States are believed to have occurred in that area from 1811 to 1812 - the largest occurred on Feb. 7, 1812.

The cost of earthquake coverage has continued to rise, however the cost is still affordable. According to 2012 statistics, if an earthquake strikes along the New Madrid Fault, nearby Mississippi, New Madrid and Pemiscot counties would be hardest hit. However, only 19 percent of homes in Pemiscot County had earthquake coverage, 26 percent in New Madrid County and 27.5 percent in Mississippi County.

The department has additional information about earthquake insurance at insurance.mo.gov/consumers/home/EQTable.php. Consumers with questions about earthquake coverage are encouraged to call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390.