Located in the New Madrid seismic zone, Arkansas is no stranger to earthquakes. In fact, great shocks estimated at magnitude 7.5 occurred in the northeast section of the state in 1811 and 1812. These earthquakes created Lake Saint Francis, which is 40 miles long and half a mile wide. What if another series of major earthquakes were to strike this region? Would your business or family be prepared? Before you search for earthquake insurance quotes, there are several factors to consider.
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Arkansas Earthquake History
According to the U.S. Geological Survey:
- An earthquake occurred near Melbourne, about 95 miles northeast of Little Rock, in December 1883. Rockslides occurred on a railroad cut, and thunderous earth noises were heard. Glassware and crockery broke, and buildings shook in Melbourne.
- A shock in March 1911, about 40 miles south of Little Rock, was so severe at Pine Bluff that hundreds of excited residents crowded into the streets in panic; windows were broken in several sections of the city. At one school, walls cracked, and plaster fell on pupils.
- During the period 1911 to 1933, two local intensity V earthquakes centered in the Black Rock - Pocahontas area of northeastern AR; two additional intensity V tremors were noted, one near Little Rock, the other near Marked Tree, and both were felt over an area of 30,000 square miles.
- One of the few earthquakes to center in southwestern Arkansas occurred in June 1939. It cracked plaster in buildings at Arkadelphia, and was felt throughout the southern portion of AR.
- On January 1, 1969, a tremor centered about 19 miles northwest of Little Rock caused much commotion in the area. In Little Rock, plaster cracked and furniture was moved about in some homes; trees and utility wires swayed and shook throughout a wide area.
- AR experiences dozens of smaller earthquakes each year.
What Is Earthquake Insurance?
Earthquake insurance is a type of catastrophic coverage that can help you pay for repairs to your home or business following a seismic event. Traditional homeowners and business property damage insurance policies do not cover claims for earthquake damage. For residents and business owners in states like Arkansas where earthquakes and tremors are very common, it's the kind of extra liability insurance that you don't want to be without when disaster strikes.
What Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?
Many insurance providers offer riders to provide some level of earthquake insurance to homeowners. These policies usually have high deductibles, but will provide substantial coverage in the event that your home is destroyed as a result of a significant earthquake.
Earthquake insurance generally includes coverage for:
- Damage to the foundation
- Damage to the basement
- Damage to the overall structure of the home
- Damage to the interior of the home.
Most insurance companies will give you extra insurance coverage options for your earthquake insurance as well. For example, some policies will cover accessory structures such as garages, while others may only cover damage to the home. Also, some of the more comprehensive plans will provide coverage for personal belongings in your home.
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What Are the Deductibles for Earthquake Insurance?
The amount of money you have to shoulder without help from insurance is called a "deductible." With a standard homeowners policy, you decide on the amount in dollars. In other words, you can choose a $500 deductible or a $2,500 deductible. A higher deductible will land you a lower annual insurance quote, but you should be sure the amount you choose is one you could comfortably afford to pay should you need to file a claim.
With earthquake coverage, your deductible is based on a percentage of your overall policy limit. For example, if the structure of your home is insured up to $500,000, the quake insurance deductible will typically be 15 percent of that, or $75,000. In some cases, you can choose a lower deductible, such as 10 percent of the structure limits, but this deductible will almost always be set as a percentage of the policy limit. Some insurance providers allow you to choose an even lower deductible, so be sure to shop around and compare several quotes from various insurance companies.
How Does Earthquake Contents Coverage Work?
Every insurance policy excludes some items from coverage or sets specific limits on how much the homeowner could be reimbursed for damages. For example, a typical homeowners policy will only cover jewelry and furs to $1,000, firearms to $2,000, and silverware to $2,500. If you have expensive furs or home office equipment, you would need a separate rider to get the extra insurance coverage you need.
With quake coverage, there are additional exclusions. For instance, a typical earthquake insurance policy does not cover the loss of landscaping, pools, fences, and separate structures like garages, and is likely to exclude claims for broken chandeliers, crystal and china.
What Will My Earthquake Insurance Quote Look Like?
Earthquake insurance can seem expensive, particularly in the areas where you are most likely to need it. In areas like the east coast, where seismic activity is rare, you can find quotes for as little as 50 cents per $1,000 in coverage, or about $250 annually for $500,000 in coverage. But on the West Coast, where earthquakes are quite common, you will find quotes around $15 per $1,000 in coverage, or roughly $7,500 for a $500,000 policy. Arkansas falls somewhere between California and Minnesota in terms of earthquakes, however. Therefore, earthquake insurance quotes in Arkansas are typically around $400 or $500 a year, which is quite affordable for the protection it offers.
Where Can I Find Earthquake Insurance?
The last thing you want to worry about as you lead your family to safety during the next big quake is if your insurance policy will help you rebuild. Knowledgeable, independent insurance agents on the Trusted Choice® network are always available to answer your questions, suggest coverage options, and even assist you in filing a claim.
These agents have years of experience working with Arkansas insurance companies, enabling them to find you a number of quotes with the best coverage options at the most affordable rates. Talk with an independent agent near you to find out how you can obtain the perfect earthquake insurance policy that meets your needs and budget.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
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