You can do many things in Virginia to protect yourself from earthquakes such as having an escape plan, practicing earthquake drills and having first aid kits in your home and car. But one major and often overlooked way to protect yourself is having earthquake insurance. Before you look into getting quotes for an earthquake insurance policy, make sure you have information regarding expected coverage, cost and safety tips.
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Earthquake Activity in Virginia
- In 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Virginia, along with aftershocks up to 4.5 in magnitude.
- In 2003, there was a 4.5 magnitude earthquake just 30 miles away from Richmond.
- Since 1950, there have been eight earthquakes in Virginia. The majority of these occurred within the last five years.
- Virginia has its own seismic zone, ranging 8,000 miles in the Piedmont province.
Earthquakes can be terrifying, and the aftershocks can cause just as much damage as the main earthquake.
What Is Earthquake Insurance?
Many homeowners are under the impression that their homeowners insurance will cover damage from an earthquake. Unfortunately, this isn't the case. Many homeowners insurance policies specifically exclude damage from earthquakes and floods. This leaves many VA homeowners paying out of pocket for damage caused by an earthquake. Even a small tremor can cause a cracked foundation, structural damage or destruction of property.
Earthquake insurance is extra insurance that you can add to your homeowners policy. Typically, earthquake insurance can cover the following:
- Damage to the foundation
- Damage to walls and fixtures
- Damage to personal property
This coverage may have a high deductible, but home repairs, like fixing a cracked foundation, can be incredibly expensive. Also, some earthquake policies may cover damage to attached structures, such as garages, while other policies will not. It's important to be sure that you cover all your usable property when shopping for earthquake insurance.
How Much Are Typical Earthquake Insurance Quotes?
Just as every home is different, every earthquake policy is different. Your earthquake insurance cost may differ from your neighbor's, depending on specific factors. When shopping for earthquake insurance quotes, it's important to be familiar with the following information and have it ready when getting quotes:
- Location of home
- Home's value
- Home's building materials
- Any attached or detached structures you'd like covered
- Number of levels in home
- Value of contents
When estimating the value of your home's contents, it's important to get an accurate total. Before getting quotes for earthquake insurance, be sure to take a home inventory. This means going through all the rooms in your house and assigning everything a value. This includes taking pictures of expensive items, writing down serial numbers and making sure that your estimates are accurate.
What About Your Car/Boat/RV?
Your car, boat or RV may have coverage against earthquake damage if you have comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage includes "everything but collision." If you secured a loan in order to purchase your car, boat or RV, you may have been required to get this insurance before taking possession of the item. However, if you just have extra liability insurance on your car, boat or RV, that insurance will not cover any earthquake damage you may incur.
Earthquake Safety Tips
It's important to protect yourself before an earthquake strikes. Here are a few tips from Ready.gov and National Geographic to keeping yourself and your family safe when an earthquake occurs:
- Duck and cover: When you first feel the shaking, get under a table or desk on your knees, with your arms covering the back of your neck. If there is no table around, prop yourself in a doorway.
- Remain indoors: Never go outside during an earthquake.
- Have first aid available: Always have first aid kits and fire extinguishers stocked and ready in your home.
- Don't move: Once you find a safe spot, don't move from it until after the earthquake has passed. When the shaking has stopped, survey your surroundings before moving. Take note of anything that may fall.
- Protect your lungs: If items or parts of the home have fallen, cover your mouth with a handkerchief or the sleeve of your shirt.
- Don't light a fire: Don't use matches or lighters inside after an earthquake. One of the most reported emergencies after an earthquake is fire. If you smell gas or methane, leave the area immediately.
How Do You Get Earthquake Insurance in Virginia?
Whether you currently have earthquake insurance or you're just beginning your search, a Trusted Choice® agent is always available to help you. From answering questions to recommending coverage, Trusted Choice is there to make sure you and your family have coverage.
Contact your local Trusted Choice representative for information and coverage options and for quotes.