Earthquakes don't have to be the city-swallowing, catastrophic events depicted in movies and television shows to cause extensive damage. The more scientists learn about these seismic events, the more they warn that West Coast residents aren't the only ones at risk. Is Washington, DC safe from earthquakes, or do cinematic special effects showing the Washington Monument being devoured by colliding tectonic plates hit closer to the mark? Are you protected against earthquake damage with a proper insurance policy?
Before you search for earthquake insurance quotes, there are several factors to consider.
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A History of Earthquakes in Washington, DC
According to the U.S.Geological Survey, the first recorded earthquake to be felt by residents of Washington, DC was in 1758.
- A tremor in May 1897 cracked old brick houses and chimneys, threw bricks from chimney tops, and created slight ground fissures.
- Dozens more tremors have occurred through the centuries.
- One of the most recent shockwaves to be felt in the DC area was a 3.6 magnitude earthquake centered in Montgomery County.
Why is Earthquake Insurance Important?
Earthquakes are usually not covered by basic homeowners insurance policies. Many insurance providers offer what's called a catastophic insurance rider to provide some level of extra insurance to homeowners to cover earthquake damage.
This coverage generally comes with a high deductible, but will provide extra liability coverage in the event that your home is destroyed following a severe seismic event.
No two earthquake insurance policies are alike and many of them are extremely complex, so it's important to carefully review your coverage options and speak with a knowledgeable insurance agent to find the best policy to meet your needs.
What Does Earthquake Insurance Cover?
Most insurance providers place dollar limits on what you can cover with an earthquake insurance policy.
- The structure itself should be covered at the cost to rebuild your home.
- Contents will be subject to limitations, typically about 50 to 70 percent of the structure limits.
If you own many valuable possessions, it may be a good idea to purchase extra insurance with a separate contents coverage rider to protect these assets.
How Can I Mitigate My Risks?
Older homes and brick homes are at higher risk for damage from tremors and earthquakes, as they are prone to cracking and falling debris can easily damage the exterior.
Some insurance providers give homeowners discounts on their earthquake policies when they retrofit their older homes to better fit current earthquake standards. If you bolt the home to the foundation or brace cripple walls with plywood and strap water heaters to the home's structure, you may qualify for such discounts.
Regardless of whether you choose to buy a quake policy, these are smart moves that can help you reduce your losses in a major quake.
What Will My Earthquake Insurance Quote Look Like?
You may hesitate at the first few earthquake insurance quotes you see, but because your home is probably your biggest investment, extra liability coverage for protection from natural disasters is necessary. Homes that are located directly over or near a known fault line have the highest risk of damage, and policies for these homeowners often come with high premium quotes.
Fortunately, even though Washington, DC has experienced hundreds of earthquakes, it is not located directly above a known fault line. In fact, its location in the middle of a tectonic plate makes it a somewhat more stable area than, say, California. Quotes for earthquake coverage in the DC area are far lower than those on the West Coast.
Where Can I Find Earthquake Insurance Quotes?
Walking the shaky ground of a neighborhood after an earthquake is almost as hard as navigating the pros and cons of catastrophic insurance coverage. Knowledgeable independent insurance agents on the Trusted Choice® network are always here to help answer any questions you have, suggest coverage options that would protect you from earthquake damage, and even assist you in filing a claim following a seismic event.
These agents have years of experience working with Washington, DC insurance providers, enabling them to find the best coverage options at the most competitive rates. Contact a Trusted Choice agent near you to start reviewing a number of quotes from a variety of providers to find the best earthquake insurance coverage that meets your needs and budget.