Should you have additional earthquake insurance?

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Earthquake InsuranceThe August 23, 2011 earthquake on the East Coast seems to have opened the eyes of the country to show them that California isn’t the only state that can experience a quake. This is making an increasing number of people wonder if earthquake insurance should be added to their coverage, even if they’re not living in a zone that they’d previously considered to be seismically active.

Reports poured in from Georgia, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and other areas, saying that they also felt the tremors. Though there has not been any news of notable damage that resulted from the quake, it has raised the issue as to whether or not people in those areas are prepared for such an event, and whether they would have been properly covered if devastation had occurred.

As standard business and homeowners insurance policies don’t cover earthquake damage, many are now wondering if they should be considering additional coverage. According to director of personal lines policies Chris Hackett, from the trade group Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, those policies don’t cover any movements of the earth from earthquakes to sinkholes. That said, some coverage is provided for fires that have been caused by a tremor.

The Insurance Information Institute says that every year, the United States experiences approximately 5,000 earthquakes which range in their magnitudes. Since 1900, 39 states have experienced some type of quake. Therefore, even individuals who do not reside in a prime area for the events should not consider themselves entirely immune. Additional coverage for earthquakes can be added to existing property insurance by purchasing it as a rider.

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