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Earthquake!

Just a few weeks ago two small earthquakes were recorded off the coast by experts at Boston College’s Weston observatory.

Earthquake?! We don’t need to worry about those in New England….or do we?  Just a few weeks ago two small earthquakes were recorded off the coast by experts at Boston College’s Weston observatory. In fact, did you know that annually 30 to 40 earthquakes strike New England, with a major earthquake striking New England every 500 to 900 years? The odds of one happening tomorrow are 1 in 255,500. That's better than the odds of being hit by lightning this year (1 in 700,000)!

We like to think of earthquakes as a west coast phenomenon, but we are not immune. Ah you say, but I have homeowner’s insurance to cover my costs in the event of an earthquake.  Do you know how much a standard homeowner’s policy covers in the event of an earthquake? The answer is easy- NOTHING.  Yes, I said nothing. A basic Massachusetts Homeowner’s insurance policy   does not cover what is referred to as “Acts of God”, which include earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, or any other natural disaster.  On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 earthquake struck the Washington, D.C. area and many homeowner’s found that the unusual incident was not covered by their insurance policies. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the August 23, 2011 earthquake may have caused $200 million to $300 million in damage across the East Coast.

Does this mean that you will be left to pay out-of-pocket costs in the event that your home is damaged by an earthquake? The good news is no! You need not be financially burdened with potentially overwhelming costs of post earthquake damages. Provided you purchase a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover you.  It’s actually not very expensive to buy a rider to your existing coverage. In many cases, the cost may only be $100 – $200.

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Monica September 20, 2012 at 09:45 PM
You are correct, a standard form doesn't cover earthquake or flood - these need separate riders. However, the form most people have (HO3) should cover windstorms (hurricanes and tornados). Actually, basic should as well (HO1 and HO2), but I don't think HO1 is available in MA.
Carlos Vargas September 21, 2012 at 11:21 AM
Hi Monica, you are correct. In Mass the policy options available are HO2, HO3 and an HO5, and an earthquake rider can be added to all three policy types. Flood insurance is not a rider but a separate policy, many home owners are under the impression that if they are not in a flood zone, they do not qualify for flood insurance, this is not so, everyone qualifies for flood insurance, if you are not in a flood zone, the premium is very reasonable. Thank you for your comment.

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