Though rare, earthquakes happen in NC, heightening need for earthquake insurance

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Many people as far away as Raleigh reported feeling the Sunday’s earthquake in Sparta and while events like are rare, paying for repairs may not be as easy as you think if your home is damaged by the earth’s movements.

The shaking didn’t last long, but it was severe enough to put 10 inch deep cracks in roads and break lots of valuables in both homes and stores.

However, paying for repairs may not come from an insurance claim.

“The homeowner needs to realize the damages will not be covered at all unless you have earthquake coverage,” said North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.

It turns out, there are several types of damage not covered in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. They include:

  • Earthquakes
  • Wind & Hail Damage
  • Floods

All three require a special rider that you pay an extra fee to obtain.

“They’re really not that expensive,” said Causey.

Many people know that places like California are hot-spots for earthquakes, but it turns out we also live in an area that’s geologically active.

“The southern Appalachians seismic zone and the eastern Tennessee seismic zone are all areas we would expect to have problems,” said Dr. Kenneth Taylor, who is the chief state geologist with the US Geological Survey.

And the USGS had been tracking low-level quakes in our area for a while.

“When this earthquake hit on Sunday, according to that site, North Carolina had already experienced 10 earthquakes within the last 30 days,” said Causey.

The commissioner said many homeowners in the area of Sunday’s quake are out of luck.

“Unfortunately most of the ones I’ve heard about in Allegheny County did not have earthquake coverage,” said Causey.

But even if you don’t have earthquake coverage, your homeowner’s insurance will pay for things like damage from a fire caused by an earthquake.

It will also pay expenses incurred if you have to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired from that fire damage.

In addition, your automobile’s comprehensive coverage will also pay for damage to your vehicle which results from a quake.

If you do add an earthquake coverage rider to your homeowner’s policies be aware, deductibles on them are generally higher–anywhere from 5 to 15 percent of the policy limit.

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