A Westchester Earthquake? Remember Aug. 23, 2011?

2013-05-17
By: Advocate Brokerage

Wall Street Burgundy Frame

(In the photo above, businesspeople gathering outside 40 Wall Street in New York City on August 23, 2011, in the wake of a 5.8 earthquake in Virginia. Photo by Ace Tabak, via Wikipedia)

Many homeowners learned a valuable lesson during Hurricane Sandy – have insurance for the unexpected.  Policy owners with the foresight to have flood insurance basically rode out the storm.

So what other catastrophes should one prepare for in the future?  Did you know that between 1970 and 2006 there are have been 25 earthquakes reported in Westchester according to instruments a Lamont-Doherty Observatory in RocklandCounty.  Granted, they have been on a small magnitude and did not cause widespread damage.  But the fact remains, earthquakes can happen in Westchester and a basic homeowner’s policy does not provide coverage.

Earthquake insurance is not expensive. It is usually around $.50 per $1,000 of a home’s value. If a home is insured for $500,000, the earthquake insurance would be $250 a year.  There is always a rather high deductible for these policies usually at around 2% of a dwelling’s value.

But structure damage from an earthquake can be substantial.  Even a small quake can do enough damage to a home that would make it unsafe to live in.  Most earthquake insurance includes coverage for living expenses while a home is being repaired as well as increased costs to meet new building codes and cost to stabilize the land under a residence.

It may seem far fetched to have earthquake insurance in WestchesterCounty.  But the fact remains that earthquakes have happened here and the damage they inflect can destroy a home. While California carries two-thirds of the earthquake risk, the magnitude of the 5.8 quake that hit Virginia in 2011 is a reminder that we are all vulnerable.

Spring is a good time to review all your insurance coverage to protect you and your property from all kinds of disasters.  Ask yourself if it is worth the additional cost to protect your property from an earthquake.

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