Project Description

That is the typical response you would expect from someone living in PA, NY, OH, MD, VA, WV. Unfortunately, the afternoon of August 23, 2011 removed any doubt about the possibility of an earthquake in those states when a 5.9 quake in central Virginia shook half of the East coast.
earthquake damageThankfully, our clients escaped most of the damage with only a handful of claims being reported in south-central PA, central MD and northern VA and WV.
The areas that were affected however, will represent a significant financial loss to the building owners as many of them were probably not insured for earthquake damage.
Imagine owning a 24 unit apartment building that is immediately condemned, tenants not even allowed to re-enter and gather personal effects. Even if it only takes three months and $50,000 to repair the damage it could easily take several more months to acquire permits and have structural engineers sign off on the repairs. The lost rent income could easily top $150,000 by the time tenants are allowed to return.
How much would earthquake coverage cost for that building? Around $500 per year.
How is Earthquake Coverage Rated?
Obviously, where you are located in specific geological zones makes a big difference. Outside of that rating factor are the type of building construction and the deductible that you choose.
Construction types include Frame (lowest rate), Joisted Masonry (highest rate) with non-combustable and fire resistive (typically steel buildings) being somewhere in the middle.
Deductibles are chosen as a percentage of the building value. Personal homeowners typically have the choice of 2% and 5% while commercial buildings can go as high as 30 and 40%.
How Soon Can I Buy Earthquake Coverage?
If you’re thinking of calling your agent while the building is shaking you’ve waited a bit too long. In the same way you can’t purchase fire insurance after the building starts to burn, earthquake coverage has a 7 day waiting period after the last aftershock before you can purchase coverage.
If you have any questions or concerns about earthquake coverage feel free to call and discuss it with myself or one of the other agents in our office.
Dean Martin, Commercial Agent
dean (at)