Most Utah Homeowners Don’t Buy Earthquake Coverage

February 26, 2008

That earthquake in eastern Nevada last week may be a bit of a wake-up call for Utah homeowners.

According to the Utah Department of Insurance, most homeowners in the state don’t have coverage for earthquakes. Like floods, earthquakes are a natural disaster that aren’t covered in regular homeowners’ policies.

The insurance is available for an extra fee. And most people don’t have it.

“If you took an overall average, you’d probably be somewhere around 15 to 20 percent,” said Brad Tibbitts, director of the life and property casualty division of the Department of Insurance.

Since the earthquake in Wells, Nev. last Thursday, Tibbitts said Utah property owners have been seriously considering whether to purchase quake insurance or risk continuing without it. He said the main reason most people do without earthquake protection is because it is not required by law and costs extra.

“People should sit down with their agent and figure out what their exposures are and their needs for coverage,” he said.

Tibbetts said all but two insurance companies doing business in Utah offer earthquake protection, but few have added it to their policies.

California, where earthquakes are much more common, developed a state Earthquake Authority that writes policies for property owners through an independent insurance company.

“They underwrite this program for them, and they’ve only got a 14 percent participation rate in the state of California,” Tibbitts noted. “People just don’t take it seriously.”

He added that people would regret that decision if they were ever in the situation of losing their home in an earthquake.

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Information from: Deseret Morning News,
http://www.deseretnews.com

Topics Catastrophe Natural Disasters Homeowners Earthquake Utah

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