Nevada Officials Expect Interest in Quake Coverage to Rise

July 15, 2019

Few Nevada residents and businesses have earthquake coverage, but insurance officials said they are expecting interest to increase after the two California earthquakes that rattled the region.

The magnitude 6.4 and magnitude 7.1 quakes in the Southern California desert last week were felt in Las Vegas, more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) from the epicenter, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Most residents in the state have not thought earthquake insurance worth the cost, said Virginia Chatwin, owner of Centurion Insurance Services in Henderson. For homeowners paying between $700 and $1,000 for annual home insurance, quake coverage can run an extra $300 to $500, she said.

“Hardly anyone has earthquake coverage,” Chatwin said. “Most people don’t want to pay.”

More homeowners will likely consider buying the additional coverage following the California quakes, Nevada Insurance Commissioner Barbara Richardson said.

“Any time there’s any kind of natural disaster of any sort, we see an increase in interest in folks actually trying to figure out whether or not the risk to them is worth the purchase,” Richardson said.

Nevada comes in third, falling behind Alaska and California, for earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or higher, according to a 2016 report from the state Division of Insurance. But the fault lines in the state are not near populated areas, Richardson said.

“Just because the state is prone to earthquakes doesn’t mean the population is prone to being affected by the earthquake,” Richardson said.

Homeowners looking to add coverage will have to wait, said Rachael Rizzi, vice president of sales and marketing for Branch Benefits Consultants, a Las Vegas-based independent insurance agency.

“Most carriers have declared a moratorium on issuing new policies, which will typically last for the next 30 (to) 60 days, depending upon the seismic activity from aftershocks,” Rizzi said.

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