The Utah Seismic Safety Commission states that at least 90 percent of the state’s population lives in an earthquake zone. In Utah, there is a seismic belt that ranges 100 miles wide and runs north to south along the Wasatch front. The fault line runs through Richfield to Cedar City and on to St. George. Drive up the canyons outside of Salt Lake City, and you will see markers that indicate fault lines running through mountains and across roads. Don’t believe you live in a seismic area?

According to the Utah Division of Emergency Management, 140 earthquakes have hit Utah in two weeks. Quakes in Bluffdale were felt as far away as South Salt Lake. A 4.0 magnitude quake in Kanosh on February 20 prompted statewide concern that the “big” one may be on the way. The Working Group on Utah Earthquake Probabilities or WGUEP states that there is a 57% likelihood of one or even more M6.0 or higher quakes will occur in the region in the next 50 years. Joe Dougherty of the Utah Department of Emergency Management said, “It has been about 300years since the last one happened, and they happen about every 300 years along the Wasatch fault.”

Utah has a big problem geologically speaking. Most northern Utah valleys were part of Lake Bonneville at one time, and these valleys fall into liquefaction zones. Liquefaction zones mean your home can tilt in an earthquake. Build your home on bedrock if you can. Bedrock transfers energy faster, and a house on bedrock will withstand earthquakes much better than homes in a liquified zone.

A good insurance risk manager in Utah lists eight things you need to know about earthquake insurance.

  1. Deductibles. There are deductibles with earthquake insurance, and earthquake coverage is based on the percentage of your overall policy limit. If your home is insured to $250,000, quake insurance deductibles may amount to 15% of that or $37,500.
  2. Personal possessions are covered with earthquake insurance, but contents are covered to a set dollar amount. The amounts vary, but one example is $5,000. If you lose your big screen television in a quake, you might not get reimbursed for the damage. You can opt for increased coverage. Discuss this option with the proper insurance manager.
  3. Exclusions are in every policy, and there are additional exclusions in an earthquake policy. Most quake policies do not cover the loss of fences, separate structure, pools or landscaping. The policy may also exclude claims for broken dishes, crystal, and chandeliers.
  4. Loss of use is standard in a homeowner’s policy, and you may be put up in alternative lodgings. Unfortunately, the loss of use limits in quake insurance policies are restrictive. The loss of use coverage is set at a specific dollar amount and may be as low as $1,500.
  5. Mitigating risks can be given to homes owners if you do some work on your home to make it earthquake safe. As an example, the California earthquake authority often gives discounts to homeowners on their insurance policies when older homes are retrofitted to match the current earthquake standards. Retrofits might include bolting your home to the home’s foundation, fastening water heaters to the home’s structure, and bracing cripple walls with plywood. You might also want to add locks and latches to china cabinets and use museum putty to secure breakables. These retrofits are a good move if you are afraid of earthquakes.
  6. Those who suffer catastrophic claims are those who live in houses built on ground that is prone to liquefaction – most of Utah earthquake zones. Those who have older homes that have cripple walls and unbolted foundations are also at a significant risk of catastrophic claims. If you fit this profile, investigate earthquake insurance from the best risk manager in Utah.
  7. Uncovered losses that you pay to fix don’t count toward deductibles. It doesn’t matter if you have $50,000 in uncovered losses to your personal effects, fences or patio; these damages and repairs will not satisfy the deductibles listed on an earthquake policy. However, policies can all be very different, so read ours carefully and consult with a good insurance risk manager in Utah. You don’t want the out of pocket expenses to devastate your life. The damages and stresses of an earthquake are terrible enough.

A good insurance risk manager in Utah can advise you of these problems and help you find the best policy that fits your budget.  Be aware that all insurance companies will allow you to add earthquake coverage to your homeowner’s policies. There are, however, insurance companies that will cover natural disasters to help with coverage. Your best policy is to talk with the proper insurance manager to get your best options.

Earthquakes are challenging to predict and are often random. Consider earthquake insurance. A good insurance risk manager will help you find the best policy that takes into consideration temporary housing, transportation, and meals until you can move back into your home. You can look at packaging the earthquake insurance with your standard home insurance policy or help you find stand-alone natural disaster coverage.