Earthquake in Maryland, DC. Are You Covered If A Quake Strikes Your Hometown?

Earthquake in Maryland, DC. Are You Covered If A Quake Strikes Your Hometown?

This morning the Washington area was shaking—not because the Senate passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—but because of a 3.6 magnitude earthquake, which hit at 5:04 a.m.

President Obama didn't feel the quake but thousands of others did. Within hours of it striking over 13,000 people reported it to the U.S. Geological Survey's site. Some of those people were as far away as in Pennsylvania. Though this is the strongest quake in the region to hit since 1974, when records were first kept, there have been a few tremors felt since. This was the second summer quake to affect the eastern seaboard; in June, a 5.0 magnitude quake in Canada sent tremors as far south as New York.

That brings up the question: What kind of coverage, if any, do you need? Even if your area isn't what you'd think of as typical earthquake zone—Washington?—you need to educate yourself on what you need and what you don't. (Read up on our Insurance Basicsabout homeowner's insurance and for renter's insurance to get a good start.)

It's important to know that typical home insurance policies do not cover costs associated with earthquake damage. In California, which very much is an earthquake zone, only 12% of residents have earthquake insurance. When you consider the cost, more than $700 annually, on average, from the California Earthquake Authority, you can see why people might put it off. (Although, in most other states it can be had for a tenth of that price.)

Of course, money up front can save you from paying more money down the road. Considering that the majority of Americans live in potential earthquake zones (that often they don't realize are) it's something to look into. Start your decision-making process by contacting your state's insurance commissioner for more information and by reading our Insurance Basics.

Do you think you need earthquake insurance? Let us know in the comments.

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