This weekend, I was binging on the Netflix show “The Defenders.” In one of the first episodes, an earthquake hits New York City and a character comments: “Not a lot of people have earthquake insurance up here.” This got me thinking about endorsements to policies, and how likely is it that an earthquake large enough to cause property damage will hit the tri-state area?
First, when reading your policy, you will most likely find an exclusion for “earth-movement”, or “shaking or trembling of the earth that is geologic or tectonic in nature; including shock waves or tremors before, during, or after volcanic eruption; and also including after-shocks that occur within a seventy-two hour period following an earthquake.”
If your policy contains such an exclusion, and you have not purchased the separate endorsement for earthquake, should your property be damages by an earthquake, you will not have coverage.
Everyone knows the East Coast has significantly less seismic activity than the West Coast. Not everyone knows New York is riddled with fault lines and has a long history of earthquakes. The New York area has, on average, a moderate quake around 5.0 on the Richter scale, every 100 years. The last one was in 1884. In November, 2017, Delaware suffered a 4.1 earthquake six miles from Dover.
If you want to be covered for earthquake, first read your policy to see if it is excluded. If you are not covered, contact your insurer. While earthquake endorsements in the Pacific Northwest can range from $3-$15 per $1000 in property value, an endorsement in New York can average around 60-90 cents per $1,000.