Do I need earthquake insurance in Kentucky?

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Do I need earthquake insurance in Kentucky?

Kentucky may not be known as earthquake country, but it turns out 34 counties in the Commonwealth have actually experienced an earthquake.  This begs the question: Do Kentuckians need earthquake insurance? The short answer is yes, but not in all cases.

This may be an issue because most traditional homeowners insurance policies do not cover damages caused by movement of the earth, which includes damages sustained from an earthquake. Foundation and wall damage, as well as the value of any contents that are damaged or destroyed, would not be covered.  The insured would have to pay “out of pocket” to repair and/or replace anything destroyed or damaged.  Homeowners living in Kentucky, who feel they are at risk of enduring an earthquake, need at least some coverage in order to protect themselves in the event of this natural disaster.

So which areas of Kentucky are vulnerable?

Residents of Western Kentucky are particularly at risk of an earthquake due to the region’s proximity to the New Madrid Fault Line, one of the United States’ most noteworthy seismic zones. The fault line dates back to the early 1800s, and has been the cause of a handful of serious earthquakes and many more small earthquakes during the past 200 plus years.  The line stretches from New Madrid, Missouri, through seven states, to Mississippi, and it runs right through the heart of Western Kentucky, leaving the region vulnerable.  In today’s scale, these earthquakes registered anywhere from 7- 8, resulting in major damage. The chances of another earthquake occurring are high. Now that you have the option of purchasing earthquake insurance, you may want to take advantage of it if you live in the western part of the state.

In Kentucky, earthquake insurance rates are determined by two factors: the type of home you own and where in the state that home is located. As you might have guessed, residents in Western Kentucky normally pay higher premiums for earthquake insurance than residents from other parts of the state.

However, the type of home you live in can also have a major bearing on your insurance premium and the amount of damage you sustain in the event of an earthquake.

  • If your home is built on sturdy ground and meets all building codes, it can likely withstand a minor earthquake or at least keep damages below a standard earthquake insurance deductible.
  • However, if a home is built on less sturdy ground, the side of a hill, for example, it is much more vulnerable to earthquake damage should one occur.
  • Newer homes with stronger foundations are more likely to remain durable during an earthquake than an older home
  • Homes with raised foundations are more vulnerable than homes built at grade.
  • Multiple stories are more vulnerable than single-story homes
  • Wooden homes are sturdier in an earthquake than masonry homes.

Ultimately, there is no law requiring Kentucky homeowners to maintain earthquake insurance, but that does not mean there isn’t a risk. Owners of older homes, especially on the Western side of the commonwealth, should consider adding earthquake insurance to their coverage.

The insurance professionals at Foundation Insurance Group, located in St Matthews, and serving the greater Louisville area, are always available to discuss and advise you on your homeowners insurance needs.  They are happy to review your current homeowners policy and make recommendations to ensure you are fully covered and protected.  Contact an agent today and ask about adding earthquake insurance.

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