Unless you live in California or on the West Coast, you may not give a second thought to experiencing an earthquake, but maybe you should. In August, North Carolina experienced an earthquake in Sparta of a magnitude of 5.2 and could be felt as far as 300 miles away. Consider this your wakeup call. Earthquakes can happen in any state and if it does, are you prepared for damages to your home/property that may ensue as a direct result?
Does Your Homeowners Insurance Protection Include Damages from Earthquakes?
A standard N.C. Homeowners Insurance Policy typically excludes coverage for damages from earthquakes but can be added by an endorsement for a nominal fee. Prior to August 2020, very few people purchased this type of coverage add-on, but you can bet more homeowners will now reconsider. If you want to discuss coverage for earthquakes, it is recommended you contact your local N.C. independent insurance agent to discuss provisions and conditions of this type of disaster coverage.
There are typically varying deductibles and amounts of available coverage and your independent insurance agent can assist in finding the coverage that best suits your particular concerns and needs. *Some exclusions may apply to earthquake coverage so make sure you are familiar with what this endorsement covers and what is still excluded.
Safety Precautions to Take Prior to an Earthquake- Look around your home and consider the things on the wall and ceiling that could be shaken due to an earthquake, such as ceiling fans, pictures, artwork, and cabinetry. Below are some common concerns you may need to address to protect your home before an earthquake happens:
- Secure or anchor anything that is not permanently attached to the walls and ceilings, such as free standing bookcases, ceiling fans, and lighting.
- Contact a foundation expert to recommend ways of adding extra support to your home foundation.
- Brace unreinforced walls, chimneys, and foundation(s).
- Consult with a licensed N.C. home building contractor for recommendations on how to best protect your home and take action to reinforce walls, foundation, and ceilings.
- Anchor large appliances/water heaters to walls using safety straps.
- Lock the wheels of any furniture you have to avoid movement.
Safety Procedures to Follow During an Earthquake- If an earthquake happens, you need to know some specific safety guidelines in an effort to protect your family and home.
- If you are outside, move away from trees, electrical lines, buildings, or anything that could subsequently fall.
- If you are inside, stay there and move away from windows, cabinets, or anything that could topple.
- Stop and drop to the floor until the shaking subsides.
- If you are in your car, pull over safely to the side of the road (away from bridges, trees, signs or power lines) and stop. Do NOT resume driving until the shaking stops but make sure you exercise caution to avoid any road damages.
Recommendations to Follow After an Earthquake- Following an earthquake, it is understood you may be “shaken up” but you need to make sure you protect yourself and your home from further damages following the earthquake. Below are some recommended steps to follow:
- Contact your local N.C. independent insurance agent
- Take pictures of all the damages for documentation
- Board up and/or cover any damaged windows, doors, or roof
- Clean up and remove debris
- Don’t make any repairs until an adjuster has inspected the damages unless it is necessary to mitigate your damages
- Keep all receipts of any necessary repairs
- Separate all contents/items damaged into one area for inspection purposes
Don’t Get Shaken Up- Let Us Assist You with the Right Earthquake Protection
If you are considering adding earthquake insurance protection to your existing N.C. homeowner’s insurance policy, call us at Twin City Insurance Agency at 828-464-2643. We can sit down with you to review available options to find the protection you need for earthquake-related damage. Prepare today for what could happen tomorrow.
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