NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Did you know that in 1811 and 1812, a series of earthquakes along the New Madrid fault shook the ground so hard that sidewalks cracked in Washington D.C. and church bells rang on the East Coast from the shaking?
In fact, the region shook so heavily that it created Reelfoot Lake, now a state park in northwestern Tennessee.
With there being some serious earthquakes around the globe in the past few days, it got us thinking about how we can prepare for one here in Tennessee.
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“Earthquake insurance is not something that is typically found in a normal homeowners insurance policy,” Tennessee Dept. of Commerce & Insurance spokesman, Kevin Walters, said.
It’s not something you might typically think about, but earthquake insurance might actually be worth a look in Tennessee.
Tennessee sits on two fault lines, the New Madrid fault line in Western Tennessee and the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone.
A serious earthquake along either one, particularly the New Madrid, would mean significant damage for an enormous number of people.
“We have millions of consumers living along both those fault lines,” Walters said. “A catastrophic earthquake is something that scientists are saying could happen. Is it likely to happen? Probably not.”
Walters said he’s not trying to stoke fear, he just wants people to be prepared for anything and to be able to recoup significantly in a loss.
“If you had an earthquake that affected your home and property, your homeowner’s policy would not cover it,” he said.
If you’re interested, there’s a whole guide to earthquake insurance on the department’s website.
Understanding your deductible is an important point. Most policies’ deductibles are about 10-20% of your home’s value. So, if your home is worth about $300,000 and your deductible is 10%, you’d have to pay the first $30,000. Though it does seem expensive, it’s likely a drop in the bucket if there’s a serious disaster.
“Most of the time you are talking about a total loss, and that could be absolutely catastrophic for most people,” Walters said. “They wouldn’t be able to get anything back, and if they don’t have an earthquake policy, they’re not going to be able to make a claim.”
Walters’s department does not sell the insurance, they simply regulate it for consumers.