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Are You Protected in an Earthquake?

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Earthquakes are devastating events, as we were all reminded by the terrible tragedy in central Italy just last week.

Regions of British Columbia, especially along the coast, are at risk of a major earthquake. Those of us living in these areas are well aware of the risks and the need to be prepared. An important component of being prepared is having the appropriate earthquake insurance to cover the loss and damage to property and contents caused by shaking of the earth. That’s because insurance coverage for earthquake damage is not included in a standard home insurance policy.

Insurance coverage for earthquake damage is not included in a standard home insurance policy.

Earthquake insurance must be purchased as an add-on to an existing homeowner, condo or tenant policy, and as you might expect, the deductible is higher.

Why This Coverage Matters to You

Earthquake insurance covers costs such as:

  • Removal of debris or demolition of the entire home, if necessary.
  • Rebuilding the home or damaged parts.
  • Living expenses at another location during the rebuilding of the residence — which could take much longer than usual because of the immense amount of reconstruction necessary after an earthquake.
  • Replacement of appliances, furniture, and everything else that was destroyed. Without insurance, all those costs would have to be paid by the owner.
  • Earthquake coverage is also available for Commercial buildings and most businesses.

Startling Statistics

Here’s why Earthquake Coverage matters

More than 55 percent of British Columbians have no earthquake insurance. If a 9.0 magnitude earthquake occurred 75 kilometres off the west coast of Vancouver Island, the economic impacts would include:

  • $75 billion in overall economic loss
  • $20 billion insured losses
  • 56% of losses would be buildings
  • 29.5% of losses would be contents
  • 14.6% of losses would involve direct business interruption

Will Insurance Companies Have Enough Money?

Insurance companies should not run out of money to cover insured losses in a major earthquake because they must insure through other worldwide insurance companies, called “reinsurance companies,” to ensure adequate funds are available.

What Are the Chances?

How likely are we to have a major earthquake?

Did you know that every year, more than 1200 earthquakes occur in BC? Every 10 years, larger earthquakes that can cause damage to buildings are expected. Every 100 years, more detrimental earthquakes that affect infrastructure and lives, are possible.

As an example of the frequency of earthquakes of at least 1.5 magnitude during the most recent month, the following occurred in or close to Southern BC :

  • Aug 2 — 2.2 magnitude earthquake, 0.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 31 — 2.2 magnitude earthquake, 12.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 26 — 1.9 magnitude earthquake, 10.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 25 — 2.4 magnitude earthquake, 8.2 km from Oliver, BC
  • July 23 — 1.8 magnitude earthquake, 5.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 18 — 1.6 magnitude earthquake, 1.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 17 — 1.6 magnitude earthquake, 9.2 km from Sudden Valley, WA
  • July 17 — 2.2 magnitude earthquake, 11.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 16 — 3.2 magnitude earthquake, 28.2 km from Coquitlam, BC
  • July 16 — 1.6 magnitude earthquake, 9.2 km from Nanaimo, BC
  • July 10 — 2.0 magnitude earthquake, 5.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 9 — 1.9 magnitude earthquake, 25.2 km from Peaceful Valley, WA
  • July 4 — 1.9 magnitude earthquake, 4.2 km from Princeton, BC
  • July 3 — 2.0 magnitude earthquake, 6.2 km from Princeton, BC

While the exact timing or magnitude of earthquakes is impossible to predict, Natural Resources Canada suggests a 30 percent chance of a significant earthquake off the coast of British Columbia in the next 50 years.

If you don’t already have earthquake insurance, or you’re uncertain if you have adequate coverage, please contact your Murrick Insurance Agent. You don’t have to wait until you renew your homeowner, condo, or tenant policy to add earthquake insurance.


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