Tennessee homeowners have a lot of options when it comes to homeowner’s insurance. To add to the confusion, some insurance companies are more competitive in different parts of Tennessee and can even be priced differently in neighboring zip codes. Collierville and Germantown might have lower rates than Memphis with some carriers and vice versa with…
Do I need Earthquake Insurance in Collierville, TN?
Sometimes, it probably feels like your insurance agent might be trying to either up-sell you or scare you into buying something you don't need.
However, anyone that has lived here for a long enough time remembers the "Big One" scare that we got in the early 1990's. This was when a guy that "prophesized" an earthquake of massive destruction. This never came to fruition or at least, hasn't yet.
Even though it has been a long time since we have felt a significant Earthquake, we do live on the New Madrid Fault Line. This fault line created 3 of the largest earthquakes in the US in December of 1811 through February of 1812. To give an idea, these earthquakes caused church bells to ring in South Carolina, created Reelfoot Lake, and caused part of the Mississippi River to flow backwards for a short period of time. Geologists estimate that there is a 7-10% chance of another catastrophic earthquake on the New Madrid Fault Line will occur in the next 50 years. They predict a much higher chance of an earthquake of less magnitude.
Argument against Earthquake Insurance in Collierville, TN
It's hard to argue against having Earthquake Insurance but here are a few reasons people have chosen not to buy Earthquake Insurance:
I've seen premiums from $500 to several thousand dollars annually which can be a significant portion of what the overall cost of insurance is for your home. Often times, people might mitigate the cost with a high deductible. It's not uncommon to see a 20-25% deductible on earthquake insurance.
2) Not Advised Correctly (or at all)
Unfortunately, a big problem in our industry is agents not bringing up coverage or advising against a coverage because they are either not competitive (and will lose sale) or they insurance carrier doesn't have an appetite for the coverage. There are a lot of insurance carriers unwilling to write Earthquake Insurance in West TN.
3) Taking On The Risk Themselves
Some people are willing to take on the risk. I've had an attorney tell me that he didn't want Earthquake Insurance because he didn't have enough equity in his house so it wasn't worth protecting. His thought was that is he doesn't have enough equity then essentially, he is just protecting the mortgage company. He was willing to suffer the consequences if an earthquake hit which could include foreclosure or bankruptcy.
What to look for in an Earthquake Insurance Policy
The biggest thing we look at and try to make people understand is the deductible for Earthquake Insurance. This is the most overlooked part of the policy for some reason. As mentioned above, deductibles for Earthquake Insurance can often times be high to help lower the premium. However, not everyone understands how a 20 or 25% deductible works on Earthquake Insurance. Let's say you have a $500,000 house. If you had a 20% deductible and an earthquake happened, you would be responsible for the first $100,000. There are ways to get the deductible down, but some insurance companies will only offer a high deductible. This is another reason why it's good to shop with an agency that has multiple options.
As always, if you ever need a second opinion on your coverage, we would be more than happy to help and make sure you have the coverage you want.