Are Earthquakes Covered by my Home Insurance?


Do you remember the 5.8 magnitude earthquake on August 23, 2011? It was centered about 38 miles northwest of Richmond in Louisa County. It was felt as far north as Quebec and south as Atlanta, Georgia. Damage was reported as far north as Brooklyn, New York, and Louisa County had an estimated $80.6 million in damages, with $63.8 million from damage to public school buildings and $14.7 million from damage to homes. A standard homeowners’ policy will not cover earthquake damage. Unless you have specific earthquake coverage, you are responsible for all costs to repair, rebuild or replace homes, and personal property.


                              Grocery store in Mineral, VA, 2011


Do You Need Coverage?

Virginia's 2011 earthquake caused pricey home damage: destroyed chimneys, cracked foundations, crumbled walls, and broken water lines that led to minor flooding. While this type of damage is typically not included with standard home insurance policies for most big carriers, earthquake insurance is included with our broadest home coverage with an affordable endorsement. If you live in an area of Virginia that may be more prone to earthquakes, speak with a local agent to see if this coverage is right for you!



                                    Map: Department of Geology and Mineral Resources, DM


Surprisingly, the Commonwealth has averaged one earthquake per month since 1977. Thankfully, the majority are too small to be felt or cause damage. Most seismic activity in Virginia is centered in two zones: one stretching from the Richmond area to Charlottesville and another in the New River Valley in Giles County. According to the USGS, residents in Southwestern Virginia should also be aware that the Eastern Tennessee seismic zone is one of the most active earthquake areas in the Southeast.

Be Ready!

                                     CDC: Be Ready! Earthquakes


If you experience an earthquake in your Virginia home, you and your family's safety is the most important thing. There are things you can do to prepare your home to make it safer during an earthquake. There are also things you can do to protect your family during one. Be sure to check your home after an earthquake for needed repairs, especially concerning potentially dangerous utilities such as gas and electricity.

Find out more about earthquakes in Virginia by visiting Virginia's Geology and Mineral Resource and stay safe!