Here are some answers to questions you may have. But be sure to understand that all insurance policies are not alike and you must read your policy and/or speak to your agent to determine your exact coverages.
First of all, is an earthquake a real threat in the Charleston area?
A major Earthquake struck Charleston in 1886 and that fault line runs generally from Ravenel area to Summerville. The Charleston area experiences many minor tremors each year, most so minor we do not feel them. There are several good internet sites that discuss the threat. Just type in “Charleston SC earthquake”.
Does my home insurance policy automatically include earthquake insurance?
Generally speaking, the answer is no. The typical homeowners policy does not include earthquake insurance. Damage done by an earthquake is specifically excluded.
Some condominium unit owners (HO-6) policies do include earthquake insurance but you must refer to your particular policy to see if an earthquake endorsement form has been attached to the policy.
Does my auto insurance policy automatically include earthquake insurance?
Yes, automobile insurance policies provide earthquake coverage as long as comprehensive (other than collision) insurance applies to the particular vehicle.
Does a commercial insurance policy for my business automatically include earthquake insurance?
In almost all cases, the answer is no. Damage caused by an earthquake is specifically excluded. The exception is if you have a Difference in Conditions (DIC) policy. Most DIC policies do include earthquake insurance.
How can I obtain earthquake insurance?
Many insurance companies allow earthquake insurance to be added to the homeowners or commercial policy by endorsement, with an additional charge for the insurance. You should contact your agent to see if they offer earthquake insurance.
There are several insurance companies that issue a standalone earthquake policy. In other words, they do not require you to have any other insurance policies with them. These companies are usually ones like Lloyds of London.
Are there any other oddities about earthquake insurance about which I should be aware?
Yes, a few companies will provide earthquake insurance for a brick veneer structure but their endorsement states that the bricks are not covered! In the aftermath of an earthquake, you may find yourself with a pile of bricks around your home and no insurance coverage! Be sure to read your policy!! Some companies will allow you to buy back the coverage for the bricks.
Also, you need to be sure you understand how the earthquake deductible applies. Different companies handle this issue in different ways.