February is National Earthquake Awareness Month
NASHVILLE – February is National Earthquake Awareness Month, and the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) joins the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) to remind consumers that earthquake insurance can lower consumers’ financial burden in the event of a devastating earthquake.
Earthquakes frequently occur in Tennessee because the state’s eastern and western areas sit along seismic zones where earthquake activity happens more frequently – the East Tennessee Seismic Zone and the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ). In 2018, the United States Geological Survey reported 301 earthquakes occurred in Tennessee. While most quakes that occur in Tennessee are small, scientists estimate that there is a 25-40% probability of a M6.0 or greater earthquake occurring in the central U.S. within a 50-year window. While the primary focus remains on the NMSZ, it is not the only area of concern. Earthquakes are also occurring along the East Tennessee Seismic Zones.
“As we recognize Earthquake Awareness Month this February, I am asking the Volunteer State to be aware that an earthquake insurance policy can greatly reduce the costs for home repairs in the event of an earthquake,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda. “Considering the risks, I urge Tennesseans to assess their own risk, be aware of the steps it takes to prepare yourself and your family in the event of an earthquake and learn more about earthquake insurance today.”
“Tennesseans can learn about potential earthquake hazards and the risks they face and take low-cost and fairly easy preparedness measures now – bracing water heaters, securing dressers and bookcases to walls, reinforcing chimneys, and learning where utility shutoff valves are and how to use them – to minimize the dangers and impacts associated with earthquakes and increase their resilience and help speed up their recovery from any disaster,” said TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan. “Having adequate insurance for the risks they face is a critical component of being prepared for the financial impacts of disaster.”
Because of Tennessee’s earthquake risk, TDCI shares the following information about protecting your home, your belongings and your family from a potential earthquake:
UNDERSTAND YOUR NEEDS:
- Homeowners insurance covers damages from strong winds, falling objects, and lightning. Most policies do not cover damages from earthquakes or floods without an additional coverage rider or policy.
- Earthquake insurance is available to purchase in Tennessee from licensed insurance producers.
EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE DOES COVER:
- Repairs needed because of an earthquake’s damage to your house.
- The cost to remove debris.
- Extra living expenses while your home is being rebuilt or repaired.
- Structures not attached to your home, such as a garage, as well as your personal property, depending on your policy.
EARTHQUAKE INSURANCE DOES NOT COVER:
- Anything already covered by homeowner’s insurance.
- Damage to your land, such as sinkholes from erosion or hidden openings under your land.
- Damage to your vehicles, but your car insurance policy might cover those damages.
- Water damage from external sources such as sewer or rain backup or flood.
- The exact materials used in your home – the insurance company will compare the replacement cost to siding materials, not brick or stone.
You can verify licenses at tn.gov/insurance. For questions about insurance in Tennessee, contact the Consumer Insurance Services Division at 615-741-2218 or 1-800-342-4029.