September 25, 2017

North Carolina Earthquake Damage Insurance Claims

American Property Loss NC Public Adjusters are available to do a complete review of your North Carolina earthquake damage insurance claim. From initial on-site earthquake property damage estimates to reviewing your insurance company adjuster estimates for completeness, American Property Loss Illinois Public Adjusters are experienced and ready to get your life back in order after home Illinois earthquake damage.

Building damaged by earthquake

Building damaged by earthquake

An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the Earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the Earth’s surface. These seismic events can cause damage to property from ground movement, fire, or even sprinkler leakage.

We realize that North Carolina is not a hotbed of earthquake damage, but North Carolina does get occasional earthquake activity in the western side of the state. A slight quake was felt in our Raleigh area offices on Aug 23, 2011 but was too weak to do any damage. The expectation for North Carolina earthquakes is that, at the worst, we may see some cracked walls, fallen chimneys and similar damage.

While not common for North Carolina, people wonder if their North Carolina homeowners insurance covers earthquake damage.  Earthquake insurance is a form of property insurance that pays the policyholder in the event of an earthquake that causes damage to the property. Most earthquake insurance policies feature a high deductible, which makes this type of insurance useful if the entire home is destroyed, but not useful if the home is merely damaged. Rates depend on location and the probability of an earthquake. Rates may be cheaper for homes made of wood, which withstand earthquakes better than homes made of brick.

Most property insurance policies exclude coverage for losses resulting from earthquakes (although they often cover losses related to fires following earthquakes). Separate policies are typically required to ensure coverage against losses from earthquakes.  A small percentage of policies include it automatically, and an even smaller percentage of policyholders have specifically requested earthquake coverage.

If you just felt your home or business shaking, and you don’t know if you have earthquake coverage, it’s a good idea to call your agent.

The East Coast gets earthquakes, but usually smaller ones and is less prepared than California or Alaska for shaking.

In the past, earthquake loss was assessed using a collection of mass inventory data and was based mostly on experts’ opinions. Today it is estimated using a Damage Ratio (DR), a ratio of the earthquake damage dollar amount to the total value of a building.

The benefit of getting the extra earthquake coverage is that if your home were to shift off the foundation, you could go to your earthquake coverage for a claim.  If the damage and cost of repairs exceeds your deductible, could you rely on FEMA to help you repair or replace your home?

After any earthquake, particularly a major damaging earthquake, check for any gas leaks or electrical damage. If you smell or hear gas, turn off the gas at the meter and contact the gas company. If you see sparks, frayed wire, or smell hot insulation turn off the power at the circuit breaker box and contact the electric company.

Earthquakes don’t always occur when it is convenient or when we are with our families and loved ones. Be sure to have an emergency plan for such an event and make sure that everyone understands it. Consider having a contact out of the area who can coordinate information for the entire family.

Think about how you arrange your furniture and heavy objects. Put heavy objects closer to the ground and bolt bookcases to the wall. Bookcases or objects can cause injury when they fall and they may block exit pathways after an earthquake.

Make sure the water heater in your home or apartment is secured to the wall near it. One method is to use a metal strap around the water heater, with the strapping ends screwed to the wall.

When the shaking starts: If you are inside, stay inside and try to get under a table or into a closet or doorway, or other small, confined, rigid space.

Following the earthquake, if you are indoors, move outside when you determine it to be safe. Check for gas leaks and be sensitive to the possibility of fire following the earthquake, a common circumstance.

When the shaking subsides, check yourself and others for injuries. If significant earthquake damage has occurred, make sure that no one is buried under rubble or debris. Listen for cries of help. If telephones (landlines or cell phones) are still operating, use them for emergency medical help, but not for frivolous conversations.

If you have an operating radio, television, or internet connection, listen for information and instructions from emergency responders as to next actions. These may include coming to the aid of other injured persons in your area, or requests for help in delivering specific emergency services.

Should you have a property loss resulting from an North Carolina earthquake, contact us to insure all the necessary steps are covered for the maximum settlement quickly to get you back on your feet again.

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