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by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance

Preparing for earthquakes in Indiana – How to protect what's important to you

Preparing for earthquakes in Indiana – How to protect what is important to you

The Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill is held on the third Thursday in October every year. The event is recognized internationally, but in Indiana, we join a regional earthquake drill throughout much of the Central U.S. Most Hoosiers don’t spend much time worrying about earthquakes, but Indiana is near two major seismic zones, and geologists agree that a large magnitude earthquake is in our future. 


What is an earthquake? 


The U.S. Geological Survey states that an earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another. It is caused by the sudden release of energy that results when rocks in the Earth’s crust make contact. That area of contact is called a fault. Indiana is located near two major fault lines, the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone and the New Madrid Fault, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security


Is Indiana at risk for an earthquake? 


As stated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the New Madrid Seismic Zone has the highest earthquake risk in the U.S., east of the Rockies. The U.S. Geological Survey says that historically, a damaging earthquake (magnitude of 6.0) in the New Madrid Seismic Zone occurs every 80 years. 


The Indiana Department of Homeland Security notes on its website that, “seismologists and geologists from U.S. Geological Survey, various universities in Indiana, and geologists of the Indiana Geological Survey are in collective agreement that the Lower Wabash Valley of Indiana is capable of producing large and damaging earthquakes at virtually any time.” 

Data suggests that there is a 25-40% chance of an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 6.0 striking in the New Madrid area in the next 50 years. An earthquake of that magnitude could cause structural damage to buildings, injuries and casualties in all 92 Indiana counties. 


How to protect yourself should an earthquake hit Indiana 

Knowing more large-magnitude earthquakes are likely on the horizon, the Great ShakeOut was designed to provide an opportunity to practice how to be safe during earthquakes. They feature safety tips and teach you how to secure your space and even how to protect your pets., published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, also has many tips on how to stay safe during and after an earthquake, as well as tips on how to prepare beforehand. 


Protect yourself during an earthquake

  • The Great ShakeOut promotes the “drop, cover and hold on method 

  • If you are in a car, pull over and stop 

  • Hold onto a solid piece of furniture like a desk or a table 

  • If you are outdoors, stay outdoors and away from buildings 

  • If you are inside, stay inside and avoid doorways 

  • If possible, turn face down and cover your head and neck with a pillow 


Protect yourself after an earthquake 

  • Be prepared for aftershocks 

  • If you are in a damaged building, move outside and away from the structure 

  • Use text messages to communicate, they will be more reliable than phone calls 

  • If you are trapped, cover your mouth with your shirt for protection and bang on a pipe or a wall 


How to protect yourself before an earthquake 

  • Have an emergency plan that you and your family are familiar with 

  • Practice drop, cover and hold on 

  • Repair any structural issues in your building 

  • Protect your home by securing heavy items or placing them on low shelves 

  • Consider obtaining earthquake insurance 


What is earthquake insurance? 


Do you know what your homeowners insurance does and does not cover? Earthquakes are usually an excluded peril under a standard homeowners policy, so if your home was to suffer major damage from an earthquake, you would not have any insurance coverage.  


“We want to keep our customers protected in every way we can by continuing to offer an earthquake endorsement,” said Brian Richmond Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance director of P&C Underwriting. “Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance recognizes that earthquake coverage can be an important component in protecting one of your largest assets in the event of an earthquake.” 

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance
offers an earthquake endorsement which adds additional coverage to your homeowners policy to cover your home’s structure and personal property due to earth movement from earthquakes and tremors. It often has a separate deductible that is a percentage of either the dwelling coverage (Coverage A) or the contents coverage (Coverage C) of your homeowners policy, whichever is greater. 

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance also offers an earthquake endorsement for renters, condominium, commercial and business owners policies. 


How much does earthquake insurance cost? 

At Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, earthquake endorsement premium is determined by a few variables. These are a few examples: 

  • Policy type– For homeowners policies, this is the dwelling coverage (Coverage A). Some policy types (renters, condo, etc.) base this on the contents coverage (Coverage C). The greater the amount insured, the higher the premium.   

  • County - Rates may vary based on the county in which the dwelling or structure is located. Counties closer to an earthquake fault line have higher rates than counties further away from a fault line. Learn more about which counties have the highest rates.  

  • Construction type– The age and material your home is made of helps determine your premium. For example, masonry is more susceptible to earthquake damage than frame construction. 

  • Deductible –Remember that the deductible percentage is based on either your dwelling limit (Coverage A) or your contents limit (Coverage C), whichever is greater. The standard deductible on an earthquake endorsement is 10%, but we also offer a 15% deductible. Selecting the higher deductible may lower your premium. 

Read more about the other variables that may affect your earthquake endorsement premium.  

Although no one can predict with certainty when or if “the big one” will hit the Hoosier state, it is wise to prepare for it. Based on the historical evidence and the presence of two very active seismic zones, the
U.S. Geological Survey says the possibility is certainly real. To find out more about the coverage offered, or to add an earthquake endorsement, contact your local Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance agent.