Number of Missouri homes insured for earthquakes decreased from 2008 to 2017

Despite the fact that earthquakes pose a significant threat to Missourians, the number of homes insured against earthquake damage has dropped between 2008 and 2017, according to a Residential Earthquake Coverage Report released by the Missouri Department of Insurance.

The department noted in a press release that earthquakes in southeast Missouri are not uncommon. Missouri regularly experiences small earthquakes and since 1976 there have been four earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.5 or higher in the New Madrid Seismic zone.

The department said that according to the US geological survey the probability is 25 to 40 percent that an earthquake with a force of 6 or higher will hit the New Madrid zone in the next 50 years.

"Many homeowners may assume that their existing policies cover them in the event of an earthquake, which is simply wrong," said Chlora Lindley-Myers, director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, in the release. "Cover for earthquakes must be purchased separately, usually by a note to the earthquake added to your insurance policy."

In the six-region New Delhi region of the state, homes with earthquake coverage dropped by an astonishing 37 percent, from just half to 17.1 percent since 2008. More than 60 percent of homes in New Madrid had earthquakes in 2000.

In 77 provinces of Missouri, less than 20 percent of homes have earthquake coverage. In only seven provinces at least half of the homes are insured against damage caused by earthquakes.

The report also shows that the costs of earthquake coverage have increased significantly, especially in the high-risk New Madrid area. In the past decade, costs have risen by 132 percent in the provinces of New Madrid. Since 2000 costs have increased by 611 percent.

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