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 ordinary homeowners insurance policies do not cover earthquake loss.
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.
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. Another method is the use of HAZUS, a computerized procedure for loss estimation.
As with flood insurance or insurance on damage from a hurricane or other large-scale disasters, insurance companies must be careful when assigning this type of insurance, because an earthquake strong enough to destroy one home will probably destroy dozens of homes in the same area. If one company has written insurance policies on a large number of homes in a particular city, then a devastating earthquake will quickly drain all the company's resources. Insurance companies devote much study and effort toward risk management to avoid such cases.
Labels: Earthquake insurance