Another Earthquake Leaves Many Wondering About Home Insurance

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  • Over the weekend, California’s Napa Valley was hit with a 6.1 magnitude earthquake that injured nearly 200 people and did significant damage to buildings. Experts believe that the quake’s impact might have been as costly as $1 billion when all is said and done. But despite that fact, many in the state do not have any kind of home insurance coverage that will actually help to financially insulate them from damage caused by such an incident. And, as such, it might be incumbent upon insurance agents to let consumers know about the risks they face if they do not have coverage that specifically protects them from problems to which their areas might be particularly vulnerable.

    That Napa earthquake led to more sentiment from experts that Californians often don’t have enough home insurance to cover damage from an earthquake, according to a report from CNNMoney. In fact, the most recent data from the state shows that only about 10 percent of residents have such coverage, despite their high risk for being affected. In Napa alone, that number is just 6 percent. Perhaps not surprisingly, it tends to be homeowners with larger incomes who also tack on this added protection for their properties, but some worry that California’s lack of a coverage mandate could end up hurting many residents.

    A national problem
    However, it should be noted that it’s not just California that doesn’t have enough earthquake insurance overall, the report said. A larger number of seismic events are taking places in other parts of the country as well, but despite this fact, only 7 percent of homeowners nationwide carry the coverage, down from 10 percent a year ago. Likewise, in just the Western U.S., that number is 10 percent, a decline of more than half from the 22 percent seen in 2013. 

    Agents who can educate consumers about the potential risks they face, and what their policies do and do not cover, might find themselves in a much better position to retain those clients going forward. Polls show that Americans actually like to have a strong relationship with their insurers or agents, and receive quality customer service, rather than simply be able to reduce their costs every once in a while. As a result, agents should really strive to do both these things with regularity if they want to have the best possible retention rates, and attract more customers in the future.